Limoncello in the making! Liquid Gold..A few things I learned about it…

20150508_075533  20150508_080822
The finished product- yum! At first there was too much sugar syrup to vodka lemon peel ratio. I knew as it froze in the freezer. I just added a cup of vodka to the whole batch and it solved the problem! It’s also not too sweet anymore- it’s just right

So you want to know about making Limoncello- this liquid gold?

This is what I did after listening to all the advice of my friends during the 14 years in Italy (including my Italian husband who has his own strong opinions and tends to like things on the sweet side) and reading everything there is to read online about making Limoncello.

I peeled the Meyer lemons and placed them in a glass vessel 3 weeks ago to macerate a good long time to achieve an exquisite taste.  i read in my research that for best results you want to let the lemon peels steep for about 5 weeks (or until the peel breaks like a potato chip) for maximum flavor. We will see . This is the first time I am making it. My friend Michelle called me excitedly to tell me she found Meyer lemons at Walmart of all places! She bought me some so I could use the rind and she the juice.  Do you know why the juice is so sweet in a Meyer? It’s because it’s a hybrid of a lemon and an orange!  We will see if the Limoncello turns out as good as the Bianchetti lemons that Capri Island of Italy produce…

So I peeled 8 lemons and threw the peels with no pith into a liter and half of vodka.These photos are after 3 weeks of steeping. Notice the orange gold color of the liquid? I’m sensing a really good product to come in about 2 more weeks when I strain the peels and add the sugar syrup.

Limoncello recipe:

  • 80 proof vodka – I used most of a 1.75 L bottle
  • the  peels of 8 lemons with as much of the white pith removed as possible
  • simple syrup – I ended up using 4 cups in total of syrup
  1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel thin strips of the rind away from the lemons. If there is any white pith left on the underside of the rind, scrape it away with a pairing knife. The pith will give the limoncello a bitter flavor.
  2. Place the  rinds in a large glass vessel.  Add vodka into jar, cover tightly with plastic wrap- I used press and Seal -and store in a cool, dark place.  Steep in the vodka for five weeks (much longer than most recipes called for). The longer they steep, the more intense the lemon flavor will be.  To test doneness of peels, bend one- if it breaks like a potato chip it’s ready!
  3. Strain the steeped vodka into a large pitcher. You may want to strain it a few times to make sure all the small bits of peel are removed.
  4. Start adding the simple syrup until the limoncello is to your desired sweetness. I added two full cups at first, and then I added a quarter cup at a time until it tasted right to me. I ended up using four cups (one quart) of simple syrup. I realized that I now had a ratio. 2 parts lemon steeped 80-proof vodka to 1 part simple syrup.
  5. Using a narrow-necked funnel, pour into clean bottles, cap tightly, and store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.  Keep a bottle in the freezer, and break it out when company comes over- or even when they don’t!! In Italy we always drank it after a long , slow meal as a digestive and as a treat at the end of a wonderful dinner.  It’s usually served in small shot glasses as its about 35-45 proof strong!

In Italy you can find cute little artisan pottery glasses specifically for limoncello!


Published by


Jane Biscarini From Rancho Santa Fe, CA to Rome, Italy to Chattanooga, TN I grew up in the San Diego area, down the street from the now famous Chinos Vegetable Market. We purchased our organic (wasn’t even a term then) veggies there. Their sweet white corn was a summer staple on our table. 20 years later Wolfgang Puck discovered them for his restaurants in Los Angeles and made them famous. Cooking fresh and delicious meals was always a part of my family life. My sisters and I all cooked. Then in my 20’s I discovered Italy- and my future Italian husband (from Milan). We originally moved to Italy to expose the kids (now Marco 22 and Isabella16 years old) to the Italian culture and language. Well, 10 years into it, we lived in Como, Florence ,Rome and my new favorite Puglia (the next Tuscany). At different intervals we have lived a total of a year with my Italian sister and mother in law, learning and integrating their cooking secrets from Lombardia, Liguria, and Piemonte. Our last year was spent in Puglia – Manfredonia to be exact- (not Macedonia although we kept slipping the tongue and saying that for months) a charming seaside town that is a new favorite and a foodie indulgence! I Completed a professional chef course for Italian cuisine in Terni (Umbria region) 2012. I taught Italian cooking classes for 3 years in Rome- to other foreigners, American embassy staff and secret service. For our work in Rome I prepared at least 2 lunches/dinners a week for Italians and this is what they say in their words: I have tasted many times the dishes prepared by Jane and I can say only this thing: “I’didn’t know that an American lady – I’m an Italian family – part time cook - could make so many tipbits of Italian, American, Mexican cooking, and the dishes are so good that I had to change my opinion about the quality of American food, and about the way used to combine various ingredients to obtain excellent results. Jane deserves a lot of congratulations for her work , for her commitment and for her passion!” Unforgettable her pumpkin soup and her New York cheese-cake, but also “amatriciana pasta” and “lasagna”! I never thought that an American pretty lady could teach me so much! Patrizia- Roma Hi, my name is Laura, I am italian and I live in Rome where I had known Jane since 3 years ago , so I have had the opportunity to go to her nice house many times and to appreciate her as hostess and good cook. Jane is able to cook perfectly every type of food, American, Mexican, Oriental but, above all, she is able to cook… Italian food better than an Italian!!!! It’s not easy to pass the exam of the “verdict” of Italians about different kinds of pasta, pizza, melanzane alla parmigiana, gnocchi and so on, but she is a great cook and she knows how to propose them in the best way as well. And in several occasions it happened that we – her Italian friends – asked her to give us the correct recipes! So I think you are lucky to have Jane as your cooking teacher, I am sure she ‘ll become one of your good friends too, and you’ll enjoy her cooking lessons! Laura Garassini Ho avuto modo di gustare la cucina di Jane, debbo dire che oltre ad essere meravigliosamente presentata i gusti non sono buoni, ma FANTASTICI!! Silvano Ferraro Translation: I had the chance to taste Jane’s cooking. I must say that on top of serving beautifully prepared dishes, their tastes are not good but fantastic! Per mia fortuna ho mangiato diverse volte cibo cucinato da Jane! E’ una esperienza sempre interessante per il palato e per la propria cultura gastronomica: Jane riesce, con poco e con grazia, a creare sapori perfetti che conducono in un viaggio sensoriale dalla tradizione italiana all’esperienza esotica… dove la certezza del buono si accompagna alla scoperta di nuovi gusti! Rosalba Translation: In my good fortune I have eaten Jane’s cooking various times. It is always an experience interesting for the palate and for the true cultural gastronomy. Jane can, with little and with grace, create the perfect flavors that conduct a voyage of the senses from the traditional Italian to the exotic experience…where the certainty of goodness is accompanied by the discovery of new flavors! Cara jane, ormai cucini così bene che meriteresti la cittadinanza italiana onoraria!!! Baci Gianluca Ievolella Translation: Now you cook so well that you deserve the honorary Italian citizenship!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s