Lemon Zesting

I love limoncello and spring means icy sips of just finished, golden yellow nectar! I like to make my own, with this recipe, or with Chef Judy Witts Francini’s recipe, which is a bit faster. 


I like to use organic Meyer lemons for this recipe – no worries about pesticides on the zest, and terrific flavor!

One Bottle (750 ml) Everclear (95% alcohol 190 Proof)
One Bottle (750 ml) vodka (40% alcohol 80 Proof, good but not necessarily premium)
15 large thick skinned bright yellow lemons (without scars or flaws in the skin if possible.)
750 ml (about 3 cups) water (filter tap or ditilled, not mineral water)
4 cups pure cane white sugar (this will give thin syrup consistency; if you prefer a thicker syrup, experiment with increasing your sugar by 1-2 cups)
Step one:
Day One:

Wash and dry the lemons, making sure that lemons are cleaned to remove any pesticides, dirt, or fertilizer chemicals, Using a potato peeler, peel just the yellow part of the skin off the lemons. Make sure you have NO white pith on the back of the peels, because this causes bitterness in the finished liqueur. Larger pieces of peel are easier to deal with later in the process.

Put the lemon peels into a gallon jar; pour the bottle of Everclear and the bottle of vodka over and stir gently. Cover tightly and put away in a cool (not cold) dark place for alcohol to extract oils from peels, creating an infusion. 

Day 10, 20, 30:

Gently stir lemon peels to refresh exposure to alcohol. Return to cool, dark place. 

Day 40:

Gently stir lemon peels. Scoop out one of the larger peels and test flexibility. If peel breaks like a potato chip, you will move on to the next step. If peel is still flexible enough to bend without breaking, return to cool dark place and try again in another week. 

Step two:

Day 40:

Dissolve sugar in water and bring to boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Set syrup aside to cool. It must be room temp before adding to infusion. Using a very fine sieve, strain out the lemon peels from the alcohol mixture. Return filtered infusion to jar and add COOLED syrup. Pour into small bottles with tightly fitting lids. Return the bottles to cool dry place for 40 days to begin mellowing process that combines alcohol infusion with syrup to create limoncello.

Day 80:

Place a bottle of limoncello into the freezer for about 8 hours, to become icy cold. Enjoy!

I like to store my limoncello in the freezer, so it’s ready anytime. We also make grapefruit and blood orange ‘cellos’ using this recipe.




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