Best limoncello recipe: limoncello with Everclear for real Italian flavor
Making the best limoncello isn’t that hard. Just stick with limoncello with Everclear to come up with a mixture that is not too sweet and has the taste of Italy. Our limonchello recipe uses just lemons, Everclear, water and sugar, and we promise it will be a lot better than any store-bought limoncello.
Who hasn’t traveled in Italy, sipped a refreshing glass of limoncello and just sighed in delight over the lemony goodness? We have, and I wanted to recreate that goodness with a limoncello recipe with Everclear. We wanted it refreshing, full of lemon zing, and not too sweet.
Perhaps you haven’t actually had limoncello in Italy, but in an Italian restaurant someplace else. No matter. Just one sip of the best limoncello after dinner will send your mind dreaming of long Italian dinners on a bucket-list trip to the Italian peninsula.
Meanwhile, it’s time to make your own limoncello with Everclear! And it’s not difficult at all –except all that zesting just takes a bit of time and patience.
I knew what I wanted in a limoncello — not too sweet, very Italian, very lemony – so I decided to do a little research myself. And of course, I had all kinds of friends offering me their ideas and recipes. So I took a bunch of suggestions, ideas, other concepts, and created my own limoncello recipe with Everclear. The Everclear is an important part because it is a neutral grain-distilled alcohol with a very high proof (120 to 190 — keep in mind anything over 150 proof is illegal in many states). You only drink it alone if you want to sizzle your insides, die early, and “feel a wildfire inside,” as the sales clerk told us. Everclear’s mission in life is to be used to create lower-proof alcohols, yes, like limoncello!
Forget any well-meaning friends or online recipes that use vodka. Just won’t do the job and give you a real Italian limoncello. Get ready for dreams of Italian holidays with this limoncello recipe!
How to make the best limoncello with Everclear
Makes two 750-ml bottles
You will wish you had made more so consider doubling or tripling.
What you’ll need
- 15-20 lemons – Meyer lemons are great, organic or home-grown even better
- Everclear, 750 ml
- Sugar, 2.5 cups
- Water, 3 1/6 cups
- Microplane zester – I ADORE my Microplane zester and swear that if the house is on fire that’s what I’ll grab. Ok, just kidding. But if you don’t have one of these babies, get one for this since zesting this much lemon is a knuckle-buster.
- A couple of decorative bottles – we saved a couple of empty wine and liquor bottles.
- One or two large glass containers for mulling, wide-mouthed so you can stir as needed, great if they seal well, but you can always add plastic wrap under a lid, as I did.
- Zest 15-20 lemons, depending on their size. Try to avoid cutting into the white pithy stuff and stick with just the skin for zest. That’s why I love my Microplane zester. It makes this easier.
- Dump the zest into your mulling container, and add a 750 ml bottle of Everclear.
- Cover tightly, put in a cool, dark place for 10-14 days – I just had it on a shelf in a darker corner of the living room away from any windows.
- Check occasionally and give it a shake or stir.
- Simmer 3 1/6 cups of water with 2 ½ cups of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it cool.
- Add some or all* of the sugar syrup to the mulling zest and Everclear mixture. *NOTE: I only used about 4 cups of this mixture to my batch of limoncello with Everclear with one 750ml bottle. It came out perfectly. However, if you think you may like a bit more sweetness, add it all. I would not recommend less.
- Cover tightly, return to its cool, dark place for another 6-7 days.
- Check a couple of times to give the mixture a swirl and make sure it’s looking OK.
- Retrieve the mixture from its limoncello cave.
- Give it a big stir, then strain it using cheesecloth in a colander or strainer, depending on the quantity. (I used double-layered cheesecloth.)
- Pour the liquid into your pretty limoncello bottles.
- Stick in the freezer for storage.
Congratulations, you are now the limoncello master!!!
You will want to wait until it is very very cold to drink. No worries: With all that alcohol, it won’t freeze. Serve in small schnapps or liquor glasses. Get ready to swoon and start your bucket-list dreaming of rolling Italian hills, long Amalfi sunsets, and Tuscany wine tours.
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