Limoncello, 2 recipes

I was e-chatting with my new friend Button Willow the other day (she has designed some great stickers, BTW), and we got to talking about Limoncello. This Italian liqueur is my new favorite activity, as it is easy and fun to make, plus makes a great impression. Here, I share with you two recipes for Limoncello, one that began as a recipe from Sunset Magazine. Since it takes 80 days to make, start sometime this summer and you will have gifts in place for the holidays!

Rosemary Limoncello

  • 18 Meyer lemons, washed
  • 1 4-inch piece fresh rosemary
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) 100-proof vodka
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Everclear (or 100 proof vodka, if you cannot find Everclear)
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar

Peel lemons with a sharp vegetable peeler (might I recommend an Oxo peeler?), taking only the top layer of zest and none of the white pith. Put zest and rosemary in 1-gallon glass or ceramic container.

Pour bottle of vodka over zest and rosemary. Seal container, and let sit undisturbed in a cool, dark place for 40 days.

After 40 days, continue with recipe. Bring 5 cups of water to boil and add the sugar. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Pour syrup and Everclear over lemon/vodka mixture, stir and reseal container. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 40 more days.

After second 40 day period, your limoncello is ready to go. Pour it through cheesecloth into large pitcher and then into smalling gift bottles. I found great bottles at Specialty Bottles. Serve ice cold before or after dinner. Limoncello is traditionally kept in the freezer between servings.

Grammy’s Limoncello

  • 15 thick skinned lemons, washed
  • 2-750ml bottles 100 proof vodka
  • 5 cups sugar

Proceed as above. Use these recipes as a guide and experiment at will. I might try pepper corns next time, or maybe another fragrant herb from the garden. Fresh lemons are best, ones from your neighbor’s tree are even better. And don’t forget, you can use Limoncello in Watermelon Limoncelloade!