Homemade limoncello, how to easily prepare the Italian classic

Who does not know the limoncello? The famous sweet lemon liqueur that most of you have probably already tried. Few introductions needed. It is a typically Italian specialty, which has different versions in many regions of the country, each with its own nuances. But without a doubt, one of the most appreciated is the one made with Sorrento lemons near Naples, which by the way, have a designation of origin.

Preparing limoncello at home has two main advantages. The first, from an economic point of view, since it is much cheaper and the second is to be able to modify the result at will, especially the proportions of alcohol and sugar. You could even say that it serves as a recipe for use since you can make lemonade with the juice of the lemons and limoncello with the peels.

Limoncello served in small glassesDamian Serrano

He The secret of this recipe lies in using quality lemons, that is to say, that as far as possible they have not undergone any external treatment after harvesting but that the shell is well preserved. Eye! Before you start making homemade limoncello, you know you need to get pure alcohol for food use and one thing has to be clear: it is not worth using the alcohol from the pharmacy that is used to disinfect! That one is modified and is not suitable for consumption.

This food alcohol is also known by the name of 96º ethyl alcohol, pure or total alcohol or mouth alcohol (or mouth use). It is a product that is not available to the general public but it is not difficult to obtain it. To do this, you should go to specialized liquor stores (physical or online) or even drugstores. other alternatives are to use brandy or some neutral cereal liquor such as vodka that, although the result is not the same, it is also rich. In that case, pay attention because the proportions vary. We tell you everything in the recipe.

recipe information

    • Preparation time: 10 minutes
    • cooking time: 5 minutes
    • total time: 15 minutes (plus 14 days of maceration)
    • rations: 15, 1.5 liters
    • Category: drinks
    • type of cuisine: Italian
    • Calories per serving (kcal):170

Homemade limoncello ingredients

To prepare limoncello with food alcohol:

    • 5 or 6 lemons (if possible without treatment after harvest)
    • 500 ml of food alcohol 96%
    • 300g of sugar
    • 750 ml of water

To prepare limoncello with vodka or brandy:

    • 5 or 6 lemons (if possible without treatment after harvest)
    • 1 liter of brandy or vodka
    • 300g of sugar
    • 250 ml of water
limoncello ingredientsDamian Serrano

How to make homemade limoncello

To start, we have to take about 5 or 6 lemons, depending on the size, which are better if they are organic or if they have not received any treatment after harvesting. That is, we need the lemon as it came from the tree. We have to peel those lemons because we are only going to need the peel.

Peel the lemons to make limoncelloDamian Serrano

We will peel the lemons carefully so as not to take the white part, as it gives a bitter taste and we want to avoid it. For this, it is good to get a sharp knife or peeler. However, later we can review and scrape the remains of the white part with the tip of the knife.

Put the lemon peels in a containerDamian Serrano

Once we have the lemon peels ready, we are going to put them in a bowl, or even a large jar would also work, and cover them with 500 ml of food alcohol or 1 liter of vodka or brandy. Cover the container, cover it with a kitchen towel to protect it from light, and store it in a cool, dry place for about 7 days to macerate.

Macerate the lemon peels in alcoholDamian Serrano

After that first maceration time, we are going to prepare a syrup. To do this, we put 300 g of sugar and 750 ml of water in a saucepan if alcohol was used or 250 ml of water if vodka or brandy was used. We mix well so that it dissolves and we take it to the fire. We heat and watch, because we have to remove it just when it is going to break to a boil.

Prepare the syrup for the limoncelloDamian Serrano

We let the syrup cool to room temperature and, when it is cold, we add it into the jar or bowl where we had macerated the alcohol with the lemon peels. It is important to let it cool beforehand, because if we mix it hot, the final preparation will lose graduation. Let the mixture macerate again for another 7 days.

Add the syrup to the macerated lemon peelsDamian Serrano

This will be the last maceration. After it, what we are going to do is strain the limoncello to remove all the lemon peels.

Strain the lemon peelsDamian Serrano

Finally, we will use a funnel to bottle the limoncello and close it well. When consuming it, it is advisable to store it in the freezer a few hours before to serve it as cold as possible because it is the tastiest it is. Avoid serving it with ice.

bottle the limoncelloDamian Serrano

Easy preparation summary

    1. Remove the skin of the lemons without the white part
    1. Check and scrape the remains of white part
    1. Let the lemon skins macerate with alcohol, brandy or vodka for 7 days
    1. Prepare a syrup: heat the water with the sugar until it is about to boil
    1. Let the syrup cool, add it to the limoncello and let it macerate for 7 more days
    1. Strain the shells
    1. Store the limoncello in bottles and consume cold