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How to Make Limoncello

a man standing on a kitchen counter preparing food

Living in the land of lemons definitely makes it easier to produce the real stuff but you can also make it at home. So if you don’t have the local lemons from Sorrento (scientifically known at Femminello Sorrentino…and only from the Sorrento Peninsula side…including Capri…and certified by the blue and gold I.G.P seal signifying they are indeed from Sorrento, Limone di Sorrento). Then use any thick skinned lemons you have available.

These are not be confused with the Amalfi Coast lemon (Sfusato Amalfitano, also it’s own I.G.P) just an hour away, but the Sorrento lemon has a thinner peel, stronger aroma and bit more tart. Who knew there were so many to choose from?

It has to be the secret to making the best limoncello because they are so much more intense than lemons from anywhere else. Come visit and taste for yourself or try the recipe below.

•15 thick-skinned lemons (use organic-no wax or pesticides) 
•2 bottles (750 ml each) high-quality 100-proof Vodka or a (750 ml bottle) of 190-proof grain alcohol 
•4 1/4 cups (just under 1 k) sugar
•5 cups (1.2 liters) filtered or distilled water if you use vodka, or 8 cups (2 liters) if you use grain alcohol

*Or go totally organic use organic Vodka:

Punzone Organic Vodka from Italy

TRU Organic Vodka from California regular or lemon infused

Prairie Vodka from Minnesota and Kosher

Preparation:-Wash the lemons in hot water. Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler, removing only the yellow part. Ensure no white pith is on the peel as this will make it bitter.

-Place the peels in a 4 quart/1 gallon jar with lid and add 1 bottle of Vodka, or half of the grain alcohol, and stir. Close the jar, put it on the shelf, (cabinet at room temp) mark the calendar and wait!

-After 30 days, take the lemon peel mixture off the shelf.

-In a sauce pan over high heat, stir the sugar and water together and boil for 5 minutes. Let the simple sugar syrup cool completely in the pan, about 10 minutes. Add the simple sugar syrup to the lemon peel mixture along with the second bottle of Vodka or the remaining grain alcohol.

-Stir well to combine. Replace the lid on the jar, put it back on the shelf and wait again! Good things come to those who wait…or so they say. Store the the jar another 30 days, this period makes it mellow out.

-60 days later. Strain the mixture from the jar and discard the lemon peel. You can use a coffee filter or cheese cloth to strain.

-Now you have limoncello!!

-Pour into clean, unused bottles with caps or decorative corked bottles. Store the bottles in the cabinet or refrigerator. Makes about 3 quarts.

Some drinkers like to store it in the freezer…but I was told by a local producer to serve it room temperature to refrigerator chilled. The freezer version can mask the real flavor.

So however you prefer it….salute!!

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