Limoncello Uncapped

April 21, 2008 · 29 comments · Print This Post

in Beverages, Dinner, Holidays / Entertaining

At Least it's Pretty!

After a long and involved process the Limoncello was finally sampled on Saturday.  Beforehand though I spent hours in the kitchen prepping dinner.   Unfortunately several glasses of wine into the evening it completely slipped my mind to take any actual shots of the cooked food.  No doubt, a common hazard of the “job.”

In reality I served a Roasted Vegetable Lasagna (specifically Portobello Mushrooms, Red Pepper, Zucchini, and Spinach) with spicy Turkey Sausage, Baked Artichokes with Gorgonzola and Herbs, and a Strawberry and Marscapone Granita.

Long and Involved Artichokes

I should warn you that even though Giada said you can eat the artichoke leaves, I thought they were really too chewy.  So I cut up cubes of Seeduction Bread (I know…I know…I’m obsessed) and served the artichokes as a sort of mini personalized fondue.   The fact that those leaves were so gross really annoyed me because it took 20 minutes to snip off the tips of six artichokes and those ends didn’t just fall gracefully to the counter in a neat pile, they flew all over my kitchen with an audible ping.  Zoom!

What a Mess!

As for the Limoncello…well…I sort of had a hunch that I wouldn’t like it.  I haven’t been a fan of lemony cocktails in years ever since an unfortunate incident with some Bacardi Limon in college.   But my other guests didn’t seem to mind it.  CK actually liked it!  He drank his in the form of a modified Gin and Tonic.  My friend Melissa had the best response of all:

When I first sampled the limoncello, it smelled like disinfectant --> HOWEVER upon consuming it --> it went down like a honey-lemon cough drop!   Different, but good!

Anyway, I have two full wine bottles of the stuff left so if anyone has any good ideas on what I can do with it (besides drink it) I’d be forever grateful.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rachel April 21, 2008 at 10:00 am

Send it to us! Matt is limoncello obsessed! 🙂

Maybe you will like it more after it sits awhile? The flavor might mellow.


2 geeky April 21, 2008 at 10:03 am

It smells like disinfectant? LOL! I have my own bottle I’m getting ready to open soon. I saw Giada make some fruit salad with Limoncello over the weekend. I think I’ll try it. Hopefully it won’t taste like disinfectant! 🙂


3 Elle April 21, 2008 at 10:17 am

It looks SO pretty, though, Erin! I’m sure there are things you can do with it…


4 Lys April 21, 2008 at 10:23 am

I’m glad Geeky brought that up – I saw that ep. too and all she did was take a mixture of blueberries, rasberries and strawberries, toss them with some limoncello, mint and basil and it’s a refreshing fruit salad. I was actually going to email you with the recipe in case you had any limoncello leftovers.

What about a limoncello granita?? I mean a grown up lemon water ice can’t be that bad, right??

Other than that, sounds like you had a great time!


5 Sarah April 21, 2008 at 10:52 am

Smells like disinfectant and tastes like a honey-lemon cough drop…not sure if that is praise or not?! Granita is what comes to mind immediately when thinking about recipes for it…I bet that would be yummy!


6 Allen April 21, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Bummer … I thought for sure you’d love it. Ah well, you can always pour it on cuts and scrapes 🙂

By the way, I love love love your photo of the floating artichokes with lemons.


7 Cze-Johnson Carrie April 21, 2008 at 3:39 pm

I like the description of flying artichoke tips.

what about using the leftover limoncello in jello shots? ok, so maybe I have a thing for rhyming drinks… or just jello shots in general? best not answer that.

ummm.. mix it with sprite for a summery spritzer?

nail polish remover?

sorry, momma. that’s it.. I got nothin’ else.


8 Amy April 21, 2008 at 3:50 pm

I have been meaning to try making limoncello. I do love lemon drinks so I still think I’ll give it a try even after your review.


9 sarah April 21, 2008 at 6:25 pm

(sorry this has very little to do with the actual limoncello!)

but usually, tabletop shots are kinda crazy and cluttered and not that interesting, but just wanted to say that the picture of the bottles and glass is really very pretty


10 jeanne April 21, 2008 at 7:47 pm

I’ve always wanted to try Giada’s limoncello recipe. Sad that it smelled like disinfectant though :p Also, maybe the artichoke leaves didn’t taste so good, because you’re not actually supposed to “eat” them. When they say you can eat the leaves, what you do is stick it in your mouth and then you use your teeth and pull off the meat in/on the leaves in a pulling motion, using your top and bottom front teeth to scrape the meat off. Then you discard the rest of the leaf, as it is inedible. Hope that helps :/.


11 Cze-Johnson Carrie April 21, 2008 at 8:46 pm

and I forgot to say this.. but you have COMMENT CARDS? for your DINNER PARTIES?????

seriously. you ARE the wind beneath my wings.


12 Nikki April 21, 2008 at 9:24 pm

What about some home made lemonade and club soda with shots of limoncello? Sounds like a perfect backyard dinner party drink to me… yummy. And what about some preseco and limoncello? I think theres a lot that you could do with it besides drink it straight. What about limoncello soaked pound cake with a raspberry syrup drizzled over it? …I might go make that… anyway, just be creative!


