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Twenty days to limoncello

Published by nahom worku — 8 months ago

Blog: cheers to new horizons
Tags: Erasmus recipes

Hello lovely readers, the time has comed for me to give you one simple suggestion for the spring time that is slowly approaching. I am talking about a beverage quite known in most of the Italian regions. Loved and cherished by Italians from both the south and the northern part. Timeless and consumable in all seasons of the year (though some might argue that summer is the ideal time of the year for this beverage). Accompanied by a deep lemony aroma, this creamy beverage is the one thing you will ask for at the end of every meal. In this way you will be left with the refreshing breath in your mouth, coming straight from the lemons. I guess it is about time I reveal todays mistery (maybe you have already guessed it right): I am talking about the one and only limoncello.


Origin of the limoncello

This magical liquor has undefined origins dating back some hundreds years from now. Since for the making of this liquor it is required to dispose of fresh and excellent quality lemons my guess is that the practice of preparing this liquor is rooted in the southern part of Italy. This means that regions like Calabria, Abbruzzo, Basilicata, Sicilia, Puglia and Sardegna are all possible candidates, all of them produce good quality lemons ideal to make the limoncello. One common thing that all of this Italian regions have is a relatively warmer temperatures (on average) and a prolonged sunlight. Some of them benefit from the fertile soils that can be found in the vicinity of the volcano (in this case Etna, Vesuvio and Stromboli volcano).


Since I had a chance to spend few days in a beautiful town in the region of Sicily visiting a friend of mine, it just happened to be that we went to collect some lemons from one of the lemon trees that were so happy to give us their fruits. So you can just immagine how good this lemons are: as bio as can any lemon be without any additives or chemical fertilizers. It was just a gift of nature, so to speak. But if you won't have the chance to get fresh lemons directly from a lemon tree you can use what you have and hope for the best.

Preparation of limoncello

If you happen to have some good quality lemons at your disposal and some spare time to dedicate to learn a new skill and why not make a liquor to be shared with family and friends. So if you are with me on this one I am ready to share a recipe which originally belongs to the mother of a friend of mine. Let's get on with the recipe.


  • 7 medium sized lemons;
  • 1/2 litre pure alcohol.


I know that by now you are thinking... "Hmmm just two ingredients to make this liquor? "... Yes, you have asked the right question. These are just two of the ingredients we are going to use in the first phase of the preparation of the limoncello. I can assure you that things will get tricky further on with the process of obtaining this magical liquor.

Procedure number 1

First of all you need to thoroughly wash all of the lemons and then dry them with a kitchen cloth. Then proceed with peeling the lemons making sure that you peel only the first layer or zest of the lemon. Be careful during this process not to include lemon peels containg the piths (white part of the lemon peel) because the piths will make your limoncello bitter and therefore unpleasent. I have tried to peel the lemons with a small knife and a vegetable peeler and in the end I must say the vegetable peeler was much easier and faster to work with, but it is up to you to find out what feels comfortable.

Procedure number 2

For the following procedure you must have a tight seal jar. It is crucial that the jar is air tight because the mixture of lemon zest and alcohol will be sealed in this jar for a long time (for these recipe you must let this mixture for twenty days away from direct sunlight). If you use any other kind of jar that is not air tight the alcohol will gradually evaporate and in the end the resulting mixture for the limoncello will not have the right taste and it might leave you with a failed attempt.


Once you got your air tight jar add all the lemon zest you peeled from your lemons into the jar. I also suggest you enjoy this process because it helps you to take in all of the amazing aroma of the lemons. I tried to smell inside the jar and wow, just wow. For a lemon lover this is the ideal way to spend an afternoon.


Before you proceed to the next step check if all your lemon zest does not contain any of the white part of the lemon. Just double check, you never know.


Now you are ready for the big moment: pouring the alcohol into the jar. Again be careful when you do this because the alcohol is very strong and concentrated so you don't want to spill it (it is kinda expensive as well so be carefull with it).


Now quickly close the jar thightly and give a good shake. If you are brave enough I dare you to turn your jar upside down, just like in this picture. It can also count as a 'risky' way to check if you jar is actually air tight.


Let it rest for twenty days in a moisture free spot where there is no direct contact with neither heat nor sunlight. To keep things going inside the jar it is necessary that you shake the jar every couple of days (the tradition calls to do the shaking on each even numbered date). Starting in the first few days you should notice the change in terms of the color of the limoncello.

With the remaining seven lemons you can attempt on preparing a lemonade. What you need to do is squeeze the juice of the all the lemons, add some sugar to taste and add it all into a bottle of usually 1 to 1. 5 litres of water. Give it a good mix and store it in the fridge for a couple of hours. You should finally obtain a very lemony sweet and refreshing drink which you can enjoy at any given time of the day. This is a great way to use those leftover lemons from the preparation of the limoncello.

Final result after twenty days

After patiently waiting for twenty days mixing it up every now and then, we finally got to the due day and we opened up the jar and proceeded to the preparation of this incredibly good liquor. What you need to finish-off the preparation of the limoncello is:

  • 1/2 litre lemon infused alcohol;
  • 900gr white sugar;
  • 1 litre milk;
  • 1 sachet vanilla powder.



First of all filter the alcohol from the lemon zest making sure that you use a very fine mesh strainer so that you obtain a pure alcohol without any small bits of lemon zest. Then proceed by preparing a nice big bowl and add the lemon infused alcohol, the sugar, the milk at room temperature and the vanilla powder. Mix these ingredients with a spoon until all of the sugar is completly dissolved (this part may take a long time so be patient).


Once all of the sugar is dissolved you are good to go because at this point you only need to transfer the liquor into bottles (for your information the bottle previously containing alcohol is perfect to store the limoncello, but first remember to give it a good wash). With the ingredients listed above in this recipe and following the procedures which I explained you should come up with almost two litres of limoncello.


Once you got your homemade bottled limoncello let it rest in the freezer for a good while. Only after a day you will start to notice the change in the consistency of this liquor: it gets to be dense, almost like a liquid honey. Actually the recipe calls for a time period of twenty days in the freezer and then serve it to loved ones. Personally it was hard to wait for another twenty days for the limoncello to get to the right consistency so we tried it on the same day. The result was very satisfying and worth the waiting.

From what I have heard and also tried, it is an absolute delight to have a small glass of limoncello after lunch.


This whole recipe sharing and actually preparing this limoncello has been done by the initiation of a good friend of mine who was kind enough to show me what the entire proccess looks like.

Thanks for reading and hit me in the comments if you have ever made or tried limoncello in your life!

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