Monica's favorite gear for
making Limoncello
It's easy to pour from these pretty bottles. They have a tight seal. Great for gifting bottles of liqueur.
Also available: more bottle sizes
This set of 12 screw-top short bottles is the perfect size for serving and gifting limoncello.
Also available: tall 8 oz bottles
This tool is essential for peeling thin strips of the top yellow layer off of the lemons.
These wide mouth jars are the perfect size to hold the lemon peels and alcohol during the infusion process. They're great for pantry storage, too.
Line this with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and use it for straining the lemon peels out of the liquid.
Also available: coffee filters, cheese cloth
These come in handy any time you need to fill a bottle without spills. A funnel is essential for filling small-necked bottles with limoncello.
This is my go-to mixing bowl. It's also handy for straining the limoncello. The strainer nests inside it perfectly.
I reach for this little knife every time I cook. It fits easily in my hand for peeling, cutting, and chopping. I used it to scrape the pith off of the lemon peels.
These small glasses are the perfect size for serving Limoncello as an after-dinner cordial.
Also available: more cordial glasses
These full size sheets work with both laser and ink-jet printers. Print a sheet of labels, cut them apart, and adhere them to jars or bottles.
Use this handy tool to punch a hole at the top of the tags and hang them around the bottle neck with a ribbon, string, or rubberband.

Limoncello | Lemon Liqueur and Cocktail Mixer

an easy recipe from Italy's Amalfi Coast


Limoncello Liqueur

By Monica              makes 8 cups
An easy-to-make Italian liqueur that is particularly popular in the Amalfi Coast region. Enjoy as an after dinner cordial or cocktail mixer. Also used to flavor sangria, cakes, fruit salad, and hot or cold tea. Great for gifts-- printable tags provided. #liqueur #cordial #Italian #cocktail #printabletags #gifts

An easy-to-make Italian liqueur that is particularly popular in the Amalfi Coast region known for it's abundant lemon orchards. Enjoy as an after dinner cordial or cocktail mixer. Also used to flavor sangria, cakes, fruit salad, and hot or cold tea. Great for gifts; printable tags provided in blog post.

Ingredients
  • 10 medium lemons, washed and dried
  • 1 (750ml) bottle 95% (190 proof) grain alcohol, like Everclear; may also use 100-proof vodka
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 cups water

Directions
MAKE INFUSED MIXTURE: Use a vegetable peeler to peel long strips of lemon peel from top to bottom; only peel off the top yellow layer. If some of the white pith comes off when peeling, scrape it off with the tip of a paring knife so all that remains is the yellow part of the peel. (It's okay if there are a few bits of pith.)

Place peels in a 1-quart (or larger) jar or container. Pour in entire bottle of alcohol. Screw on lid and set jar in a coolish room termperature dark place (like inside a cabinet) to infuse for 1 to 3 weeks.

MAKE SUGAR SYRUP. When infusion is ready to strain, make a batch of simple syrup. Add sugar and water to saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook until sugar is completely dissolved and liquid is clear. Remove from heat and cool completely.

STRAIN OUT SOLIDS: Line a wire mesh stainer with cheesecloth or a basket-type coffee filter; place over bowl. Pour lemon mixture into strainer to remove the solids.

MIX & BOTTLE IT: Add cooled sugar syrup to strained lemon liquid, stir. You've got limoncello! Use a funnel to fill bottles with limocello. Screw on lids and rest in cool dark place for 1 week--longer, if possible. It will become smoother the longer it ages.

SERVE IT: Limencello is best served very cold; it can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. (The high alcohol content will prevent it from freezing solid.)  Serve it in small cordial glasses straight from the bottle.

STORE bottles of limoncello in cool, dark place for 3 to 6 months, maybe longer. If you have the space to refrigerate or freeze the bottles, it will extend their shelf life for a year or longer.

LIMONCELLO SPRITZER COCKTAIL: Limoncello also makes a great cocktail mixer. For an easy and refreshing Limoncello Spritzer, combine equal parts limoncello and club soda or selzer water, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and garnish with a lemon slice and sprig of mint. Serve it straight or over ice. You can make it in individual glasses or a big batch in a pitcher.

