Limoncello (Lemon Liqueur)
Keep a bottle in the freezer for friends and dinner guests. Limoncello in small
bottles or Mason jars also makes a good Easter or Passover gift.
- 15 fresh, thick-skinned lemons (large are preferred) plus a few lemon leaves
- 1 (4-quart) Mason jar or similar size jug
- 1/2 gallon 100-proof vodka
- 5 cups bottled spring water
- 3 to 5 cups granulated sugar
- Scrub the lemons and leaves in warm, soapy water. Pat them dry and use a vegetable
peeler or zesting tool to remove the yellow zest from each lemon, being careful
to separate the white pith from the zest. (Pith will make the limoncello taste bitter.)
- Place all the zest in the Mason jar, along with a few lemon leaves.
- Add the vodka and seal the jar. Allow the jar to rest for 20 days in a cool,
dark place, shaking it every 2 days to move the ingredients.
- After 20 days, open the jar.
- In a pan over medium heat, combine the spring water with 3 to 5 cups of sugar.
The amount depends on your personal taste. If you like sweet liqueurs, use 5 cups.
If you like them less sweet, 3 or 4 will be adequate. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Allow the mixture to cool, then pour it into the vodka jar. Allow the jar to rest
for another 20 days in a cool, dark place, shaking it every 2 days to mix the ingredients.
It is normal for the limoncello to take on a somewhat cloudy appearance.
- After 20 days, slowly pour the mixture into a very large bowl, using a cheesecloth
to strain the lemon zest and leaves. Discard the zest and leaves, and transfer the
limoncello back into the jar or into several smaller bottles. Seal all the containers
- While the limoncello does not need to be stored in the refrigerator, it is best
to chill it before drinking. Since the mixture is about 50-proof, placing it in
the freezer will not cause it to solidify.
Source: Rosamaria Restiani - The Arizona Republic, February 12, 2003