Hands up who tried our last blog? If Christmas Pudding flavours aren’t your thing but you fancy making a homemade drinkable Christmas gift (or simply a gorgeous liqueur to share with friends and family!) then look no further. This Zesty and Sweet Limoncello Lemon Liqueur is just the job – absolutely gorgeous! We are posting this in October so that you have plenty of time to make this, and let it mature before impressing your nearests and dearests!
So get your lemons at the ready and impress friends and family with another Potters inspired homemade (with love and Christmas cheer!) liqueur gift. Again, that’s if you can resist it yourself first!
Before we start, here’s a little information in a nutshell about Limoncello.
Limoncello is the Italian word referring to lemon liqueur. Limoncello is famously associated with being produced in Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri, but it is produced throughout the rest of Italy too. It is usually consumed after meals but is so yummy that it’s perfect for any time you choose! It is often seen as the Italian version of coffee that concludes a meal.
It is best served cold and straight – the icier the better! Although some prefer it at room temperature. It can be mixed with tonic water, champagne and other drinks, and is currently very popular with desserts such as gelato (ice-cream to you and me!)
Let's get started!
You’ll need some handy equipment for this recipe. Here’s a checklist. If you haven’t got some of this don’t worry, simply click on the item in question to see our online range, or pop in and see us in store to see for yourself and view more! We used the Joseph Joseph Multi-Peel Serrated Peeler to zest our lemons. We love the serrated edges of the blade which allow for a pith free zest, ensuring lack of bitterness. We also love the ergonomic soft grip handle - so comfortable to use! Oh, and the blade guard that comes with it too - very useful for safe storage.
We have a great range of graters & slicers, peelers & corers, and juicers, zesters and reamers to choose from in store and online if you fancy treating your kitchen drawer!
We also used the Kilner 3 Litre Round Glass Clip Top Jar, and Kilner 1 Litre bottles if you'd like to use the same as us. If you can't find what you're looking for on our website, we are sure you'll find it in store - do pop in to see us if you're local!
You’ll need to sterilise your Kilner jars and bottles (let’s collectively call them ‘containers’) too, in order to remove bacteria and keep contents fresh within the vacuum. We covered this in our Preserving and Christmas Pudding Liqueur blogs but here’s a reminder and some essential tips before starting:
- Make sure that all containers and lids are in good condition before starting.
- Only sterilise your containers a short time before you are ready to fill
- Never pour boiling water straight onto containers – always start with cold to avoid cracking!
- Containers/lids will be hot – always use oven gloves and tongs to protect from burns.
- Don’t use any oven method to sterilise – these methods can cause bacteria to harbour in the containers, from any small particles of food that may be lurking in the oven.
There are two easy methods to sterilise: Dishwasher or Water Bath. If you use the ‘Water Bath’ method, you will need pans big enough to cover the size of your chosen containers.
- Make sure that your dishwasher is clean and empty and that your containers are clean
- Fill the dishwasher with your clean containers
- Set your dishwasher to the highest setting (or steam setting if it has one) and set the dishwasher off
- Leave to cool slightly in the dishwasher and leave the door closed.
- Remove each container as you need it, closing the door each time.
Water Bath Method:
- First, remove the lids (if removable) or rubber seals from your containers and put into a pan. Fill with about 4 inches of water, heat and simmer at around 82 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn off and cover until you are ready to seal the containers.
- Place the containers into a pan and fill with cold water until the containers are covered. Bring to the boil and keep at the maximum temperature for 10 minutes. Turn off and cover until you are ready to use.
Zesty and Sweet Limoncello Lemon Liqueur
- 12 unwaxed lemons
- 750g caster sugar
- 1 litre vodka
- 700ml boiling water
- Remove the zest from all the lemons making sure that you do not include any white pith. We used the Joseph Joseph Multi Peel Zester as it solves this problem perfectly!
- Place the zest into a large sterilised Kilner jar and pour over the vodka. Seal. Leave for a week, shaking the jar carefully on a daily basis.
- Once your mixture has been left for a week, put the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add this mixture to the vodka/zests, seal and shake to mix. Leave for another week, shaking the jar carefully at regular intervals.
- Once the week is up, place a sieve over a jug. Place a KitchenCraft Straining Bag over the sieve.
- Carefully pour the mixture into the sieve/straining bag. The liquid will strain through the bag and sieve, leaving the solid contents in the bag.
- Place the sieve/straining bag (now containing zests) into a bowl and put to one side for now.
- In your chosen sterilised gift bottle, place a funnel. Pour in the liquid (we can now officially call it your ‘Limoncello’!). Before sealing, add a strand or two of the zests for decoration if they’ll fit in.
- Store in a cool, dark place (ideally cold like the fridge or freezer!) until you are ready to drink it, or until you are ready to decorate the bottle and give as a gift. You could get some stylish gift tags (white look great against the lemon colour) and write a message on the back to the recipient, with a brief explanation of the contents… and of course, ‘homemade with love’. Best served cold (the colder the better!). Note that you may need to agitate the bottle before serving, as sometimes lemon sediment can sink to the bottom.
So how did you find making your very own Limoncello? Easier than you thought? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! An easy, zesty and sweet homemade treat to serve up to friends and family, or give as gift.
Keep a lookout for more of our Blogs to get you ready and in the mood for Christmas – enjoy!
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