LEFTOVER PEELED LEMONS can be juiced for lemonade. The juice can also be frozen for future use.


Print this Recipe Share this Recipe

Limoncello is a delicious, versatile lemon liqueur that can be drunk in a small glass as an after dinner cordial or used as a cocktail mixer. I also use it to elevate the flavor of cakes, sangria, and hot tea. This easy recipe is great to keep on hand for yourself and gift giving. Printable gift tags are provided later down in the post.

First, here's a summary of how my personal love of limoncello grew during my travels in Italy.

Authentically Italian. On my dream-come-true trip to the Amalfi Coast of Italy, limoncello was served at the end of virtually every meal. That's not an exaggeration! That particular region of Italy is often referred to as "The Land of Lemons" where lemon cakes, marmalades, and beverages are standard fare. Lemon trees are so abundant in this area that it's easy for restaurants, hotels, and everyday homes to pick fresh lemons for making their own limoncello. I sampled it at numerous places during my trip and learned to make this easy liqueur in a detailed demonstration by a popular local chef. I'm sharing that method I learned with you in this post.

Read more about my Italy trip with my sister, Nelda, and our unforgettable weeklong tour in my post: Culinary Trip to the Amalfi Coast of Italy

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Here are a few of the places where I enjoyed homemade Italian limoncello during my travels; all were part of my wonderful-beyond-words Amalfi Coast tour with Delectable Destinations. (Read more about this premier tour company at the end of this post.)

  • Villa San Cosma Country House was the picturesque villa situated on the scenic, terraced slopes of the Amalfi Coast where I stayed during my trip. From the first evening there, Roberta (pictured below), offered us a glass of their continuous supply of homemade limoncello made from lemons picked on their property as she explained how it was made. Delizioso!

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  • Mama Agata's Cooking School is just steps away from the villa. I spent an amazing day there learning Italian cooking and eating samples of a variety of delicious dishes. Mama Agata is particularly famous for her lemon cake that has been enjoyed by numerous celebrities through the years including Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Jacqueline Kennedy, among many others.)  At the end of our day of cooking with Mama Agata and her family, we sampled her yummy lemon cake while sipping on limoncello made from their own lemon trees. Favoloso!

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  • The Le Vigne di Raito organic vineyard is on the beautiful terraced hillside of the Amalfi Coast; the wines we sampled were divine. After touring the picturesque vineyard with our terrific guide Alfonso, owner Patrizia and her daughters served us a fabulous meal where lemons were featured as table centerpieces, in the cake we had for dessert, and the grand finale of limoncello that was served along with other homemade fruit liqueurs. Patrizia took the time to explain how she made the limoncello and other liqueurs (of course, made from their own lemons and garden) with the same familiar method used throughout the region.

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  • Our tour of an organic lemon orchard had a mind-blowing abundance of lemons. I've honestly never seen so many lemons on single branches of trees. The lemons themselves are much larger than the lemons we typically buy at the grocery stores in America. We met the father and son who run the business and watched another demonstration of how they make and bottle limoncello--with samples to enjoy!

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  • Chef Fiorenzo from Le Bontà del Capo restaurant in Conca dei Marini offered a detailed step-by-step demonstration of the process of making limoncello from our table overlooking the Amalfi Coast. He showed us how to peel the outer layer of the lemons, add the alcohol, strain the infusion, add a simple sugar syrup, and chill the final result for the best possible flavor. That's the method I've replicated back home and am sharing with you in this post. It's so easy to make this beautiful, tasty liqueur! Read on to learn how.

