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With online recipes in the thousands, it almost seemed pointless trying to get on the limoncello tutorial bandwagon. But I have been working in an Italian restaurant for the past nine years, where the owner, Sofia makes homemade limoncello every week. Now I promise you, I’m not trying to butter her up (I swear she doesn’t read this blog!), but Mama Sofia, as everyone calls her, makes the best limoncello in the world. Keeping her in mind, I thought this post is more than worth the effort.
Yes, I myself have made limoncello before, and even though it always tasted good, I could never get it to the same level of creaminess as Sofia’s. So I’ve always wanted to know her secret, and finally, after almost a decade of working with her, I asked for the recipe last week. Being the generous and kind person she is, Nonna shared her recipe with me, and it turned out her secret for creaminess wasn’t in the sugar/water proportions as I originally thought. The not so mysterious ingredient was hiding in her backyard.
Now, I know that you probably already expected organic lemons to be in the midst of making a high-quality limoncello. But even with organic citrus from Farmer’s market, the limoncello I was making before was lacking thickness and character.
It turned out it was Sofia’s homegrown lemons that made the difference here. She told me that because they are washed only with water, her garden lemons kept all the essential oils in the peel, which in turn makes for the extra dense limoncello.
And no, I am not saying that your Farmers Market limoncello won’t be delicious, and it might seem like a daunting task, but if you want some smooth, creamy and rich limoncello, you might just have to grow the lemons yourself. And if it all fails, you can always make friends with the neighbor with the lemon tree.
1 Peel Lemons
2 Add the Peels into A Jar
3 Add Grain Alcohol
4 Marinate for a week
A week later…
5 Discard the lemon peel
6 Make Simple Syrup
7 Add 10 oz of Lemon Infused Grain Alcohol in a Sealable bottle
8 Add 20 oz of The simple Syrup and Shake well to mix
- 1 Liter Grain Alcohol (Everclear)
- 10-12 Organic Lemons (from your neighbor's tree)
- 8 cups Water
- 8 cup White Sugar
Wash and dry your lemons. (use only water to wash the lemons)
Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler (peel as thin as possible and try not to get too much of the white pith under the peel - it's really bitter)
Put the peels into a large glass sealable jar. Add the alcohol and make sure that it completely covers the peels. Let the mixture steep for 7-8 days
After the infusing period, strain the peels through a fine mesh sieve
In a large saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, and the syrup is clear you can remove it from heat. Let the syrup cool to room temperature
In a one liter sealable bottle, combine 10 oz of the infused grain alcohol with 20 oz of the simple syrup. Seal, shake well and refrigerate
Tools & Equipment