40 Days and 40 Nights: Homemade Limoncello!

An Italian grandmother's secrets...revealed!

I've long loved a sipper of freezer-cold limoncello; I first enjoyed this sharp, lemony-sweet liqueur after meals at the San Francisco home of my high school friend Mariah and her Italian husband Peldi.

They'd bring back his grandma's homemade limoncello on the plane and stockpile it in the freezer, much to the delight of their friends.

Mariah and Peldi recently moved to Italia, so in their memory I made a gallon of limoncello and had a few of our mutual friends over to drown our sorrows on the back porch!

I had consulted with Peldi on his grandma's recipe, copied below, and I incorporated a few elements from a Winter 2007 Sunset Magazine piece on making rosemary limoncello.

Note di Ricetta
Two main changes I made to the recipe below:

--I used 100 proof Smirnoff vodka (easier to find than Everclear in this ritzy town)
--I let it sit on the lemon rinds in a dark closet for 40 days, not one week. Perfetto!

2 minor changes:

--Post-sugaring, I left it for another 40 days, just for the symmetry. The result? Success!
--Also: I didn't have green lemons, but the lemon leaves are crucial!!

OK! Here's how to whip up housemade Limoncello liqueur in the comfort of your very own home, per my friend Peldi's Italian grandmother Enrica:

Limoncello di Enrica

Difficolta': hard
preparazione: 39 days

Strumenti Necessari: 2 sealable glass containers (3 liters each)
Per quante persone: 3-4 bottles

1.5 Kg.yellow lemons
3. green lemons
4-5. lemon leaves
2l. pure grain alcohol
1l. water
1Kg. sugar

Preparazione e Cottura:
Peel the green and yellow lemons (just the rind, very very thin, none of the white stuff).
Put all the rinds in the alcohol in one of the glass jars.
Leave it for 1 week.
Put 1l of water on high flame. When it's about to boil, add 1Kg of sugar. Let the sugar melt without making it boil. Once it's all dissolved, let everything cool.
Move the rinds from the alcohol to the sugary water (in the other glass jar) and let it rest for one day.
Strain the water (throw away the rinds) and add the water to the alcohol.
It's ok to taste after a few days, but really it's best after one month.
Put it in the freezer and enjoy cold.

Conversioni da cups a grammi e vice-versa: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cookingconversions.asp
  • 1 cup water = 237ml
  • 1 lb = 453 g

 Bottoms up!!

photos: TB


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