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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!!
Course Liquor
Cuisine Italian
Keyword After Dinner Liquor, Lemoncello
Prep Time 14 days

Equipment

  • Wide mouth mason jars 32 oz. size with lids(2 piece lids)
  • Wild Mouth funnel
  • Coffee filters or cheesecloth for straining liquid of limoncello
  • Large ladle (for transferring limoncello into funneled jars)
  • potato peeler (for removing skins from lemons)
  • 4 cup size Measuring cup
  • Saucepan to make the simple syrup
  • Decorative bottles for the completed Limoncello (For gift-giving; gives a nice presentation)
  • Corks for bottles unless bottles have a self-sealing plungers

Ingredients

Limoncello Ingredients

  • 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.

Simple Syrup

  • 8 ½ cups Filtered water
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (extra fine granules) Ultrafine sugar

Instructions

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!!