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Click here to see it in action
Click to pause

Here are the easy instructions for making your own limoncello at home:

Step-by-step photos for making
Limoncello

Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:

  • 1 bottle 95% (190 proof) grain alcohol, like Everclear; may also use 100-proof vodka
  • 10 medium lemons
  • granulated sugar
  • water

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Step 2. Use a vegetable peeler to peel long strips of lemon peel from top to bottom; only peel off the top yellow layer. If some of the white pith comes off when peeling, scrape it off with the tip of a paring knife so all that remains is the yellow part of the peel. (The pith is very bitter, so you want to remove as much of it as possible. It's okay if there are a few bits of pith.) Place peels in a 1-quart (or larger) jar or container.

view on Amazon:  Y-peeler, paring knifequart mason jarsplastic lids for jars

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Here's Chef Fiorenzo peeling lemons:

Click here to see it in action
Click to pause

Step 3. Pour in the entire bottle of alcohol. Screw on the lid, label it with the date, and set the jar in a coolish room temperature dark place (like inside a cabinet) to infuse for 1 to 3 weeks. (1 week is enough, but it's okay if it infuses longer.)collage_jar_tm.jpg

Here's Chef Fiorenzo adding lemon peels to a bowl of alcohol:

Click here to see it in action
Click to pause

As the alcohol is infused with the lemon, the liquid will turn from clear to yellow.

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Step 5. When the infusion period is over, combine water and sugar in a saucepan on the stovetop. Bring to a simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved and liquid is clear, approx. 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

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Step 6. Line a wire mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a basket-type coffee filter; place over bowl. Pour lemon mixture into strainer to remove the solids.

view on Amazon:  wire mesh strainerPyrex 8-cup bowl, coffee filterscheese cloth

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Step 7. Add cooled sugar syrup to strained lemon liquid, stir. You've got limoncello! When the 2 mixtures are combined, it may appear cloudy--no worries, that's normal.

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Here's Chef Fiorenzo pouring his finished limoncello:

Click here to see it in action
Click to pause

Step 8. Use a funnel to fill bottles with limoncello. Screw on lids and rest in cool dark place for 1 week--longer, if possible. It will become smoother the longer it ages. (NOTE: It can be chilled and drunk right away without the 1-week wait time; still good, but better if it rests first.)

view on Amazon:  8-oz swing-top glass bottlesother bottle sizes, funnels

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To serve: Limoncello is best served very cold; it can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. (The high alcohol content will prevent it from freezing solid.) I keep a bottle in the freezer. Serve limoncello in small cordial or liqueur glasses. It's a nice sweet treat following a meal.

view on Amazon:  Limoncello glasses;  more cordial glasses

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On the Amalfi Coast, it was most often served in these colorful, whimsical little glasses. I loved them so much, that I bought some to enjoy at home. (See information at the end of this post about ordering these fun, authentic Italian dishes.)

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Beautifully natural color and flavor! In addition to tasting amazing, I love that this limoncello has such a gorgeous color that comes 100% from the natural color of the lemons.

Limoncello Spritzer cocktail. Limoncello also makes a great cocktail mixer. For an easy and refreshing Limoncello Spritzer, combine equal parts limoncello and club soda or seltzer water, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and garnish with a lemon slice and sprig of mint. Serve it straight or over ice. You can make it in individual glasses or a big batch in a pitcher. Yum!

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Recipes using Limoncello from Ina Garten. She's my hands-down favorite celebrity chef--her recipes are always winners. (I have all of her cookbooks!) It's not surprising that Ina is a fan of limoncello. Here are links to a few of her tasty recipes that I've tried and love:

For a finishing touch, I like to label my bottles. That way they're easy to identify, look attractive, and are ready for gift giving, too. Limoncello makes a unique homemade gift that is fun to share. Going to a party? Grab one of these to take as an awesome host/hostess gift. Small bottles fit nicely in holiday stockings and make perfect wedding, shower, and party favors. 

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Download printable jar labels/tags. 

  • Print these on card stock, cut them out and hang them from the bottle neck with a ribbon, string, or rubber band. OR
  • Print them on sticker paper and stick them to the bottle. Or, print them on regular paper and stick them on with tape.

If you don't have a printer or specialty papers, you can have a store with printing services download and print them for you (Kinkos, Office Depot, Staples, etc.)

Cut the tags out with scissors and punch a hole at the top for hanging with a ribbon.

view on Amazon:  hole punch

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Click below on the image of your choice to download & print a full sheet of labels/tags. Choose from "TO and FROM" tags that you can personalize or a more multi-purpose generic tag.

