Limoncello (lemoncello) is one of my favourite liqueurs. I call this quick and easy homemade limoncello my ‘almost instant’ limoncello as it is ready to drink within a week!
What can I say about limoncello? Well, it’s summer in a glass. Just look at that colour, come on guys that’s bottled sunshine!
Limoncello is the perfect last-minute gotta-make-something-fast type of foodie gift. Perfect for your Christmas hampers (or any others for that matter) or as a hostess gift if you are popping round for supper.
What is limoncello?
Limoncello (or lemoncello as it is sometimes called) is an Italian digestif/liqueur. As a digestif, it can be sipped either before or after a meal to aid digestion. Any excuse really to drink this luscious lemon fuelled delight.
Where did limoncello originate
This sunshine liqueur hails from southern Italy and has been made for centuries. However, it wasn’t until about a hundred years ago that the actual name Limoncello was used and became a trademark for this liqueur.
That all came about from the island of Capri though many in the Amalfi and Sorento regions of Italy would dispute that.
Ingredients for limoncello
Lemon peel from unwaxed lemons
These are lemons that you buy in-store that are clearly marked as ‘unwaxed’ it means that the lemons haven’t been coated in preservative wax.
Now if you don’t have any preserved lemons to hand or your own lemon tree to raid there is an easy alternative.
Simply scrub the normal lemons in hot soapy water to remove that wax coating. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
Voila! You now have your own unwaxed lemons and that’s what we want for our limoncello recipe.
How to make homemade limoncello
This is so simple and I just love this sort of kitchen crafting.
All you have to do is pare the peel off the lemons using a sharp knife/peeler. You want as little of the white pith as possible. Because the pith is bitter and we don’t want any of that bitterness in our sweet and gorgeous limoncello liqueur.
Pop the peels into a large clean jar and squeeze in all the lemon juice.
Finally, add the vodka and screw on the lid and give the jar a good shake and put the jar in a nice cool dark cupboard.
That’s it for the hands-on stuff for 5 days or a week if you can be bothered waiting that long.
By that time the liquid in the jar will be gorgeously golden sunshine yellow and the lemon peels will have faded to almost white.
Simply strain this through a double layer of kitchen paper/or muslin if you have it.
Now make a simple syrup of 50/50 water and sugar, allow to cool and add to the lemon flavoured vodka.
Pour into a sterilised bottle, seal and shake well.
Voila! you now have your very own homemade limoncello liqueur!
Why use double layer for straining?
This is because with a single layer of either muslin or kitchen roll paper tiny fragments of lemon will get through.
Although this doesn’t affect the taste of your limoncello at all it makes it cloudy. We want the clearest most sunshine limoncello we can get.
So just make sure that you use two layers to strain. It will take a while longer to slowly drip through but it’s worth the extra minutes of waiting for limoncello perfection!
How to serve Limoncello
Serve your homemade limoncello ice cold either before or after a meal (or any time you fancy really) in tiny shot glasses.
Keep limoncello in the freezer
I like to store both liqueur and shot glasses in the freezer for an optimum chill factor. Of course, your limoncello doesn’t need to be stored in the freezer or even the fridge.
It just tastes so damn good straight from the freezer that I always keep a bottle in there ready for action!
Or serve over ice, or if you like a tall drink add soda, ice and a slice of lemon.
If you are a cocktail fan then why not try a Limoncello Martini and really feel like summer has come to pay a visit in these cold and wintery months when blue skies and sunshine seem like a million miles away.
I use limoncello in a lot of my baking recipes as it is perfect for adding a real kick of lemon to cakes and desserts.
Here is my Lemon ice-cream with limoncello recipe you might like to try.
Use limoncello to take boring old vanilla ice cream to new heights of tastiness by just pouring the ice cold liqueur over it.
How long will homemade limoncello last?
Limoncello will keep for up to a year in a cool dark cupboard. Don’t leave it out in sunlight or that gorgeous yellow colour may fade.
Looking for more homemade hooch ideas? Then check out these fun recipes before you go;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Quick and easy homemade limoncello liqueur
- 5 unwaxed lemons (or scrub to remove wax)
- 750 ml vodka
- 200 g sugar
- Scrub lemons well and pat dry to remove preservative wax. Peel off the rind avoiding bitter white pith.
- Mix lemon peel, juice and vodka in large jar and leave for 4-7 days in a cool dark cupboard. The liquid will be bright golden yellow and peels pale
- Mix the sugar with 200ml water and heat gently till sugar dissolved, boil then lower heat and simmer 5 minutes to make a simple syrup.
- Cool syrup then add to the lemon vodka and pour into a sterilised bottle and shake well
- Strain through muslin/cheesecloth or kitchen paper twice to ensure it is completely clear and pour into sterilised bottles.