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We used 3 very large organic lemons for this recipe. You can also use 8 regular sized lemons.
If you do not use organic lemons, it is advisable to wash them well beforehand. There is usually a thin wax coating on non-organic citrus fruit.
Clean a preserving jar well and fill it with 1 litre of 95% or 96% alcohol. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemons.
Tip: Try to include as little white (pith) as possible. A lot of white pith can result in a bitter aftertaste!
Add all the lemon peel to the preserving jar with the alcohol, and put the lid on. Carefully shake well and place the preserving jar in a dark room.
Leave the lemon peel in the preserving jar for at least 3 weeks. Then proceed to the next step.
After 3 weeks you can remove the lemon peel from the preserving jar. Note: do not remove the peels with your hands. Use a colander and strain out the peel over a large bowl.
Now fill a pan with 1.4 litres of water and heat it. Add 800 grams of granulated sugar while stirring, and keep stirring until it has dissolved. You don't have to let the sugar water get very hot, or even let it boil.
Once all the sugar has dissolved, let the sugar water cool to about room temperature. Prepare the second (clean) preserving jar.
Add 0.5 litre of the zest-infused alcohol to each preserving jar. Pour 700 millilitres of cooled sugar syrup into each jar. Stir well, repeat this step for the second preserving jar.
Put the lids on the preserving jars and store them for another 3 to 4 weeks in a cool, dark place. Shake well once in a while.
You can store and use the finished limoncello directly from the preserving jars, but the easiest way is to pour it into long, narrow bottles.
Put the bottles of limoncello in the freezer and serve in a nice little glass, cheers!
What are the proportions for homemade limoncello?
The proportions are 500 millilitres of 95% alcohol to 700 millilitres of water and 400 grams of granulated sugar.
Where can I buy bottles of 95 or 96% alcohol?
These are not for sale in the supermarket, but maybe sourced online or found in specialist shops. Availability varies from country to country. Make sure that you do not buy denatured alcohol, and only buy alcohol that is suitable for consumption.
What can I use as an alternative to 95% alcohol?
In addition to this strong alcohol, you can also use good quality vodka (with the highest possible alcohol percentage).
What percent alcohol will the limoncello end up being?
Because it is diluted with sugar water, you eventually end up with a drink of between 35% and 40% alcohol. This is strong enough not to freeze in the freezer!