Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The making of Limoncello..and the recipe!

My son and his girlfriend were visiting from Seattle and she offered to help me with the first part of making the Limoncello. We started by zesting 16 of the organic lemons that we brought home to Oregon from California. (They really need to be organic so that you are not extracting flavor and color from something that has been sprayed or chemically fertilized.) I only had one zester so she suggested we also use a potato peeler.  We think it worked well but we are wondering if possibly you get more flavor and color from the tiny thread like pieces of zest?

Lemon zest soaking in Everclear
Then we added the Everclear to the zest and let it sit for 4 days.

In Oregon you can only buy liquor in a state controlled liquor store.
They keep the Everclear in the back room.

Next the sugary syrup was blended in.  A week later it was ready to drink!

The finished product in the new Limoncello decanter with the
lovely tiny glasses...a gift from my in-laws in Santa Barbara.

This is a very special little drink to share on special occasions. Last week we enjoyed our first serving of Limoncello when my husband's college roommate came to Portland with his son to tour Lewis and Clark college. This coming weekend we will be enjoying more when my son, his girlfriend and her mom (from NYC) will be visiting.

Enough chit chat...Here is the recipe!  
If you are a Limoncello aficionado please share your tips!

Liquore di Limoni

10-16 washed lemons...preferably hand picked organic
One liter of EVERCLEAR GRAIN ALCOHOL (151 proof)(mine was 190 proof)
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 cups of water

Zest the lemons being very careful to avoid the white piths. Put the zest into a large glass jar with a tight fitting lid and add the alcohol (one liter)...there should be enough to cover the zest. Set aside for 4 days. Once a day mildly shake the container to agitate the mixture. When the zest turns pale and the alcohol has a deep yellow color, strain thru a sieve and store in another glass container. Discard the zest.

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat (do not boil). Stir until sugar dissolves and syrup is clear, about 5 to 6 minutes. Allow cooling.

Pour syrup into the lemon-infused alcohol (mixture will turn cloudy) and sample it. Adjust flavor to your palette by either diluting it with water or adding more alcohol...(usually not necessary) then pour the liquor into 2 clean dry 750ml bottles using a funnel. Close with corks and set aside for a week to mellow.

It is best to store in the freezer and serve very cold. It is excellent to serve on sorbet or ice cream. Sometimes it is goo to add it to a glass of Prosecco for a special treat.


  1. Ooh I'll have to give it a try! I still have some in my freezer that my MIL brought us back from Florence.

    I haven't had everclear since college ;)

  2. Wow, it sounds very tasty...and very potent! I love the bottles you put it in!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog...it's been fun to discover yours!

  3. Wow, my recipe has the peels and Everclear stored in a dark closet for several months, and the container to be swirled around every week. I like your recipe which takes a much shorter time peroid.

  4. Love that you shared the recipe! Sounds awesome and perfect for visitors. Have a great time this weekend!