homemade limoncello

March 28th, 2011

It’s funny how sometimes there are products that we’re so used to buying from a store that we don’t even realize they can be made at home.  Think, marshmallowsSoft pretzelsBiscotti. Granola.

And Limoncello.  Real Limoncello is made from a grain alcohol like Everclear, but just the thought of that stuff makes me feel a little nauseous (there’s a reason it’s still illegal in about twenty states), so I’m using vodka for this version.  I also left mine unsweetened, but I’ll explain in the recipe where to add a simple syrup if you want to. 

Because, really, this is just a one-step process.  The lemony flavor of the rinds gets slowly absorbed into the vodka, leaving you with a hint of lemon and no bitterness.  I still wouldn’t drink this straight, but it would be delicious with some seltzer or lemonade for an extra little kick.  But if you want this for your next dinner party, better think ahead — the longer it steeps the better, with two weeks as an absolute minimum. 

Homemade Limoncello Recipe

2 lemons
1 cup vodka
1 1/4 cups sugar (optional)
1 cup water (optional)

Peel the lemons carefully with a knife or very sharp vegetable peeler.  Place the peels inside the cup of vodka and freeze for a minimum of two weeks (preferably 30 days).  Serve alone, or boil together the sugar and water until dissolved and mix them together.  Use immediately, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Tags: cocktails · food

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gabby / Gypsy*Diaries // Mar 28, 2011 at 5:20 am

    My boyfriend (Italian) always tells me how he used to make limoncello when he was young… 🙂 I love it and should definitely try it! 😀


  • 2 Belly B // Mar 28, 2011 at 6:27 am

    That looks delicious! I love your homemade recipes! 🙂

    Belly B

  • 3 Carly // Mar 28, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Now this is a recipe I can TOTALLY get into!
    Love it.
    Nothing like a lemon cocktail when spring arrives!

  • 4 julie @ rosy + tart // Mar 28, 2011 at 7:13 am

    I absolutely love how simple this recipe is to make. A good, simple but slightly ‘fancy’ drink is great for dinner parties around here. 🙂

    PS: Definitely didn’t know limoncello was illegal in some states… I feel like I need to turn in my legal-aged drinker card. 😉

  • 5 lauren // Mar 28, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Yum! Something I would never think about making but now I’ll definitely add it to my list. Thanks!
    xoxo Lauren

  • 6 sarah, simply cooked // Mar 28, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Sounds great and very easy. 🙂 Thanks for the idea.

  • 7 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic // Mar 28, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I adore limoncello! It’ll take some patience to wait 2 weeks for me haha

  • 8 Melanie's Randomness // Mar 28, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Oooo!! I’m never even heard of Limoncello!! I can’t even make an omelet very well lately so this is a lil too upscale for me. But I’ll try stuff like this one day! =)

    Melanie’s Randomness

  • 9 leyla // Mar 28, 2011 at 11:31 am

    looks wonderful….so fun to make, too.  i have some meyer lemons left on the tree……yum.

  • 10 Joanne // Mar 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    The thought of everclear makes my skin crawl.  Sooo…yeah.  You did good by going with the vodka.  Love that this is homemade!

  • 11 Katy // Mar 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Ha — no, it’s Everclear that’s illegal, not Limoncello!  By the time you’ve mixed it with syrup, Limoncello is fair game everywhere, as far as I know!

  • 12 elle marie // Mar 29, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Hey there Katy… I’ve never had this.. I’m a virgin….moonshine… okay, I drank it once…will never attempt it again…. but I love mixed drinks… I’m on a hunt for meyer lemons..

  • 13 Sarah Helfgott // Mar 29, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Not using Everclear is ALWAYS the better choice. Smart girl.

    Sounds yummy! I’ll have to try experimenting with my drinks more in the future… There is only so much Coors Light a girl can drink before she starts to feel like a frat boy 🙂 Ha!

  • 14 T // Mar 31, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I’ve had this orange vodka I can’t find a use for- do you think this would work with oranges?

  • 15 sarah, simply cooked // Apr 16, 2011 at 6:36 am

    I’m back to say thanks again. I posted a link here in my weekend links post today.

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