Are you a fan of limoncello? The tart, sweet liqueur made from steeping lemon peels in a base spirit, like vodka or Everclear, is a staple in Italy and is becoming more and more popular here in the U.S. So of course, we decided it was time to learn how to make it ourselves! The dirty little secret about limoncello? It’s so easy to make. Yes, there’s a bit of waiting time—approximately a week, but in this case it really is true that good things come to those who wait. So pick up the supplies for your very own batch of limoncello today, and you’ll be sipping it in sangria, or your favorite cocktails soon.
Makes approximately 1 1/2 quarts
10–12 organic lemons
1 750 ml bottle of vodka or high-proof spirit like Everclear
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1. Using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife peel the lemons. Because you are getting the flavor from the peels, opt for organic produce, if you can. And make sure you wash them thoroughly.
2. Remove as much of the white pith from the peels as possible. Too much pith will make your limoncello bitter.
3. Combine the lemon peels and vodka in a clean, dry glass container with a tight-sealing lid. Store the container in a cool dark place for at least a week. (We stashed ours in a drawer in our pantry.)
4. Every 2 days, shake the jar to agitate the peels, and make sure they are releasing flavor into the vodka.
5. After at least 1 week, strain the peels out of the vodka.
6. Make simple syrup with the 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. (See our tutorial here.)
7. Combine the strained lemon vodka and simple syrup, and pour into clean, dry glass bottles.
8. Store in the freezer.
You can choose to use either a peeler or a sharp knife to remove the lemon peels—whichever one you’re more comfortable with. The most tedious part of the process is removing the extra pith.
Look how yellow the vodka turns just from being infused with the lemon peels. We let ours marinate for about a week and half. Don’t forget to shake every two days! Once it’s strained, add the simple syrup.
You can either store your limoncello in a large bottle like the one you made it in, or you can decant it into smaller bottles for gifts.
You might have noticed the etched bottles we used in this project. We’ll be sharing an easy how-to for making your own etched glassware next week. Stay tuned!
Limoncello is great for sipping or mixing into cocktails like one of these sangria recipes.
Have you ever made limoncello? Tell us how yours turned out in the comments. Or share your favorite limoncello cocktail recipe.