May 31

Sicilian Limoncello Recipes

by in Recipes


I never understood that cheesy saying "If life gives you lemons make lemonade".  What is so bad about lemons in the first place?!  If life gives me lemons Im a happy camper.  We have a lemon tree that we planted in our backyard here in Sicily and the thing has been struggling since day 1.  We even have occasional gardeners that have done their magic with it, but years went by without any growth let alone a single lemon.  Last year the tree had a breakthrough and finally produced!  We got 3.5 total lemons and they made me so happy that I didn't even pick them at the proper time.  What was really funny is that all 3.5 lemons all showed up on the same branch, so that particular branch limb was awkward and weighted down.  Im sure that there is some scientific reason that the tree did that.. unless it was just trying to be funny. We are surrounded by groves of lemon trees in our area ( which made our lame tree all the more interesting).  In Sicily there is a very good chance that every meal has a lemon involved somewhere. I have gotten into the habit myself, squeezing lemon wedges over grilled meats and sausages, pastas, and of course all types of seafood. The digestivo, Limoncello, is offered at every restaurant in Sicily.  Usually as a free final goodbye to guests.  I don't think that I really drank limoncello before moving here, but if I did it must have been non memorable.   Most that you buy in the stores is very syrupy and coats your throat like Robetussin cough syrup.  The real deal here is not as syrupy, but the trade off is more alcohol.  The first try will melt your hair a bit, but they only get smoother after that.  Beware this drink has a bit of truth serum power to it.  I have noticed on many occasions that once people drink a few of this they really start opening up. The best part about making Limoncello is that if life does give you lemons you can make both Limoncello and Lemonade. This is because one uses the skins and the other uses the juice!!  So there you go.. maybe that quote isn't so bad... it just needs an update. Below I have 3 recipes.  One is a "Creamy" Limoncello.  This is for a smoother finish and kind of tastes like a key lime pie.  The second recipe is for the "Original Siciliano" Limoncello, which is the mainstay and my personal preference.  The 3rd recipe is for lemonade since you are going to have lemons ready for juicing after taking their skins off.  Nothing goes to waste! Time ALERT!  The limoncello steeps for at least 2 weeks.
Ingredients for Creamy Limoncello

Ingredients for Creamy Limoncello

Creamy Limoncello on the left, Original Limoncello in the middle, and the big jug on the right.

Creamy Limoncello on the left, Original Limoncello in the middle, and the big jug on the right.

  Creamy Limoncello
  • 750 mL grain alcohol (everclear)
  • 10 lemons (preferably organic, so that the skins don't have chemicals)
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • vanilla powder pack (optional)
Cut the zest off the lemons.  Be careful while doing this to avoid including the white pith with your lemon skins.  You will end up with a pile of skins and it smells great.   In a large 3L+ Jug combine the alcohol with the lemon skins.  Top the jug and then put in a cool dark place for 14 days.  Give the jug a shake every once in a while to ensure proper mixing.  You will end up with a beautiful yellow concoction.  When ready filter out the skins.  When I do this it looks like a mad scientist experiment with funnels and pouring liquids every which way. Over low heat combine the milk, water, sugar, and vanilla until sugar is dissolved.  Let cool to room temp. Mix the milk mixture with the alcohol and chill in the fridge or freezer. Original Siciliano Limoncello
  • 12 Lemons (organic)
  • 1 Liter grain alcohol (everclear)
  • 3.5 cups of sugar
  • 1 Liter of water
Cut the zest off the lemons.  Be careful while doing this to avoid including the white pith with your lemon skins.  You will end up with a pile of skins and it smells great.   In a large 3L+ Jug combine only a 1/2 Liter of the alcohol with the lemon skins.  Top the jug and then put in a cool dark place for 14 days.  Give the jug a shake every once in a while to ensure proper mixing.  You will end up with a beautiful yellow concoction.   Warm the water and sugar over low heat until dissolved.  Cool to room temp.  Combine this with the remainder of the alcohol (1/2 Liter).  Add this mixture with the original lemon mixture in the jug.  Then let this final mixture sit in a cool dark place for another 14 days. After the final 14 days filter the Limoncello of the skins and chill for serving.   Lemonade
  • 12 Lemons
  • 1.25 cups of sugar
  • 5-6 cups of water (depending on your sour preference)
  • pinch of salt
 Juice the lemons into a bowl or saucepan.  Mix sugar and salt in with lemon juice until sugar is dissolved.  Stir mixture together with water in a pitcher.  Chill and serve!    



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One Response to “Sicilian Limoncello Recipes”

  1. From Danny:

    I just now saw your many Sicilian recipes. I am now officially hungry!!! hahaha

    Good job. I’m gonna have to give them a try one of these days.

    Posted on June 7, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

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