The Limoncello Trilogy – Part 1

April 5, 2008 · 23 comments · Print This Post

in Beverages


Naked Lemons

Thanks to a post on Bostonist and urging from my fellow Google Reader addicts I decided to test my hand at making Limoncello. Today I completed the first step in this 3 part recipe. Honestly Iโ€™m a little scared of Limoncello. We all know what happened to Danny Devito after having a few too many with my boyfriend George Clooney. Tune in on Tuesday for Part 2 of my adventures in alcohol infusing. On a completely different note, while my kitchen smells like a lemon scented heaven what can I do with the 10 zestless lemons that are now sitting on my counter (besides the obvious gallon of lemonade)? Any thoughts?

Limoncello (Recipe originally published by Giada DeLaurentiis)
10 lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka

3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.


The Waiting

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy April 5, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Erin, believe it or not, I just decided yesterday that I was going to try making limoncello — so this is so timely! ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be eager to hear how yours goes. I’ve never made it before, but I hear only good things about it (as long as you don’t drink as much as Danny did.)


2 Elle April 5, 2008 at 6:48 pm

I was just looking at a recipe for Limoncello, too! Where the heck was it, now? I can’t remember, lol.

Oh, and the lemons? How about lemon curd? I’ve always wanted to try making that. Here are some more ideas:


3 Amy April 5, 2008 at 7:05 pm

PS – I realized I forgot to suggest making lemon curd with the leftover lemons…I see I’m not the only one to think so! ๐Ÿ™‚


4 Allen April 5, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Ahh, making liquor now ๐Ÿ™‚ My neighbor used to make limoncello every year from our meyer lemon tree … but this year he didn’t … sad. It tastes sweet and seductive, which makes it deadly if you’re not careful (like Mr. Devito).


5 Cze-Johnson Carrie April 5, 2008 at 10:53 pm

well… I for one am pretty thirsty. and a little too sober, too. me thinks I need to be your neighbor.

anyways.. devito was just a hot mess, now, wasn’t he? Though.. all things considered… I think I get it.

as for lemons.. picatta would be on my list. I prefer the chicken, but you could shake things up with veal?

sun tea? wait.. do you HAVE the sun up north yet? (sorry; still bitter about being so far from tasty drinks on tuesday.)

lemon-poppy seed salad dressing? or a lemon-dill butter that you can freeze and keep for some fresh fish?

this Moroccan-Spiced Lemon dressing sounded neat??,,FOOD_30878_100521,00.html


6 Cheryl April 6, 2008 at 9:28 am

I was just thinking about making limoncello last night, as I zested a bunch of lemons for a tart! I made limoncello last year, and it was delicious! It’s not the kind of thing I would typically make, being that I am so impatient and usually don’t start any projects that don’t have instant gratification. LOL But it was worth the wait! I’m looking forward to seeing how yours turns out.

As for the leftover lemons, you could make some lemon bars.


7 Lys April 6, 2008 at 11:38 am

Erin – this was brave and can’t wait for the next installment. I wussed out and bought the Limoncello. Perhaps next year I’ll try and make it but for now, I’ll stick with the bottle thats in my freezer beckoning me.

10 zestless lemons – I think that some homemade lemonade perhaps to go with the limoncello? Or Lemon Bars like the previous suggestion.


8 Marc @ NoRecipes April 6, 2008 at 12:05 pm

If I’m craving a swig of Limoncello at noon on a Sunday does that make me a lemonholic? I’ve only made Limoncello the old school way, which is why I’ve only made it once. This looks much easier. I’ll have to give it a go.

I’ve actually had the same “what do I do with all these lemons” thing over the past few weeks to, so there are at least 5 recipes in the past 2 weeks that include them on my blog. I don’t want to pollute your comments with links, but you can search for them: Meyer Lemon Curd, Meyer Lemon Icebox Cake, Meyer Lemon Icebox Cake Ice Cream, Bright and Sunny Lemon Linguine.


9 Katherine April 6, 2008 at 3:41 pm

I’m surprised no one suggested Lemonade!! What better way to use up leftover lemons?


10 Donald April 6, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Oh Erin…

Now you’re working with my fuel! You go girl!!!!

I want to hear more.


11 RecipeGirl April 6, 2008 at 8:57 pm

What a cool pitcher. I’ve always wanted to do this. LOL about Danny Devito- I totally remember that ๐Ÿ™‚


12 Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy April 7, 2008 at 7:40 am

If you can find grain alcohol (like Everclear), it’s much better than vodka and the way they make it here! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have fun drinking it.


13 Marianne April 7, 2008 at 2:14 pm

This is great! I’ve always wanted to try this, and will wait to see how yours comes out. Lemon curd is nice, you can serve it with angel food cake and some berries, or just plain cookies for dipping. Or, to put it off, you can just juice them and freeze the juice ice cube trays.


14 farida April 7, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Your limoncello is inviting:). Too bad I don’t drink anything with alcohol in it because I get drunk immediately:)


15 Limoncello April 7, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Fantastic pictures, very inviting. I have a couple suggestions for you. From the pictures it looks like you probably got some pith in the batch, I’d recommend a microplane grater. It’s faster, easier, get no pith in the batch and the small zestings have more surface area so it’s easier for the infusion to occur.

The other thing is the liquor. The stronger the liqueur, the more of the lemon oil is drawn into the infusion. Not only that but vodka imparts its own (potato?) flavor and 80 proof vodka is too weak. Limoncello is properly enjoyed straight from the freezer and using 80 proof vodka along with the relatively water heavy recipe you have means the liquor will freeze in the freezer. I have a whole blog on this at and I’d love to hear how this batch turns out for you!


16 Limoncello April 7, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Almost forgot, use the juice of the lemons to make lemon drops. It’s a mixed drink that uses lemon juice and it’s perfect for guests who don’t like the alcohol punch of the Limoncello.


17 Cate O'Malley April 7, 2008 at 10:12 pm

On my list to make this week now. And for the lemons? How about Giada’s Lemon Spaghetti?


18 Cate O'Malley April 8, 2008 at 9:24 am

Oooh, just remembered, Rachael Ray had a recipe for Limoncello Pasta a few weeks ago on her talk show – you might want to check it out.


19 emma April 16, 2008 at 7:31 pm
20 Shawn September 4, 2008 at 2:03 pm

i decided to make lemoncello so i have about 15 peeled lemons…..
i thought about lemon curd…but all the recipes call for zest… lemons are zestless, its all in the lemoncello…


21 Jre May 15, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Or… just buy Danny DeVito’s Limoncello (that’s done properly and perfected) for $29.99 at your local liquor store…


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: