Homemade Limoncello

Hey folks, I feel like making some Limoncello.

Just got back to the states after a trip thru Europe and Italy and I got a craving for some Limoncello.

I have talked to some people and have a general idea what I need to do and have a working recipe.

I am asking you all for some advice

  1. should I use cheap or good or **very good ** vodka
  2. how long should I “season” the mix?
  3. how do you like to drink it?

and of course any other tips would be greatly appreciated.


Vodka has practically no taste so I’d use the cheap stuff. You’re going to be mixing it anyway and the lemon is going to be the overwhelming ingrediant so that’s what you’ll taste.

I put mine in the freezer and have it as an after dinner cordial. I also mix it with tequilla and and little club soda. Either way, I always drink way too much and get hammered.

Ooh, I’m good at this.

You can make limoncello very quickly if you use 100 proof vodka. The cheap stuff is fine, because you adulterate it with lemon and simple syrup.

Start off with about 20 lemons and a 750 mL container of vodka. Use a microplate grater to zest the lemons. Pour in vodka, and let sit for a week or so, shaking every couple of days. It is ready when the zest looks pale and gray/yellow.

Sometime in that week, make a simple syrup. Boil together 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar. Let cool completely. When the vodka mixture is ready, add the simple syrup to taste. You can add more vodka to bring up the proof again, but keep on tasting it. Remember that if the limoncello is kept int eh freezer that the flavors will be more muted.

Some people suggest adding the zest of a lime to the lemon. I haven’t done that. But I have made orange-cello and Buddha’s-hand-cello. The last was the most wonderful concoction on earth.

I just made some!

I’m going to differ slightly; this is the recipe I was given:

1 fifth of Everclear (195 proof grain alcohol)
18 lemons (preferably organic so you don’t get that gross wax coating)
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 fifth of 100 proof vodka

  • Zest lemons and put into Everclear and seal tightly. Let mixture steep for 2 weeks, shaking the mixture twice a day (enough to agitate it and get the zest to swirl around)

  • After 2 weeks, strain the zest from the vodka. Make a simple syrup of the 4c water and 4c sugar and let cool.

  • Add the vodka to the everclear, then add simple syrup.

  • Enjoy!
    You DO want to use Everclear; you need the higher proof to extract all the oil flavors from the peel. I can’t buy it in Michigan but had someone ship some to me.

I’m glad for all these recipes…I found one in a Martha Stewart magazine last year that I wanted to use, but can’t buy Everclear or the high-proof vodka it called for in Ohio, so I set it aside…now I’m inspired again!

From what my research revealed, you can certainly use Everclear, but don’t have to if it’s hard to get in your area. Eighty proof vodka won’t work to extract the oils, but 100 proof will. It’s fine to use if it’s easier to get.

Try the forums at www.egullet.com, a culinary website populated with many food industry people and high-level amateurs. There is a long thread about limoncello with more variations than you or I would have ever thought of.

Use Meyer lemons if you can get them. They make a big difference.

Giada de Laurentis’ recipe.

Ok, so not so easy to get everclear here in PA.

I put together 1 batch last night with 12 lemons and a bottle of 90pf Nikola ($6.99) and will put up 12 lemons and a bottle of 100pf Stoli ($20.99)

Will put them up for 2 weeks and will let you know how it goes.

Wish I could get the SPIRYTUS REKTYFIKOWANY SPIRIT 192 pf , but Pa wants me to buy a minimum of 12 bottles. Don’t think the wife would be too happy if I come home with that much hard core booze.

Checked at the liquor store tonight…I can get 151-proof vodka at their other location nearer my home. Or, I can write to the State of Ohio and explain what I want to do with the Everclear and they will send me a note so that I can buy it…but he didn’t say from where…hmmm…a permission slip for Everclear…

I “harvested” half of the first batch last night. I added the suger water and some extra 80pf vodka. It tastes pretty good.
I threw it in the freezer last night and this morning it was kind of slushy.

Is this what I want or do I need to have a higher final concentration of alcohol?

That’s funny.