Not only is homemade limoncello absolutely delicious and better than a lot of the options on the shelves at the liquor store. It's also super simple to make! All you need is a bit of patience as it comes to life over the course of a few weeks.
I learned this recipe on our honeymoon in Italy a few years ago. We were at a tiny restaurant tucked away in the hillsides of Tuscany, sitting at a table set for communal group dining. There were about 15 of us, and we spoke all different languages and came from places all over the world. We communicated through bits and pieces of English, and what at first felt like an experience where everything would be lost in translation, quickly transformed into a group of fascinating people bonding over food and drink.
Within minutes, I was chatting all things life and food with a girl around my age. She was sweet and spunky and loved to cook like me, and I quickly learned that she grew up on a nearby farm and bred horses with her family. She was actually on a first date with a guy across the table who was chatting with my husband, so we were sort of like airbags for our new friends! LOL, I got you, girl.
As we sipped limoncello sent over by the chef, I told her how much my whole family loves limoncello. She asked if we make it ourselves, and was SHOCKED when I laughed and said no, telling me how easy it is and that it’s so much better homemade (like most things), and that I must try. She proceeded to so graciously share her family recipe. I jotted down every word in my phone, trying not to miss a single word, and then promptly emailed the notes to myself for extra security so that I would never, ever forget this moment or lose this recipe. I couldn’t wait to try when we returned home!
A table full of people from all over the world were laughing, sharing stories, and connecting because they sat together to enjoy a meal. Food connects us like nothing else. I will never forget that comforting and delicious meal, that glass of limoncello and amazing conversation, or that dining experience surrounded by such kind people who truly appreciated and embraced the beauty of living and the gift of waking up to enjoy each day.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Initially, 4 Weeks Overall
Yield: About 1 Liter
1 750 ml bottle Everclear
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups filtered water
Clean the lemons. Soak them in a bowl of water with 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for 15 minutes, then scrub with a fresh sponge, potato brush, or [unused] toothbrush.
Peel the lemons but be sure not to have any white pith. If you peel some, use a paring knife to remove it.
Place the peels in an airtight container. Pour the alcohol over and close. I used a large glass food storage container with a clip top. Allow to sit in a room temp, dim/dark location for 3 weeks (Tip: Put a reminder in your phone or a post-it with the date on the container!).
::::3 weeks later::::
Strain the liquid with a mesh strainer, removing the peels. Return to the container.
Add sugar and water to a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar completely dissolves.
Once dissolved, add to the container and stir to combine. Set another reminder and allow to sit for 1 more week in a room temp, dark/dim spot.
::::1 week later::::
Pour the Limoncello into a bottle or mason jars. Place in the freezer to chill overnight. Enjoy for up to one year stored in the freezer. Note the date on it so you remember. Cheers 🍋