Making Limoncello – Part 1

Ahhh Limoncello. Is there no greater drink to have after a nice plate of pasta and you’ve already done your share of damage to a bottle of Barolo? The problem with Limoncello though is that while it is intoxicatingly sweet and unbelievably delicious, it is also one of the more dastardly drinks out there.

You have that first sip, and the sweet ambrosia caresses your senses in a way that you haven’t felt since your wedding night. The second sip confirms that this drink in your glass is the lover you were always meant to be with. By the time you are done with your first small glass (it’s usually served an ounce or two at a time), you can’t imagine yourself ever consuming another beverage again. And just as anyone in their right mind would do when presented with such a life-changing experience, you order a second round.

This this is when the trouble begins. Hiding under that sticky-sweet facade is a potentially evil mistress who will take you for everything you’re worth. She’ll expose you and all your secrets to the world, naked, for everyone to see and mock. Don’t believe me? Just watch this:

That’s right, Mr. DeVito decided to Limoncello it up with George Clooney the night before, and by the time he made it on to the set of The View, his new favorite elixir was still wreaking havoc within his gut – and addling his mind beyond comprehension. It’s edited out in the clip above, but I do believe he refers to the man who was President at the time as “Numbnuts.”

All this is not for me to try and sway you from enjoying Limoncello. It’s wonderful stuff to be sure. And in fact I make my own! I just want you to be careful with it. She’s a fickle woman that Limoncello…

So this post is phase 1 of making the Limoncello. The process takes about 2 months when all is said and done, though the longer you let it age, the better. The photo essay below will take you through it step by step:


For phase 1, you’ll need the following items:
1. 15 lemons
2. A zester
3. A large bowl or plastic container – about 1 gallon capacity
4. A 1.75L handle of vodka (you can use Everclear too, but that’s harder to come by in some areas)

It’s now time to zest the lemons. All of them. Be sure not to get any of the white pith in there! You only want the zest – nothing else. Juice the lemons when you’re done, and save the juice for something else, but you don’t need it for Limoncello.

In goes the vodka. All of it. Just pour it all over the zest. Give it a stir, and slap the lid on the container or bowl.

That’s it for now folks! Keep the Limoncello in a cool, dark place, and give it a stir (shake, swirl) once a day, every day for the next month. I’ll write more then on what to do next!

If I had an endorsement offered to me every time I was drunk in public, I’d be rich too…

Of course, I’m always hoping I’ll be as lucky as Danny DeVito, and my Limoncello-fueled antics will result in me getting my own endorsement deal with a Limoncello distributor…

Chef Matt

P.S. The first month has passed. The journey on how to make Limoncello continues here…

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One Response to “Making Limoncello – Part 1”

  1. Swan says:

    I love that the limoncello itself is DELISH, but you also use it for other creations. Your last batch begat limoncello gelatto limoncello zabaglione. What will you use it for this batch?!?! I can’t wait to see!