Interestingly Limoncello is not sour, partly due to the fact that there is no lemon juice in it. The lemony flavour is all thanks to the lemon zest, the outermost part of the lemon peel, where the essential oils are most concentrated.
There are a lot of recipes out there for making homemade limoncello, but basically all you do is take the zest of the lemons and steep them in vodka for a time, then add sugar syrup, let it sit for a day or so, strain it and bottle it. That’s really all there is to it.
Buy organic lemons if you can, since the peel is what you will be using. For my palate, the sugar content in this recipe is about right, add a little more or less to suit your own taste.
What to do with all the lemons after you have zested them for the Limoncello? I made homemade Lemon Cordial ( using my Lime Cordial recipe) and froze the rest in zip-lock bags.
The Limoncello will keep for one to two years. Store it in bottles with a cap or cork in a dark cupboard. When you want to drink it, chill the limoncello in the refrigerator or freezer before serving.
Difficulty: Easy Time: preparation – 40 minutes, steep for 10 days. Makes: 1.5 litres
- 10 organic or homegrown lemons
- 750 ml vodka
- 3.5 cups of granulated sugar
- 3 cups of water
1. Make sure that the lemons are scrubbed really well under cold running water to remove any waxy residue from pesticides.
2. Zest the lemons with a vegetable peeler, making sure to use only the yellow outer skin.
3. Pour the bottle of Vodka into a large glass jar and add the zest. Seal the jar and store in a cool dark cupboard. Allow to steep for at least 10 days, longer if you can. I usually try for at least a month. During this time all the essential oils from the lemons are released.
4. Combine the sugar and water in a large pan and gently boil for about 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool completely before adding it to the limoncello mixture.
5. Seal the jar again. Allow this to stand for another day or so.
6. Strain the Limoncello and discard the zest.
7. The clear liquid can now be bottled. It’s a good idea to use a new Chux cloth as an extra filter.
8. The Limoncello will keep for one to two years. Store it in bottles with a cap or cork in a dark cupboard. When you want to drink it, chill the Limoncello in the refrigerator or freezer before serving. I keep mine in the freezer so that it is ready to serve chilled at any time.