With all of the insanity going on around us, I thought we might need a good homemade hootch recipe to savor. So, here it is, my Homemade Limoncello recipe and all the tips I use when making my highly sought after Limoncello.
Years ago, before I figured out sitting in a cubicle in an office after a hellacious commute wasn’t for me, I worked for a liquor distributor. It was fun, too! Aside from the terrible boss, we got tons of booze (like tons… I had a closet full of wine and liquor and gave boxes and boxes of it away when I moved out of that apartment). So the perks were pretty good even if the job was pretty crappy.
It was during this time I became really interested in infusing my own booze. Homemade hootch and infused booze became a passion of mine that still carried on to this day.
Limoncello is one of my favorites, it is also one of my specialities. I make a few batches each year and always have people asking me when it will be ready.
Well, living in the Midwest now, I left lots of people all over the country Limoncello-less, so I thought I would be generous 😉 and share my recipe and my secrets to a delicious, prefect digestive.
So let’s start with a few pointers before we dive into the nuts and bolts of making your ‘cello.
First of all I want to say that it is important to always take what you find and make it yours. Document what you did and what the outcome was so that next time you make it you can tweak, change, add, subtract until you have what YOU consider the perfect Limoncello. It will also help you create your own drinks (orangecello anyone?).
Now, it is important to realize that this is a subtle drink, mean to be consumed after dinner in shot glass or espresso sizes portions. Sipped and savored, not shot and pounded.
It is also meant to taste like… shocker, LEMONS! Not sweet like candy or even syrupy like pop.
You can use any lemons you can find, but for the best flavor, nothing beats the slightly orangey essence and subtle flavor of Meyer Lemons. If you can find organic, all the better but if not, scrub them pretty well before you zest them as you are literally using only the part that was sprayed to death with pesticides and that’s just gross.
The liquor you use matters mostly in relation to the amount of time you are going to allow it to sit.
For example, if you want to use it more quickly (say only a few weeks or a month) after making it, use a more mild vodka. But if you are going to let it age (the way you should) nothing beats a high proof grain alcohol. I always use Everclear, but with it, you have to give it enough time to mellow out. I do no less than two months and upwards of four.
A note on the proof, though, anything less than 100 proof will most likely freeze, so make sure it’s the high proof vodka, not matter what you use.
My last tip is, that when zesting, make sure you get as little of the pith (the white part) as possible, it will make your limoncello bitter. I use either a plane grater or a simply handheld zester. Some people shave slices of the peel off, but I think that doesn’t release enough of the oil that you need to make your limoncello really really lemon-y.
An exhaustively tested, delicious homemade limoncello recipe to wow your guests or give as gifts.
Wash the lemons well with a brush to remove any potential wax or residue.
Using a zester or plane grater, zest the lemons making sure you only get the outer yellow portion and none of the white pith.
Reserve the lemons for fresh juice, if desired.
Put the lemons in a large mason jar and add Everclear or vodka.
Place in a dark cool place like a cabinet for about two weeks, undisturbed.
After two weeks, give the jar a swirl and shake to mix up the lemon peels. At this point you should see they are bleaching out and the liquid is beginning to turn a pretty bright yellow color.
Wait until it seems the peels are all bleached, a few more days if not on the 14th day before moving on to the next step.
Once you feel the lemon peels are tapped out, make the simple syrup, by combining the sugar and the water on a stove top and cooking until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool completely before using.
Strain off the lemon peel out of the vodka and discard.
Use a fine mesh strainer if it there is still sediment in the liquid, or a colander with a coffee filter or cheese cloth will work in a pinch.
Add the simple syrup, once cool, to your vodka in mason jar and stir to combine (or just place lid on tightly and give it a shake)
Allow to mellow in the back of your freezer for no less than 2 weeks or up to a month and a half. The longer you allow it to mellow the smoother and more delicious it will be.
If you are giving as gifts, find pretty jars to put it in, but make sure they have tight-fitting secure lids.
Serve Ice Cold.