I’ve been dying to put this post up for ages now, but since I was dishing these out as Christmas pressies last year, I couldn’t really spoil the surprise!
This recipe is ridiculously simple, and these little bottles of homemade Limoncello make for great presents for almost any occasion. It’s also nice for your friends to receive a gift that you have lovingly taken the time to create for them, it makes it that little bit more special!
Here’s what you will need to make 6 x 500ml bottles of Limoncello. Prep time is only about 20 minutes in total, although the Limoncello can take between 10 – 40 days to mature.
- 3 x 700ml of Vodka – the higher the proof of Vodka you can get, the better, 80 – 100% is recommended. I got mine from Dunell’s in Jersey
- 15 x Lemons – organic are best, as they won’t have pesticides on the peel
- 750ml of cold water
- 5 Cups of Caster Sugar
- 6 x 500ml flip top bottles – I got mine from Ebay, plenty of options on there!
- Ribbon of your choosing for decoration – or whatever you may fancy
First up, wash your lemons to ensure the peel is nice and clean. The thicker the skin of the lemons, the easier it will be for you to zest them. Try make sure your lemons are all yellow without any green areas, as the yellow colouring is what the vodka will take on.
Take your peeler and carefully peel the zest from each lemon and keep safely in a bowl to one side. Try to avoid taking too much of the white from the lemon, a little is ok, but not too much.
Now, you’re almost half way there – told you it was ridiculously simple, didn’t I?!
Next up, you’ll want to pour your vodka over the lemon zest. You can either do this in a large bowl or in a few separate jars with a seal on if you wish, whichever works best for you.
Give the mixture a good stir, then cover it up and ensure its tightly sealed. I wrapped cling film over the top of mine, as you will need to get back into it now and again.
Now, if you’re impatient and want to get stuck into your tasty treat pretty soon, then this recipe might not be for you! Unless you’re super organised and planned well in advance.
You now need to leave the mixture for as long as you can really. Anywhere between 10 -40 days is fine; however, I left mine for 30 days. Store it in a cool, dry place and give it a stir every day. The longer you leave it, the more time the Vodka will have to take on the flavour and the lovely yellow colour from the lemons.
After many weeks of sitting patiently, you are about to be rewarded! Be careful with this stage, as it can get a little messy … yes, I am speaking from experience!
You need to strain your Limoncello in order to separate the lemon zest. Cheesecloth or coffee filters work great for this. Once you have separated the Limoncello, pour into your flip top bottles through a funnel. Be careful to only fill them halfway, as we still have to add the final part!
I am aware that this looks like the epitome of bad health in a pan, but I never did say this was a healthy recipe!
Pour your caster sugar into a pan, along with the water. Bring it to a gentle boil and let it boil for 5-7 minutes. This will make a very simple syrup, once done, remove it from the heat and let it cool.
Once cooled, take your funnel again and top up your Limoncello with the syrup mixture. Add a couple of slices of the lemon zest to each bottle for decoration and seal them up tightly. Give them a shake to make sure it combines together well. And there you have it, your Limoncello is ready to go!
To finish off your Limoncello as gifts for friends or family, you can decorate the bottles as you wish. I chose to decorate mine with some lemon coloured Christmas ribbons.
Take a strip of each ribbon and tie them around the top of the bottle, you can always twirl these with scissors if you like (mind the fingers!), but I left mine straight as I wanted the wording to stay visible. You could also maybe write a personal message on each bottle with special coloured pens, or even print your own labels to add an extra special touch!
That really is how simple it is to make your own homemade Limoncello! It may be a long process, but lets be honest, the actually ‘man power’ involved is fairly minimal, for such a great and personalised result!
You can keep your Limoncello in the fridge for up to a month or so after making it, but I strongly recommend keeping it in the freezer, it won’t freeze completely due to the Vodka content. This way, it will last around a year and it tastes so much better when it’s ice cold!
I sampled a few aperitifs of my homemade tipple with my friends over Christmas, and have to say it was pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself! More importantly though, the girls all loved their thoughtful homemade gifts, which makes it all worthwhile!
Let me know what you think if you try it out for yourself? Happy brewing!
P.s. Drink responsibly please!