Homemade Limoncello

Remember with Danny DeVito was accused of being drunk on The View? It’s because he (supposedly) was drinking limoncello with George Clooney. He has his own limoncello company, and was probably just making sure the current batch was up to par.

And as delicious as limoncello is, I can hardly blame him.

I was inspired after reading a post on making limoncello by a fellow food blogger Heather, of Voodoo & Sauce. I had toyed with the idea when I would look at the copious amounts of Meyer lemons in my fridge twice a year. My little trees are very fertile! Most recipes call for just the zest of the lemon, but to be honest I was just too lazy to zest all those lemons. Heather’s recipe just cut the lemons in quarters and plopped them into the booze. Yep, a recipe I could really appreciate.

I hit my local BevMo store and bought a couple of 750 ml bottles of Everclear, the 150 proof grain alcohol. If you are curious about what it tastes like, do not do as I did and take a sip! It burned, I cried, I coughed, ugh. I washed and quartered about 30 lemons, poured the booze on, and walked away.

Well, maybe I did a little bit more. I covered the jar with a dark towel and moved it to a cool part of the kitchen. Once a week or so I would swoosh the jar around a bit, then recover it. But otherwise, it sat on my counter for 4 weeks becoming liquid gold.

After a month, I strained the liquid off the lemons and reserved it in a large bowl. I placed the lemons into a large stock pot and added the following:

4 cups of water
3 cups of raw cane or turbinado sugar
1 cup of Honey Ridge Farms Lemon Honey Creme (more about this tasty treat coming soon)

Turn the flame on the stove to medium. With a potato masher, press on the lemons and squash the hell out of them! Do this when you are annoyed with someone or something, it works wonders on stress. Mash and stir until the sugar and honey have dissolved. Strain the juices through a fine mesh strainer, or a larger mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth into the bowl with the infused alcohol. Stir both liquids together to blend well, then pour it into bottles, jars or whatever you have to hold the limoncello. I had a rag tag assortment of old jars and bottles, but they worked and I recycled. That’s a win-win situation!

Let the limoncello rest for a couple of days for the flavors to fully meld. I suggest keeping your limoncello in the freezer or fridge. Enjoy it over ice, straight up in a chilled glass, or mixed with sparkling water. In the photo above you will see a repurposed bottle of Trader Joe’s French Market Sparkling Lemonade. This is an excellent mixer for your limoncello. No matter how you enjoy it, enjoy it.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

21 thoughts on “Homemade Limoncello”

  1. My Lemon tree is dripping with Lemons !so have my very first batch on the go , cant wait to sample it 🙂 Thankyou for this recipe.

  2. I’ve made my limoncello both ways and I like the wholesomeness of using the whole fruit. I also have made it using just sugar and the sugar/honey mix. Again, I like the smoothness that the honey gives it. But it’s worth trying to find what suits you.

  3. Thank you for the quick response. Since I could only find 6 Meyer lemons, I halved the recipe and used lemon peel for the remaining lemons. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  4. I really wanted to make this but do not have enough Meyer lemons. Do you think using whole baby lemons or just lemon peel will work? Or should I just wait until Meyer lemon season returns? TIA.

  5. Vodka is fine to use. The last batch I made was using Ketel One, and it was delicious. I went with Everclear because I knew the taste of the lemon would be the most prevalent, so I didn’t worry about it being harsh.

  6. Beautiful post. I too love Limoncello. I wonder, why did you choose to use Everclear? I know it’s high proof, but it’s also rot-gut moonshine quality in my experience. Is there some reason not to use a good middle-of-the-road vodka as your base alcohol? When making medicinal tinctures from fresh, above-ground, plant parts one must use a higher proof alcohol because of the water content of the plant material, but for culinary purposes, I would not have thought there was a need for such high-proof alcohol as a base?

  7. Really need to use my recent ‘crop’ of meyer lemons this week… using the whole lemon as described above, didn’t leave a bitter taste? Sure would like to make the limoncello your way! Hope to hear back from you. Thx

  8. You really went for it on this one! And you made a ton, which is just perfect for our coming summer days. You’ll be sipping limoncello for months.

  9. Beautiful. This takes me back to last summer when I had a chance to spend some time in Italy. A lot of places would serve Limoncello after the meal, compliments to the restaurant. I’d love to make my own!

  10. I’m so glad this worked for you! I thought it turned out quite nicely, and it really is so much easier to use Meyer lemons so you don’t have to zest them. Now I think I’ll go have a glass of my own!

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