Today we are going to try something a little different to brewing. Occasionally I make a few liqueurs and cordials so I wanted to share this one. Everybody seems to like Limoncello, so it’s a good liqueur to make and give away as gifts to people who don’t like beer.
Limoncello has got to be one of the simplest liqueurs to make but nevertheless still an impressive one. A drink that will impress your friends and family but requires only a couple of very basic ingredients and a little bit of patience waiting for the flavours to infuse.
A Bit of Background On Limoncello
Limoncello is a Southern Italian liqueur traditionally made with Sorrento lemons and served ice cold as an after-dinner digestif. The key to it’s popularity seems to be that only the zest of the lemons are used which means it possesses all the bold flavours of fresh lemons with none of the bitterness or sourness, this makes Limoncello a awesomely refreshing drink on a hot day which are of course in plentiful supply in Southern Italy.
Like I said before this is one of the simplest liqueurs to make and has only 4 ingredients. A lot of people will say “you need 100 proof grain spirit” to make the best limoncello or “this amount of sugar” but at the end of the day it’s all personal preference, even in Italy each family will have their own recipe to make limoncello to their tastes. Once you’ve seen how simple it is to make you can experiment to find what works for you.
8 Lemons (preferably unwaxed) scrubbed clean
70cl of Vodka – 40% ABV
500g White Sugar
- First of all take your prepared lemons and begin removing the zest with no white pith at all, this will ensure your limoncello remains lemony but not bitter or sour. The easiest way to do this I have found is to use a peeler like the one in the picture. If there is any white pith on the zest the scrape it off with a knife.
- Whilst this is happening clean a jar or something similar, I sanitised my jar by boiling in water for a minute or two (this isn’t strictly necessary but will ensure no spoiling bacteria can effect you liqueur).
- Put the lemon zest in the jar and add the vodka, this now has to steep for at least a week. The longer you leave it the more the lemon flavours are extracted.
- Once the flavours have infused over the week or so the peel should have lost some of its colour. It’s now time to prepare a syrup with the sugar and water. Boil the water in a pan and fully dissolve all the sugar, simmer for a few minutes then allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add the cooled syrup to the limoncello and leave for a further week.
- After this infusion you are ready to strain the liqueur into bottles. If there are small bits of peel a fine sieve should remove everything.
There we have it, once the limoncello is in bottles you can leave it for as long as you dare I have kept mine for around 8 months but it usually doesn’t stick around long and you may find the flavours dull with long aging.