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Here are tags I printed on sticker paper, cut, and adhered to the bottles. I keep these labeled bottles on hand for gift giving. (These bottles are more economical than the flip-top bottles.)

view on Amazon: short 8 oz glass bottlestall 8 oz glass bottlessticker paper

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STORE bottles of limoncello in a cool, dark place for 3-6 months, maybe longer. If you have the space to refrigerate or freeze the bottles, it will extend their shelf life for a year or longer.

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Here is Chef Fiorenzo's chilled limoncello--straight from the freezer. Remember to serve it cold!

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Salute!  

13217358_970087549771361_2750712360314583396_oresiWith Chef Fiorenzo on the Amalfi Coast; photo by Carol Ketelson of Delectable Destinations.

 

Make it a Yummy day!

Monica

Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Limoncello Liqueur
By Monica              Servings: makes 8 cups
Ingredients
  • 10 medium lemons, washed and dried
  • 1 (750ml) bottle 95% (190 proof) grain alcohol, like Everclear; may also use 100-proof vodka
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 cups water
Directions
MAKE INFUSED MIXTURE: Use a vegetable peeler to peel long strips of lemon peel from top to bottom; only peel off the top yellow layer. If some of the white pith comes off when peeling, scrape it off with the tip of a paring knife so all that remains is the yellow part of the peel. (It's okay if there are a few bits of pith.)

Place peels in a 1-quart (or larger) jar or container. Pour in entire bottle of alcohol. Screw on lid and set jar in a coolish room termperature dark place (like inside a cabinet) to infuse for 1 to 3 weeks.

MAKE SUGAR SYRUP. When infusion is ready to strain, make a batch of simple syrup. Add sugar and water to saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook until sugar is completely dissolved and liquid is clear. Remove from heat and cool completely.

STRAIN OUT SOLIDS: Line a wire mesh stainer with cheesecloth or a basket-type coffee filter; place over bowl. Pour lemon mixture into strainer to remove the solids.

MIX & BOTTLE IT: Add cooled sugar syrup to strained lemon liquid, stir. You've got limoncello! Use a funnel to fill bottles with limocello. Screw on lids and rest in cool dark place for 1 week--longer, if possible. It will become smoother the longer it ages.

SERVE IT: Limencello is best served very cold; it can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. (The high alcohol content will prevent it from freezing solid.)  Serve it in small cordial glasses straight from the bottle.

STORE bottles of limoncello in cool, dark place for 3 to 6 months, maybe longer. If you have the space to refrigerate or freeze the bottles, it will extend their shelf life for a year or longer.

LIMONCELLO SPRITZER COCKTAIL: Limoncello also makes a great cocktail mixer. For an easy and refreshing Limoncello Spritzer, combine equal parts limoncello and club soda or selzer water, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and garnish with a lemon slice and sprig of mint. Serve it straight or over ice. You can make it in individual glasses or a big batch in a pitcher.

LEFTOVER PEELED LEMONS can be juiced for lemonade. The juice can also be frozen for future use.
Print this Recipe   Share this Recipe

icon_h120_text.jpg

If you'd like to learn more about the particulars of my fabulous tour of the Amalfi Coast, please contact Carol at Delectable Destinations. She can answer any questions you have. This small, intimate tour was as good as it gets, and it's in no small part due to Carol's exquisite taste and attention to every detail. You can follow Carol on Facebook and enjoy her beautiful photography on Instagram. Delectable Destinations also has culinary and cultural tours to other places. (I can also personally recommend her India trip--fabulous!)

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Did you notice the fun Italian ceramic dishes I'm using for the serving the limoncello? After falling in love with these whimsical dishes at the Italian villa where I stayed on my trip, I just had to have some to enjoy back home. The friendly family that owns the villa also has a ceramics shop in Ravello called Ceramiche D'Arte Carmela, and they shipped my custom order directly to my St. Louis home. I use them every single day now. So fun! Every plate, cup, and bowl have different animals and colors--a very popular style of the Amalfi Coast area where I stayed. If you're interested in purchasing dishes from them, contact Roberta (my friend there who manages the villa). You can message her via the contact page on their ceramics shop website. She speaks English, so communications are easy.



Posted on Thursday, March 29th, 2018








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