Simple guide on how to make limoncello easily, plus several recipes for delicious limoncello cocktails perfect for summer!
Like vacationing in Italy: fruity, fresh limoncello is the perfect summer drink. It is easy to prepare using just 3 ingredients, but the lemon liqueur needs some time to fully develop its aroma. Cin cin!
How to make limoncello
Ingredients for about 1.5 liters:
- 10 organic lemons
- 3/4 l vodka
- 500 g of sugar (If you love a sweeter taste, just add more sugar)
If you don’t want to use vodka, you can often you can get 96% alcohol from trustworthy distilleries and wine merchants at a very affordable price. Approach well-known distilleries in your own region or source on the Internet. You should make sure that the alcohol is suitable as FDA-approved food grade alcohol (this should be expressly clearly indicated) and is not cosmetic grade (intended for the production of cosmetics).
How to make limoncello: step by step
- Wash the lemons* with hot water, rub dry and peel with the peeler so that no white skin sticks to the peel, otherwise scrape it off with the back of a knife so that the limoncello does not become bitter.
- Put the lemon peel in a large container, pour vodka over it and cover it and let it steep for at least 1 week at room temperature. 2 weeks is even better! The yellow color of the lemon peel will fade during this time and merge into the alcohol.
- Bring 750 water and sugar to the boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Then let it cool down.
- Add the sugar syrup to the vodka mixture, stir and let steep again overnight. The next day, pour through a sieve into clean bottles and close.
* Squeeze the peeled lemons and use the juice for other purposes – e.g. put in an ice cube tray, freeze and thaw if necessary. Also great: Use the lemon juice to make lemonade yourself.
100 ml limoncello (3 small liqueur glasses) contain approx. 24% alcohol by volume and approx. 160 kcal and 0 g fat when diluted three times with water
How to serve limoncello at its best
- Allow time to mature! Theoretically, limoncello can be drunk immediately after preparation, but it tastes best when it can steep for another week or two.
- Make sure to use organic lemons to make your own limoncello, because their peel has not been chemically treated.
- Always enjoy limoncello straight from the refrigerator and over ice. Then it tastes best.
- Incidentally, self-made limoncello is a great gift from the kitchen, filled in pretty bottles and provided with a decorative label .
Ways to use the lemon liquer
Limoncello is not only a pleasure on its own. Filled up with prosecco, sparkling wine or mineral water, it turns into a refreshing Limoncello spritz in no time at all, making it the perfect summer party drink.
The Italian lemon liqueur gives sweet delicacies and desserts such as lemon and fig jam, gratinated berry zabaione or strawberry cake with limoncello an extra helping of fruity freshness.
Limoncello cocktail recipes
The Italian lemon liqueur is usually drunk neat. But it can also be used excellently for various cocktails.
- For a refreshing spritzer, place 1 stripped organic lemon and an ice cube in each glass. Pour about 1-2 tablespoons of limoncello on top, add half a teaspoon of lemon juice if desired and top up with cold prosecco or sparkling wine.
- For the limoncello cocktail, mix 20 milliliters of vodka with 40 milliliters of limoncello. Peel off a slice from an untreated lemon and place it in a glass with ice cubes. Spread the liqueur mixture on the ice cubes and fill the glass with 100 milliliters of tonic water .
- A strawberry-lemon cocktail is ideal for the summer. Wash 90 grams of strawberries and let them drain. Add 90 milliliters of orange juice and 25 milliliters of limoncello. Puree the mixture with a hand blender . The cocktail is best served in a tall glass over crushed ice.
- The pineapple-lemon cocktail is ideal for parties because it can be prepared quickly. Put ice cubes in a glass and fill it up with 250 milliliters of pineapple juice and 6 centiliters of limoncello.
- For the Tropical Prosecco, dip a champagne glass in water and store it in the freezer. Pour 2 centiliters of Havana rum, half a centiliter of limoncello, half a centiliter of passion fruit juice and 2 centiliters of orange juice into a shaker and shake the whole thing. Pour the juice into the pre-chilled champagne glass and fill it with 6 centiliters of Prosecco.
- For another, very fruity cocktail, fill the following ingredients into a shaker: 2 centiliters of liqueur, for example Licor 43, one centiliter of limoncello, 4 centiliters of peach juice, 3 centiliters of red grape juice and 2 centiliters of orange juice, a few ice cubes and half a splash of lime juice. You can hang red grapes over the edge of the glass for decoration.
Genevieve Dumas is a design, fashion, food and style writer who has worked on major magazines and mastheads in the United States and Europe.