Homemade Limoncello Recipe | Give the Gift of Booze

limoncello recipe
Image via Flickr

If you’re not much of a cook, potlucks and other bring-your-own-dish feasts can be extremely nerve-racking. Not only are you worried that yours will be the one side that no one touched, you also have to figure out when you’re even going to have time to whip something up. Instead, this holiday season, get crafty with your offerings — and try making your own cocktail fixings.

During the 2013 holiday season, CreativeLive hosted a mesmerizing cocktail class with Genevieve Brazelton, purveyor of small-batch, hand-crafted cocktail bitters, wherein she taught us how to make our own ingredients — including this very simple limoncello recipe, which is sure to delight your friends and family (of a certain age, of course).

Limoncello, which is “basically just lemon-infused vodka,” Genevieve explains, is a sweet, refreshing drink that is great on its own, and also makes great addition to soda or other beverages, or can be added to champagne for an extra special sparkling treat.

‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts

To make it, Genevieve says you’ll need:
–2 large lemons
–1 cup of sugar which, Genevieve, says “seems like a lot, but trust me.”
–2 cups of vodka. The quality of the vodka, explains Genevieve, “really doesn’t matter.” Just use what you can — or even better, what you’ve got lying around!
–A tight-sealing container

To make the limoncello, peel the lemons very closely. You want as little pith as possible, says Genevieve; too much of the white might make your infusion too bitter. Then, put the peels, sugar, and vodka in a saucepan and heat them, keeping them at a low heat (under 120 degrees).

“All you want to do is dissolve the sugar,” says Genevieve. You can also simply mix the ingredients in a jar and shake them, though that can take a very long time to settle and dissolve.

While this is happening, you can juice the lemons and set the juice aside. Once the sugar has dissolved, says Genevieve, remove the peels and vodka from the heat and let your concoction cool. Once it’s cooled, add the lemon juice. If it’s not completely cooled, that’s ok, but it is better to give it some time, or else you might “lose some of the brightness” of the juice, Genevieve advises.

Once you’ve added the juice, pour the limoncello into a jar or another tightly-sealing container and let it sit somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight. Ideally, you’d let the mixture age for two weeks, but truthfully, a few days is just fine, too, says Genevieve. Once you’re ready to serve it, strain the mixture through cheesecloth.

Then, you’re ready to bring it around to parties, or give it as gifts.  And, if you’re a little more handy in the kitchen, you can also use this limoncello recipe to add a special zest to baked goods, including cookies and cakes.


‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts


Hanna Brooks Olsen FOLLOW >

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.