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Limoncello/Orange Liqueur

I'm interested in making my own, particularly of the orange variety so I can then mix it in a top shelf margarita. I would hope that the stuff need not be stored in the freezer. Any recipe help is appreciated.

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  1. check out webtender.com for recipes. I made lemoncello with vodka which is traditional but you might want to try a silver tequilla. Basically just zest a lot of oranges (no pith) and let it sit in the alcohol for around two months. The more oranges you use the sooner it will be ready. I am infusing vodka with quinces this year and have had fun with other combos. have fun:)

    8 Replies
    1. re: chowpiggy

      Yeah! I love limoncello and have made that and crema di limoncello at home with great success.

      Chowpiggy posted some wonderful ideas, but is making infused spirits (slight difference, not really worth expounding upon, you'll see in the recipe) instead of "limoncello." This is the recipe that I use - and it came from an 80- year old Sicilian lady:

      10 lemons, zested (I use organic whenever I can get a hold of them)
      1 bottle (750 ml) 100-proof vodka (I have used Everclear before too - seems to be the only good use for it post-college.)
      2 cups sugar
      2.5 cups water

      Step One:
      Place lemon zest in a jar and fille with liquid (you can use whatever jar the liquid will fit into, but I use mason jars - they are easier to handle when shaking). Put the jars in your pantry for six weeks, shaking the jars every day or two. You'll know all the oils have infused into the vodka when the zest is very pale and the liquid is yellow.

      Step 2:
      Once you've finished Step One, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and stir until all the sugar has dissolved - I normally just let it boil for a minute to make sure everything is dissolved. Let the syrup cool down to room temperature, and pour the alcohol mixture into the syrup using a strainer to clear out all the zest. It can be imbibed immediately, but I like to let it sit in the fridge or freezer for a week or two to smooth out (especially if using Everclear).

      I serve the limoncello straight from the freezer....

      1. re: jazzy77

        Hey Jazzy77 I have a recipe for limoncello, but what is this crema di limoncello?
        I always gotta be the one to ask the obvious, but I'm missing something once Again. Here I am thinking about limoncello and I need to get cooking!

        1. re: chef chicklet

          I know what you mean, I'm still waiting for my bread to finish its first rise and I'm supposed to be at dinner around 5:00!

          My in-laws brought us crema di limoncello back from their trip to the Amalfi Coast and it was so wonderful I spent many, many hours looking for a recipe. It's essentially limoncello, but thicker and creamy.

          This is the best recipe I've found:

          - Zest of six lemons
          - Qt. grain alcohol (I use Everclear)
          - 1 Qt. Milk (I use whole organic milk because it tastes better to me)
          - 1 pound sugar
          - 1 pint water

          Do Step 1 above.

          Step 2: Combome water, milk, and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil 4 -5 times (just bring up to a boil, then bring it back down again to where it's not boiling, then bring it back up again, repeat, repeat). When done, let cool to room temperature, and mix in the alcohol mixture (strain the zest out). Put in the fridge until cold and bottle (I always boil my bottles like when I'm canning just in case there are any bacteria that want to spoil all my good work).

          Put back in the fridge and enjoy. You may find it's a little, um, bitey as first, but it will really smooth out the longer you store it. It seems to be at it's best after two weeks. I store mine in the back of the fridge and it's kept for months, but it normally doesn't last that long.

          I also use it as the liquid for the glaze on lemon/coconut cupcakes - yum.

          1. re: jazzy77

            Thank you getting your recipe out on such a busy day yesterday!
            Wow I've never heard of this, and the family that gave me their recipe only talked about straight limoncello, this is great!
            Gosh is would be good to use lemons, limes or orages/ I thank you for posting!!!
            Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

        2. re: jazzy77

          Thanks for the recipe. I did a little poking around, and it appears that only a high proof alcohol will extract the flavor from the rinds. The process seems easy enough, so I intend to give this a try -- first with oranges and then with lemons.

          Does anybody know why the infused booze needs to be refrigerated or frozen? Seems like the lack of solids and the high alcohol content would make this unnecessary. My fridge and freezer space are somewhat limited.

          1. re: Tobias

            the non-crema type doesn't need to be stored in the freezer, but it is traditional to drink limoncello chilled.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              hotoynoodle is correct; I don't *think* you have to store limoncello in the fridge/freezer - it's just a taste thing.

              1. re: jazzy77

                Yes you're right, anyway that is how the Italian family served it to me. It was wonderful, and in the tiniest little appertif glasses. So perfect to end an Italian dinner with.

      2. Finally got around to putting up a few bottles of orange liqueur. I bought 1.5 liters of 100 proof Stolichnaya and zested four beautiful, organic oranges with a microplane. I'll give it the recommended six weeks, as I'm in no huge hurry, but the vodka has already turned orange, and I would guess that the tiny pieces of zest make a long steep unnecessary.

        My plan is to double the volume, adding a dilute sugar and water syrup. I'm shooting for about 50 proof booze.

        Thanks for all the help with this, Hounds.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Tobias

          Sounds like what you should be looking for! You probably don't have to wait that long if you used a microplane, I always use my bar zester for thicker strips, but I would be interested to hear how it turned out!

          1. re: Tobias

            Can you put the actual oranges in the vodka/grain alcohol? I have about 6 or 7 oranges, and I just cant handle eating them anymore. I've added them in salads, eaten them for breakfast, snacks, and I'm orange-d' out. Can add the zest and the oranges in the vodka? Will it work the same?