Lemons on a tree
When Life gives you lemons, make limoncello!

So, you know how everyone has that one alcoholic drink  that they “just can’t”? Limoncello was mine for probably about 10 years. I won’t go into the details, but basically, I had too much, it did not feel good, I didn’t have it again for 10 years. That is, until I decided to give it a little taste at my parents-in-law’s house.

It was the middle of August and incredibly hot.  Just had lunch and were waiting for our caffe’ to be ready. My father-in-law suggested we have something to cool down and digest after lunch. My mother-in-law pulled two icy bottles from the fridge and set them on the table. One was the color of a jewel –  yellow, bright and clear – Limoncello (my kryptonite). The other was a creamy light yellow – Crema di Limoncello, which I’d never had before. Both looked refreshing. I decided I’d give them both a little try and see if my stomach did any flip-flops!

They were so good and it turns out, both were made by my husband’s Aunt Pina. I asked immediately for the recipes and those are what I’ll share with you now. I am partial to the Crema as it feels a bit luxurious, but the traditional Limoncello is superb. As always, the quality of the ingredients, particularly the lemons, is what will make this recipe the perfect Summer aperitif or dessert liquor.  

Serve in a chilled shot glass fresh from the freezer. You’ll feel like you’re in Sorrento!

Finished Limoncello Classico
Finished Limoncello Classico

Limoncello Classico – Makes about 3 liters.

8 fist sized organic lemons with as few blemishes as possible

1 liter 120-150 proof alcohol (everclear)

1.5 liters filtered water

2  lb sugar

  • Peel lemons leaving as little of the pith as possible
  • Add lemon peel to a glass container with the alcohol and leave in a dark cupboard for 8-10 days.
  • The day before you intend to mix your limoncello, dissolve the sugar in the water on the stove over medium flame. Allow the water to almost reach a boil, then turn off and let cool completely (overnight is preferable).
  • The next day, filter the lemon peel and add infusion to water/sugar concoction. Let sit overnight.
  • The next day filter through cheesecloth into the containers you intend to use for storage.
  • Put in the fridge for short term, freezer for longer term storage.
  • Limoncello is best served cold.
Finished Crema di Limoncello

Crema di Limoncello (Limoncello Cream) – makes just under 4 liters

5 fist sized organic lemons with as few blemishes as possible

1 liter 120-150 proof alcohol (everclear)

2 liters shelf stable 2% or skim milk (I use Parmalat, which I found at Vons/Albertsons/Pavillions)

3  lb + 1/3 c. sugar

1/3 c. brandy

  • Peel lemons leaving as little of the pith as possible
  • Add lemon peel to a glass container with the alcohol and leave in a dark cupboard for 8-10 days.
  • The day before you intend to mix your limoncello, dissolve the sugar in the milk on the stove over medium flame. Allow the milk to almost reach a boil, then turn off and let cool completely (overnight is preferable). Once it’s cool enough, put in the fridge overnight. 
  • The next day, filter the lemon peel and add infusion to milk/sugar concoction. Let sit overnight in the fridge.
  • The next day filter through cheesecloth into the containers you intend to use for storage.
  • Put in the fridge for short term, freezer for longer term storage.
  • Crema di Limoncello is best served cold.

Salute!