Limoncello is a great after-dinner or celebratory drink to break out for special occasions or just to impress company. It’s fairly easy and fun to make.
You’ll just need 10 lemons, a potato peeler, 740mL of Everclear or Vodka, sugar, water, and some good music to keep you company. This will yield [approximately] 0.40 gallons or 1500mL of Limoncello. This is plenty to last you a long time, and to give as gifts in small bottles. You can leave it in the freezer forever until you want it!
There’s only a few steps, and I will cover them in detail. Here’s a synopsis!
- Peel lemons for lemon zest
- Infuse lemon zest in Everclear.
- Create a simple syrup.
- Mix the lemon zest infused Everclear with your simple syrup.
- Put it in the freezer, and enjoy!
I’m lucky to have fresh lemons from Pop’s lemon tree, but any bucket of lemons will do! For your alcohol, most recipes use Vodka. But following my grandpas recipe: Use a 750mL bottle of Everclear (95% or 190 proof), same qualifications go for Vodka if you choose that route. As for sugar, any granulated sugar will do, but cane sugar will give it a Cajun flavor that no other sugar can provide.
- 10 lemons (for lemon zest)
- 750mL bottle of Everclear or Vodka (95% or 190 proof)
- 3 cups of cane sugar
- 3 1/2 cups of water
Step 1 – Make lemon zest
Using a potato peeler, shave small slivers of the lemon peel just off the surface. Try to avoid scraping any of the white flesh as it will only bring a bitter taste. You can either shave of small, fine pieces of zest, or carve large pieces of skin from the lemon and then remove the white flesh from the bottom of the peeling.
Make lemon zest from all 10 lemons!
Step 2 – Infuse lemon zest into Everclear or Vodka
Infuse your lemon zest in your Everclear for at least 4 days, but up to 3 weeks. It’s best if kept in a sealed container at room temperature. My preference is to allow it to infuse for 10 to 14 days.
Step 3 – Concoct a simple syrup
Mix 3 cups of sugar with 3 1/2 cups of water. For a Cajun zing, use cane sugar!
Bring your water and sugar to a low boil and stir until the sugar grains are fully dissolved. You’ll be left with a delicious simple syrup.
Step 4 – Mix your lemon zest infused Everclear with the simple syrup
Allow time for your simple syrup to cool off to room temperature! You do not want to mix your hot simple syrup with alcohol! Wait for it to cool down!
Once cooled off, begin to add simple syrup to your lemon zest Everclear. For a sweeter limoncello, add more simple syrup. If you add most or all of your simple syrup, you’ll have an approximate 50/50 ratio, which will yield 0.40 gallons or 1500mL of Limoncello.
Tada! You have made limoncello! Keep it stored in sealed containers in your freezer.
Serve your limoncello chilled. A small drinking glass with a sliced lemon or curled lemon peel has a great aesthetic!