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Homemade Limoncello

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Yields 3 quarts

  • by Joanne Weir from Fine Cooking
    Issue 19

The ingredients for limoncello are simple and few, and making a batch doesn't require much work, but you do need patience; limoncello must steep for 80 days.

  • 15 thick-skinned lemons
  • 2 750-ml bottles 100-proof vodka
  • 4 cups sugar

Wash the lemons well with a vegetable brush and hot water; pat dry. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemon in long, wide strips. Scrape away any of the bitter white pith from the lemon peel with a paring knife.

Combine the lemon peels and one of the bottles of vodka in a large (at least 4 quarts) glass jar with a lid. Cover the jar and store it at room temperature in a dark cabinet or cupboard for 40 days. As the vodka sits, it will slowly take on the bright yellow color of the lemon zest.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and let the syrup boil for 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool, then add it to the limoncello mixture, along with the remaining bottle of vodka. Cover the jar and return it to the cupboard for another 40 days.

Strain the limoncello into bottles and discard the lemon zest.

This is fantastic. So worth the wait!

Delicious and the real deal! I've used this recipe many times over the years, originally from my tattered magazine from 1997. Limoncello is a well-received gift anytime. Start early in the Fall so it's ready for EOY exchanges. Make it again with spring harvest for summer sipping. The only downside is the waiting...

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