Limoncello is an Italian after-dinner drink that has its origins in Italy, specifically, the Gulf of Naples the Sorrentine Peninsula.
This brings me back to the time we experienced Limoncello for the first time. It is when we were in Italy back in 2013. I was so lucky to get to go to Capri as part of our tour of Italy with Globus Tours. Capri was part of our itinerary, along with other major cities of Italy.
We got there very early in the morning. If I remember correctly, after reaching our destination we had to take a Funicular ride, which is like a trolley car, the only difference is that this ride goes up the side of the mountain and it continues to climb until you get to your destination. This is where all the hotels and tourist attractions are.
One of the biggest attractions in Capri is Grotto Azzurra, the Blue Grotto! This must be a little part of heaven! Getting to the Blue Grotto was sheerly by chance; it was not on our itinerary but it was meant to be for us to experience it !! Early on in the day, the plans were being put in the works. Our foursome sat and talked it over during breakfast we were all for it to become a reality in our life. We needed to get there before 1:30 PM because that’s the cut off time for the tours into the Grotto. The reason behind that is that once you reach that time the ticket window closes, they stop the tours by 2 PM since pass that time the sun starts to go down and the Grotto no longer has the sun which has to hit the openings in the rocks which is part of the magic of the lighted blue ocean beneath the boat, its just amazing, like I said, a little piece of heaven!
But there is so much more to Capri than the Blue Grotto, the main topic of this article, yes, Limoncello! From the Sorrentine Peninsula to the coast of Amalfi, they are known in this region for their lemons, lemons as large as grapefruits.
Capri is where I purchased my first bottle of Limoncello, a matter of fact, I purchased several, souvenirs for the familia!
Limoncello is so versatile can be used as an after-dinner drink to using it in making gelato, Italian water ice, to different pastries and different mixed drinks or even in a mixed sangria wine quencher, it will only go as far as your imagination could take you with creating the next most favored recipe.
Limoncello is not hard to make. If you are well organized, can follow directions, and have patience, you can do this and the pay off is so worth the few short steps to bringing this beverage to fruition. So give it a try and share your results with me, love to hear and see your final product!
In bocca al lupo!!
Jump to Recipe
Limoncello “Nectar of the Gods”
Limoncello is a lemon-flavored liquor that has its origins in the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, and the island of Capri. Its been a long favorite of our family and many other Italians. My first time being in Capri, and falling in love with the island and all the beauty makes for falling in love with everything that you encounter there!! So of course, I was surrounded by lemons and limoncello and of course, I purchased it and took it home!! Limoncello is a sweet liqueur with the intense flavor of lemons, what else would it be?!?!! It lacks the tartness of lemon juice and it is more like a spiked, highly concentrated citrus-flavored syrup which is, of course, delicious!!
Limoncello can be served as an after-dinner drink, you can make specialty cocktails with it and there is an array of desserts that can be concocted with this delightful beverage.
Being enamored by this eye-popping sweet liquor and feeling a void from missing Capri, I decided if it wasn't going to be too difficult I'd try my hand at distilling some of my own "liquid sunshine". So I went ahead and did a little research and low and behold I compiled my ingredients, sorted through my instructions, fine-tuned all the timing, and set out on my "Capri" mixology journey!!
Hope you give it a try, and if you ever get a chance to go to Capri, you must go to the Grotta Azzurra, it will be a memory of sheer delight, reminiscent to only heaven!!
- 10-12 organically grown lemons
- 1-2 tsp. baking soda (For rinsing lemons)
- 1 liter grain alcohol (vodka or grappa) The higher the proof, the better the results; grappa is a grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35 to 60 percent alcohol.
- 8 ½ cups Filtered water
- 1 ½ cups sugar (extra fine granules) Ultrafine sugar
Lemon Skin Marinate
Soak lemons in warm water and 1 to 2 tsp. of baking soda; so to remove any wax and dirt that may be embedded in the skin of the lemon.
Wipe lemons dry. and air dry for a bit.
Using a potato peeler, remove the outer yellow skin from each lemon. Make sure not to pick up the white part of the skin, it will make it bitter and have an adverse effect on the end result of the limoncello.
Place peeled lemons in a plastic bag and refrigerate them for another time.
Place lemon peels into large 32 oz. wide mouth mason jar. Pour the alcohol over the peels, make sure the peels are completely covered by the alcohol, close tightly, and turn the jar upside down to ensure all the peels are under the liquor, do not leave them upside down; place them right side up.
Place the jar in a cool dry place to allow the oil from the lemon peels to infuse into the alcohol for, at least, 1 week. Shake the jar every 2 days to ensure all the oils from the peels are extracted.
Limoncello/Simple Syrup Instructions for Completion
After 1 to 2 weeks (just use your own judgment; it may need a little more time for the lemon skins to marinate.)
You are going to put a saucepan with 8½ cups of filtered water. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat
Measure out the 1½ cups of sugar; you are going to add the sugar to the simmering water, stirring as you add it and slowly will dissolve into the hot water, as it becomes simple syrup. Set aside to completely cool.
You are going to remove the lemon peels from the limoncello base (take the lemon peels out of liquor base and put aside to discard.) The lemon peels will have lost its yellow color and the liquor should be yellow color, transferring yellow color to the liquor.
Now you are going to filter the liquor with either coffee filters or cheesecloth and a fine strainer. (The cheesecloth may leave little bits of the cloth in the liquor when using to filter; better to use coffee filters. Or you may want to use a mesh filter)
Now you are going to infuse the lemon liquor with the cooled simple syrup; blending them together; stirring to be sure it's completely combined.
With a narrow funnel placed in the decorative jar, you are going to put the limoncello in and cork them up for future gift-giving or for the coming holiday season.
You want to keep them in the refrigerator or the freezer. You want to shake the bottle prior to opening; as it sits the simple syrup and the liquor sometimes separate, so to be sure that it's going to taste its best, shake or stir it up prior to serving it.
Hope you give this favored recipe a try; and please send me your pictures!!