Limoncello is a refreshing & delicious lemon based liquor from Southern Italy that is most often served, chilled until it’s syrupy, at the end of a meal as a digestive. It is a truly delightful tipple and best of all, dead easy to make at home!
Some lovely friends of mine gave me an apron with a limoncello recipe on it when they returned from a holiday in Italy last year and ever since I have been eager try my hand, so when our lemons ripened this year I decided there was no time like the present and got stuck in, I encourage you to do the same!
500ml pure grain alcohol
1.25L boiling water
You will also need
2L wide mouthed bottle or jar
Microplane or sharp peeler
5 x 375 ml ice wine bottles with corks or caps
When it comes to choosing your base spirit there are a number of options. You can either use a near pure rectified spirit or you can use a good quality vodka. The difference will be in the taste of the final product. On the advice of a friend, I used a rectified spirit and ended up with a final product that was around 26% and it was lovely and smooth. If you can’t find or don’t want to use a rectified spirit, vodka will do the trick. Most vodkas are 40%, so to end up with a limoncello that is around 25% you will need to use 500g sugar and only 500ml of water, this will only make 3 bottles of limoncello.
If you would like to give the rectified spirits a try I used Polmos Spirytus, a Polish brand.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°c. To sterilise your bottle or jar, wash it well in warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly and place in the oven upside down and allow to dry. Remove once dry and allow to cool.
2. Wash your lemons well in cold water and pat try with paper towel. Using your microplane or very sharp peeler, zest the lemons. You want to get as much zest as you can, but you need to be careful not to get much if any of the white pith with your zest, as that will make your limoncello bitter.
3. Add your lemon zest to your bottle or jar and pour in your alcohol. Seal it up tight and leave for 4 days to infuse the alcohol.
4. Once your alcohol is infused by the zest, you’re ready to finish up your limoncello. First, sterilise your bottles. Preheat the oven to 200°c, wash them well in warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly and place in the oven upside down and allow to dry. Remove once dry and allow them to cool.
5. Combine your sugar and with 500ml of boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Once cool, combine the sugar syrup and infused alcohol along with the zest and leave to sit for another 15 minutes, then strain and pour into your sterilised bottles.
Your homemade limoncello is all finished, now just pop in the freezer and enjoy it ice cold.