Homemade Limoncello {Part 1}

Have you ever made homemade limoncello? It’s simple and delicious!

I remember a few years ago my bosses went to Italy and came back with a mysterious yellow liquor in a small bottle. When I asked what it was I was told it was called Limoncello. Now growing up in Ohio I had never been exposed to or even heard of limoncello. (But if you need any advice on apple jack or moonshine I’m very experienced). When my bosses pulled a bottle out of the freezer and offered me up a small glass I had to say yes. I remember taking a sip of this wonderfully sweet yet tangy drink and falling madly in love. Now since then I have had very little contact with l, in fact I almost forget about it. Then last year I stumbled upon a website that talked about how you can make your own homemade limoncello. This recipe was a short ten day adventure, but I was determined to find a more traditional recipe.

After searching I settled on a recipe that takes over eighty days and a lot more work than the original recipe I found. Now I’m not sure because it takes longer that it makes it “traditional” but I’m hoping it does make it taste better than the ten day recipe. If not then I’m pretty sure I just wasted a lot of time and energy.

My plan is to hopefully give away little bottles of this homemade limoncello to family at Christmas. *Side note: Christmas is really not that far away and I’m already starting to figure out what cookies I’m going to make 🙂 So excited! Ok back to the limoncello. These pictures are only from the first step of directions and I will have an update in about 40 days or so on how it is going. Today I stirred the limoncello and only after 8 days it had a much better smell than the extremely strong alcohol smell of the first day. You can see and smell that the lemon oils are starting to infuse with the vodka and grain alcohol. It smelled so summery and delicious. I can’t wait to taste the end result! Enjoy!!!

You should use a decent vodka, but it does not have to be premium. I chose Smirnoff because I like the flavor and it’s not overly expensive.

Be careful with this stuff! In some states it’s illegal to buy grain alcohol.  The most common brand for grain alcohol is Everclear, but I could only find Graves XXX at my liquor store.  I’m pretty sure they named it Graves XXX because if you drink to much you will end up in the grave! Seriously this stuff if not to be messed with. It’s 190 proof and actually burned my lips when I licked the top of the bottle to taste it.

It’s really important to not get a lot of pith (the white part) on the rind, but it’s nearly impossible to get none at all. It’s also important to get the peels as large as you can. It will make straining the liquor easier in the upcoming steps.  With all my leftover lemons we made two huge batches of lemonade.

Mix well to start the infusing process.

In about 40 days step two should start taking place. Until then we wait wait wait….

Homemade Limoncello {Part 1}

Yield: about 1 gallon

Prep Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

Ingredients and tools for step one:
1 750ml bottle of 80 proof vodka
1 750ml bottle of 190 proof grain alcohol
15 large thick skinned bright yellow lemons
A very clean dry gallon glass jar with tight fitting lid

Directions:

Day 1:
Pour the bottle of Everclear and the bottle of vodka into the gallon jar.

Try to use organic lemons or make sure that lemons are cleaned to remove all pesticides, dirt, and fertilizer chemicals. Dry the lemons.

Use a potato peeler to peel just the yellow part of the skin off the lemons. Make sure you have NO white pith on the back of the peels, because this causes bitterness in the finished liqueur. Try to make the peel pieces as large as possible, because this will make the straining process easier.

Put the lemon peels in the gallon jar and stir gently.

Cover tightly and put away in a cool (not cold) dark place for alcohol to extract oils from peels, creating an infusion.

Days 8, 22, & 36:
Gently stir lemon peels to refresh exposure to alcohol. Return to cool, dark place.

Day 43:
Gently stir lemon peels.

Scoop out one of the larger peels and test flexibility. If peel breaks like a potato chip, you will move on to the next step. If peel is still flexible enough to bend without breaking, return to cool dark place and try again in another week.

*** UPDATE***  Interested in the next step? Here you go! Homemade Limoncello {Part Two}