We often get asked by farm guests – How do you make limoncello? The answer is very easily.
The recipe below will create fool proof limoncello every time which is both a refreshing as an after dinner drink or for use in a cocktail or a desert recipe.
There are actually three varieties of Limoncello – a clear yellow liquid, a slightly cloudy liquid as well as, ‘crema di limoncello’ which has the addition of milk (not this recipe). Some people prefer the slightly cloudy version as it has a much stronger lemon taste. If you wish to create the cloudy version use more lemon peel – the cloudiness occurs because the ratio of lemon essence oils to sugar syrup alcohol liquid are not in balance and the excess lemon essential oils are ‘louching’ in the mixture (a type of precipitation).
Makes – 1 1/2 litres
l litre pure grain alcohol or highest proof vodka (available)
300 ml water
400 grams sugar
1. Wash and clean the lemons thoroughly. Then using a potato peeler, thinly cut the rid from the lemons. Make sure to only take the yellow element of the lemon skin – DO NOT include any white pith.
If using commercially produced lemons be careful, many are coated with a waxy substance to make them more vivid and improve their shelf life. Make sure to scrub the lemons so as to remove the waxy coating.
2. Place the lemon skin into a large glass container with a lid and pour over the alcohol. Seal and place in a cool, dark spot for 2 to 3 weeks so as to allow the zest in the peel to infuse into the alcohol.
3. Once lemon has infused, prepare the sugar syrup. Heat the water and sugar, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolved.
4. Once the water/sugar liquid comes to boil, allow it to boil for 5 minutes, so that some of the water can evaporate and create a soft syrup. DO NOT allow the liquid to change colour.
5. Set the syrup aside and allow it to cool completely.
6. Strain alcohol through a very fine sieve or alternatively a sieve lined with some fine muslin cloth. The take lemon skins and squeeze them gently to extract all remaining alcohol and essence.
7. Wash, prepare and sterilise bottles for storing the limoncello. The best process is to wash in hot, soapy water, rinse thoroughly and then fully submerge in a large pot of water which is brought to the boil. Ensure you boil the bottles for a full 5 minutes to achieve sterilisation.
Remember to also boil the lids for the bottles.
8. Remove bottles from boiling water, drain and allow to air dry, making certain not to touch the top rims of the bottles or the inner surface of the lids as they dry.
9. Mix the flavoured alcohol with the cold sugar syrup and then fill bottles (any equipment used in the bottling process such as a funnel should also be sterilised.
10. Cap bottles and store in a cool dark place until ready to use.
Drinking Limoncello is served icy cold, having been placed in a refrigerator or freezer well before being drunk. It should also be served in iced glasses.
This recipe makes a medium sweet limoncello, if you want it more sweet add more sugar to the syrup recipe – less sweet reduce the sugar. It really is a matter of personal preference and a little bit of trial and error.
You can also make orangecello, mandarincello and even limecello by following the same process. These are non-traditional liquids but they do work and taste good.