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Jan 26, 2009 08:27 AM


I've got an itch to make Limoncello. I've been researching techniques and have found a many!

The recipe is pretty consistent, but the individual techniques range anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 year to extract the flavor and age. Also, some people add the simple syrup before they remove the peels and some leave the peels in, add the simple syrup and continue to age the mix.

So, my question...... has anyone made Limoncello and if so, what is your tried and true technique?


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  1. I've made Limoncello as a holiday gift for the past few years. I don't know where I got the original recipe, but I've modified over the years and here's what I do now.

    Combine 750mL vodka and the peels from 12 lemons in a covered container (I use a beer growler with a rubber-sealed stopper). Let sit for about a week (7-10 days) in a cool, dark place.

    Make a simple syrup by combining 2c sugar and 3c water, bring to a boil, and cool slightly. Add syrup to vodka and peels, and let sit 4-5 days longer. Strain mixture to remove peels, and transfer liquid to jars or bottles.

    In my experience, the limoncello is better as it ages. It's very sweet initially, but by the time summer rolls around, it's very refreshing. I pour the limoncello into glass canning jars and keep it in my pantry until summer, when I transfer it to the freezer until I'm ready to drink it. It has a nice slushy consistency when it comes out.

    My best advice is take your time scraping ALL the white pith off the peels. It's worth the effort to avoid any strange bitterness.

    1. We recently made a great batch. We let it sit for 40 days, while every ten days we gave it a little shake.

      We used 1 liter jars. We used the skin of about 10 meyer lemons per jar, we combined 1/2 vodka and 1/2 everclear.

      The most important part is the filtering. We removed the peel and filtered the mixture 4 times, using a new coffee filter each time. We used non-bleached filters. The filtering removed the harsh bitterness. We then combined it with equall amounts of simple syrup and used the Groger bottles and stuck it in the freezer. At this point you are good to consume.

      I think the most important aspect is the filtration, and to make sure you only use the peel and not the white pith.

      Good luck!

      3 Replies
      1. re: normalheightsfoodie

        thanks for the input. I was wondering why all the techniques were so verbal about filtering. They stressed multiple fitrations but never explained why.

        1. re: janetms383

          As you filter you will watch the color change. The filters will catch all of the dusty peel parts that you would not normally see. Our co-maker, had some that was unfiltered and she said that version was not very good.

          1. re: normalheightsfoodie

            Yeah, I forgot about the filtering part. I only filter once (also through an unbleached coffee filter), but the time I didn't do it, there was a harsh edge that I suspect was from the lack of filtering.

      2. I have made it, but used grain alcohol rather than vodka... supposedly more authentic, but unavailable in Mass... Got mine in RI.

        Aged it 3-4 weeks, strained, bottled, chilled, enjoyed... :)

        10 Replies
        1. re: okra

          I've seen recipes that use only Everclear (which I can buy in California - 151 proof) or a combination of Everclear and vodka. I was thinking of using 2 bottles of the Everclear. Think the result would be better?

          1. re: janetms383

            We used 50-50 combo, but I bet Everclear only would be good too. We got the Everclear at Bev Mo. Two bottles will get you 4 bottles at the end of the process. We will do our next process with Everclear. You will need atleast 20 good lemons. We also used a knife to peel the lemons, for big slices, not a zester.

            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

              I want to use homegrown lemons and my friend has an ever-bearing tree... I also have a Farmers Market to which I can resort if need be. Can you be more specific about lemon selection? If there is any green in the peel, should that lemon be passed over, or can you just cut out the green part?

              I did see one technique where the blogger used a microplaner and zested the lemons that way!?! All others suggest peeling the lemons in strips.

              1. re: janetms383

                We did the lemon strips and cleaned them well. By good lemons, I should have said good sized,it is easier if you use larger ones. I would use your friends lemons.

                good luck.

              2. re: normalheightsfoodie

                I understand that the higher proof of Everclear will give a burn that is missing with vodka. Either way is good, the burn is more traditional.

                1. re: powillie

                  That is my thought also. Now I feel like making some lemoncello. I have a partial bottle of everclear left over from making rompope.

                  1. re: sarah galvin

                    Please inform me, I am not familiar with with rompope. Thanks in advance sarah galvin.

                    1. re: powillie

                      Rompope is a Mexican eggnog-type liqueur. Very yummy.

                      Everclear is a high proof alcohol. What I actually purchased was called Spirytus Rektyfikowany (Rectified Spirit) product of Poland. It is 96% alcohol or 192 proof. The label says it is widely used to prepare traditional fruit or herb infusions. Flammable. (I guess!) Brand name is Polmos.

            2. re: okra

              What is Everclear?

              I've made cherry cordial and quince cordial using Smirnoff triple-distilled vodka, because like another CH'er, I can't get grain alcohol The triple-distilled worked much better than the double-distilled.

              1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                Everclear is grain alcohol. I haven't tried it straight, but supposed to have no flavor whatsoever. In California (where I live) you can only get the 151 proof, but I understand they distill a 190 proof as well.

            3. I know may recipes say to only let it set for 7 days, but I think it is better if the lemons sit for at least 2 weeks. After that, I'm not sure how much added flavor you will get. And I use approx 12-15 lemons per 750 ml of vodka. I always add the simple syrup after you have strained the peel. I use a zester to zest the lemons and I think it is better than thin strips. Good luck. I think I will go have a sip right now! I got the recipe in Tuscany from an Italian grandma - so I think the method is authentic. Good luck.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JennyHunter

                I thank you all for your input, but here is what I'm thinking. While I have seen antoher authentic technique that prefers zesting to cutting the peels in strips, I would think that zesting would erupt the oil glands of the peel and release too much of the essential oils before you have a chance to infuse them with the alcohol..... Yes, No...???

                1. re: janetms383

                  I make limoncello every year. I prefer to buy meyer lemons when in season. I use a sharp paring knife to skin the lemons. It is very important not to get any of the white pith with the skins. This is why i use meyer lemons. The skin is much thicker so you get more lemon oil. I use at least 100 proof vodka and everclear when i have access to it. I let the skins and vodka sit for up to 4 months in a dark cool area. I stir the skins once every other week. It is not traditional, but for the last 2 weeks i put in a split vanilla bean. I add the simple syrup at slightly less than 50/50. Filter through bleach free coffee filters three times and bottle in ceramic flip top bottles such as Grolsch beer bottles. I use 1 case of lemons per gallon of spirits.