Saturday, December 13, 2014

How to Make Limoncello

How to Make Limoncello

A Deliciously Refreshing Italian Lemon Vodka Drink

Limoncelo di Capri
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur that originated in southern Italy on the Amalfi Coast. Limoncello flavor comes from oils in the lemon peel, rather than the fruit's tart juice. Homemade limoncello recipes will typically call for lemons to be peeled with a potato peeler for the thinnest possible rind. Italian lemon liqueur is sweet and lemony, without a trace of bitterness.

Limoncello gained popularity more than a century ago, when Vincenza Canale, who operated a hotel on the island of Capri, offered her guests a small glass of Italian lemon liqueur as an after-dinner drink, or digestivo. The fame of the lemony nectar soon spread among travelers and guests who visited Capri, including several famous writers who shared their love for limoncello with their readers. Vincenza Canale's original recipe has remained unaltered over the past century, and her descendants produce the Italian lemon liqueur known worldwide as Limoncello di Capri.

Homemade limoncello liqueur is very easy to make, requiring only four ingredients—lemons, vodka, sugar, and water. The recipe shared below was taken from Frances Mayes' bestseller, In Tuscany. Our family had fun making limoncello from this recipe, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it too. We have since discovered several more easy limoncello recipes, as well as a number of recipes using limoncello.

Italian alcoholic drinks are refreshing, especially when combined with the flavor of Sorrento Italy lemons. Several homemade limoncello recipes call for Everclear grain alcohol. A limoncello Everclear recipe will create the same lemony taste as a recipe calling for vodka, but the alcohol content will be higher.

When in Rome ...
My husband and I were vacationing with friends in Rome, and stopped for dinner at one of the many outdoor cafes surrounding our hotel. After a delicious meal, the proprietor joined our table and set out a tray of grappa and limoncello. We all loved the tasty combination and readily adopted the ritual of sipping Italian lemon liqueur from special limoncello glassware.

Isola Faraglioni Offshore Rocks
Capri, Italy Vintage Poster

Capri Island
The following day we traveled to the island of Capri, where limoncello originated more than one hundred years earlier. We learned that more than 70,000 bottles of Limoncello di Capri are produced each year by the factory in Anacapri. The liqueur is made exclusively with lemons of Sorrento, which are characterized by exceptionally fine essential oils in the peel. Today, there are many producers of limoncello, but it all started with Limoncello di Capri.

Limoncello di Capri
Pack of Three Bottles

Homemade Limoncello Recipes
Lemons, Vodka, Sugar + Water = Lemon Liqueur aka Limoncello

My mother was reading In Tuscany by Frances Mayes and discovered an easy limoncello recipe by Riccardo Baracchi. We used this authentic limoncello recipe for our first batch, using lemons grown in our southern California backyard. My husband’s mother was staying with us at the time, so it became a family affair, each of us taking turns stirring the lemony mixture with a wooden spoon.

We made so much limoncello the first time, we ended up discovering some wonderful limoncello drink recipes, like Limoncello Champagne Cocktail, Limoncello Spritzer, and “Lemony Bastard,” an assemblage of lemon, schnapps, ice cream, and limoncello.

Frances Mayes
If you've got a plot the size of a car or a tiny yard in Italy, you're going to be growing tomatoes and basil and celery and carrots, and everybody is still connected to the land.

Riccardo's Limoncello Recipe
Easy Limoncello Recipe

Riccardo Baracchi's Recipe was Featured in the Frances Mayes’ Bestseller, In Tuscany
  • 8 organic lemons
  • 1 quart vodka
  • 14 ounces sugar
  • 1 quart bottled water, brought to a simmer
Peel the lemons, leaving a little white attached to the peel. Reserve the lemons for other uses. Put the peels in a large container together with the vodka, close it well, and leave it in a cool place for at least 4 days, preferably a week. Gently shake a couple times a day. The peels will lose their brilliant yellow color.

On the fifth day or later, prepare a syrup of the sugar and hot water, making sure the syrup never quite boils. Stir and simmer 5 minutes, then after the sugar has dissolved, allow the syrup to cool. Strain the lemon-scented alcohol through cheesecloth or a strainer, discard the lemon peels, and mix the alcohol into the syrup. Shake well before bottling. Let the limoncello sit for 2 to 3 days. Serve cold as an apertif. Makes 2 quarts.

In Tuscany
by Frances Mayes

Sorrento, Italy Peninsula
Vintage Poster Reproduction

Authentic Limoncello Recipe
Best Homemade Limoncello Recipe

Once the lemon peels have soaked in vodka for five or more days, a syrup of sugar and hot water is prepared. The process is identical to making hummingbird nectar, for which I always use organic sugar. The mixture is stirred and simmered for about five minutes, then allowed to cool. When the sugar is completely dissolved, the syrup is combined with the lemon-scented alcohol, sans peels.

How to Make Limoncello: The Complete Guide
Kindle Edition by Ben Mazzola

Fresh Organic Lemons
Delicious and Sweet Sun Drenched Lemons by Organic Mountain

These lemons from Organic Mountain are the best nature has to offer, grown with traditional earth-friendly farming methods. These lemons are great for eating, and are an excellent choice if you want to make limoncello liqueur. Every limoncello liqueur recipe I use calls for organic lemons. Fortunately, we have several lemon trees in our garden, including two Sorrento lemon trees. If you live in an area where it’s difficult to find fresh, organic lemons, Organic Mountain lemons can be shipped right to your door.

Lemon Grove in Sorrento, Italy
Laminated Poster Print

Limoncello Decanter with Cups and Tray
Handmade in Florence, Italy by Ceramiche D'Arte Parrini

This hand-painted serving set includes a tray, a carafe, and six limoncello ceramic shot glasses. Ceramiche D'Arte Parrini hand-painted limoncello sets are dishwasher safe and 100% food safe. Italian limoncello glasses are a welcome gift for anyone who loves Italy or the taste of Italian lemon liqueur.

Inside the Blue Grotto Capri Poster Print
Original Painting by Maurice Grieffenhagen (1909)

Hotel Morgana in Rome, Italy
We stayed in this lovely hotel in Rome, conveniently located within walking distance to the train station. We highly recommend their full-day excursion to Naples, Capri and Anacapri, which includes a delicious lunch and a quick stop in Sorrento.

Zulay Premium Quality Metal Citrus Squeezer
Cleans in Seconds and is Dishwasher Safe

The Wonders of the Amalfi Coast
Author Paolo Rubino was born in Naples and has been a professional journalist since 1994. His tourism and cultural reports have been published in some of the most prestigious magazines in the world.

The Blue Grotto is a 'Must-Do' in Capri
Capri has Been a Resort Since the Time of the Roman Republic

When Life Hands You Lemons … Make a Batch of Limoncello T-Shirts
Available in Many Colors and Sizes for the Whole Family

Explore Simply DIY
Make Limoncello

Beautify Your Home and Garden
Limoncello bottles photograph by MCSMandalas