Limoncello is a tart slightly sweet liquor that’s best ice cold. It’s served all over Italy as an after dinner drink, aperitif or anytime you want! The original recipe is from Sorrento along the Amalfi Coast where we learned the secrets for making true limoncello from a local family, the Coppelli’s. Gino and his sister gave us lessons over a several day process at their Residence Santa Lucia where we stayed for 2 heavenly weeks.
Dave made the Coppeli family limoncello this week for the holidays to give as Christmas gifts. He found 125 ml and 250 ml bottles with cork stoppers, similar to the bottles our friends in Sorrento used.
- In a 1 or 2 gallon glass jar combine
Yellow rind from 14 large or about 20 typical size organic lemons (only use the yellow peel, not the white pith and not the juice either!) use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel the yellow rind
2 liters 96% alcohol (we used Everclear purchased in Ohio since 96% is unavailable in Michigan. Vodka is NOT a substitute!)
- Cover and let sit 4 days to 2 weeks. The lemon rind will take on a leather like texture and the alcohol will turn a beautiful lemon yellow
- Make a simple syrup solution by combining and heating to a boil
5 cups sugar
10 cups water
- Let the syrup cool overnight
- Add the syrup to the lemons and alcohol
- Mix and cover. Let sit 1-4 days
- Ladle into 4 or 8 ounce clear jars by pouring into a funnel lined with 2-4 layers of cheesecloth
In Sorrento our master instructor used rolled cotton rather than cheese cloth to strain the limoncello. This is the best filter. Use a Watman filter paper or something similar.The cheese cloth allows a fine residue to pass through.
Store in a cool place. Place a bottle of limoncello in the freezer several hours before serving ice cold. Freeze your serving glasses too!
This is Gino Coppelli. He and his sister were our limoncello instructors in Sorrento.