13 michelle @ Us vs Food April 21, 2008 at 10:48 pm

i’ll take your limoncello! i love it – kept in the freezer, sipped on a warm summer evening…drool.

thanks for reminding me that i want to make some!


14 Erin April 22, 2008 at 12:23 am

Girl, I had an unfortunate event with Bacardi Limon in college, too! Just the other night I had some drink that had something lemon in it and Marc was like “oh, so you’re daring to try the lemon again!!” 🙂
I second the idea of mixing it with sprite or maybe fresca or Ginger ale? Something fizzy!
This party looks like it was an amazing success, you are such a good dinner party thrower!


15 wummy April 22, 2008 at 7:35 am

The next dinner party have shot!! Or you can make purple hooters with it for a nice change for a summer drink


16 Hanni April 22, 2008 at 8:24 am

What a perfect springtime menu. How did the granita turn out?


17 Tessa April 22, 2008 at 6:52 pm

After I read your recipe for the limoncello, I think you should try the recipe with orange peels and vanilla vodka, I think that would be very good…


18 Nicole April 23, 2008 at 8:50 am

I had my fair share of limoncello in Italy, both commercial and homemade. They are all fairly terrible 🙂 It has to be served very cold–from the freezer and in very small amounts as an after dinner digestive. That’s really the only way to ‘enjoy’ it. I did see a recipe a long time ago for some kind of limoncello cheesecake or something. I’ll try to track it down.


19 rebecca April 24, 2008 at 9:35 am

I love Giada, but truthfully – I’m with you; she’s off the mark on the artichoke leaves. Way too chewy, and I don’t think all that good for your digestive track??

Anyway, I’m not a huge fan of limoncello – though I do prefer the non creamy version if I’m going to have it at all. I’d think freezing it might be good; something about it being ice cold might be nice. I know alot of people enjoy it over ice cream?

There’s got to be a use for it somehow. Either in baking, or recycled into another drink.


20 Cate O'Malley April 24, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Rachael Ray made a recipe for Limoncello Pasta recently on her talk show that you might want to check out. In the meantime, beautiful pictures … where’d you get the comment cards? LOVE that idea!


21 Abbey April 25, 2008 at 12:07 am

Hmmm…I have no suggestions except to drink it! Sorry. 🙁 I actually like lemon-y ANYTHING…esp. cocktails. Good Stuff!!


22 Ben, LimoncelloQuest April 27, 2008 at 6:30 pm

You can put it on ice cream, in iced tea, and in lots of mixed drinks. I’ve also seen normal food recipes that use it as well. It’s best straight from the freezer on a hot summer day though!


23 Ro June 16, 2008 at 11:00 am

Try it as a marinade for steak or fish on the grill.How about as a dressing for salad.


24 Sue June 19, 2008 at 9:42 am

Does anyone have a recipe to make limoncello shooters?

BTW- I, too, think Erin’s photography is awesome…


25 carrie November 23, 2008 at 2:53 am

Okay…safe to say…if you had cooked your artichokes longer…you would have been happier! Cooking soooo makes the difference!! And then…the limoncello…I’m not sure what proof vodka you used…regardless…leave it in the bottle…until, maybe 🙂 you’re ready to try and taste it again…it always gets better…Good Luck :)!!!


26 Renee M April 7, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Okay so you don’t like lemoncello , you know it come in a creamy version and a clear one….anyway I discovered this cocktail..its a PINK CELLO vodka cranberry and lemoncello its excellent !! I got the receipe online at


27 Nicole August 4, 2009 at 6:32 pm

I spent four years in Sicily trying to develop a taste for Limoncello but it just never happened. And believe me, I’ve sampled a LOT of them, both store-bought and homemade. There are tons of dessert recipes out there for it, though. My only advice for consuming it is to drink it very cold (we always stored ours in the freezer) and in very small amounts, the way it’s served in Italy. Love that top photo…absolutely beautiful!


28 (Fish) August 4, 2009 at 10:36 pm

I made a fresh batch of limoncello from a recipe that I found in Sunset magazine. I added three sprigs of lavender to the steeping. It added a nice flavor too it.
Unfortunately it’s way too sweet and I like sweet, but that’s just the recipe. I’ll can change it next time when I make it with some rosemary.
I made this batch with 100 proof vodka and let me tell you it’s strong!

I keep mine in the fridge and serve it over ice in small portions too. Makes a nice dessert drink.


29 Deeann February 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Just a tip on artichokes, they are sooo easy to make. Don’t bother snipping tips. Rinse them, stick them in a pot of water and bring them to a boil. When a fork pokes easily into the short stem at the base at an angle toward t he center of the choke, its done. Pour out hot water, fill with cold, and let them sit for a couple minutes, so you can handle them. Drain and squeeze them upside down to get some of the excess water out. Put in a bowl and put your favorite dipping sauce in another. I use thousand island dressing. Pull off leaves one at a time, dip them and scrape the lower third of the dipped leaf with your teeth. Mmmm, so good. Keep going till you get to the thin flimsy leaves, just pull them off, scrape the new growth of leaves- they look like hairs growing off little soft seed heads. Once you’ve scraped that off, you have a bowl shaped solid piece off heaven. Your prize at the center! No more scraping, just dip it and eat it!!!


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