Happy Hour Nightcap Edition: Homemade Limoncello

I know that there’s a lot of parents out there that say, “Happy Hour!?!? Are you crazy??? I’ve got no time for happy hour – dinner has to get on the table, and the kids need to do their homework, et cetera…”  Well, hopefully, everyone gets to that quiet time of the evening where they get to relax* – and sometimes it’s nice to wind down with a drink.

Now, every now and then I like to have an after dinner drink. A few of my favorites would be:

Scotch (appropriately referred to as whisky – no “e”)
Port (especially if there’s some chocolate around)
Good anejo tequila

Now the first three of those wouldn’t make for much of a post as the “recipe” would be: open bottle, pour into glass, drink. But one of the real joys this spring and summer was an “experiment” performed by The Beloved and one of our friends in making homemade limoncello (we’re scientists even at home, you know…).

Here’s the recipe – its pretty easy, and the final product is fantastic!

Limoncello Recipe

12 Meyer lemons (or big ol' Costco lemons like we used), peel only, no pith!
2 liters vodka (we used Skyy from Costco)
~4 cups sugar (you can use more – up to 6 cups — but we didn't want to make it cloyingly sweet)
3 cups water

Put the lemon peels and vodka in a glass container and let
stand in dark, cool place for 4 weeks (we used the back of our pantry).

Strain the mixture into a decanter.  Mix the sugar and water in a
medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until
the sugar has completely dissolved.  Let cool before adding to vodka

Place in freezer for at least a day.  The limoncello is good for 6 months.  Start this weekend and you can have yours before Labor Day.

You can add an herbal touch to your limoncello by adding 3 sprigs lavender to the "steeping" mixture.  We made both and each is very good.  The plain limoncello is crisp and clean, and the lavender one has an interesting "woody" flavor to it.

* even those of us sans kids

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24 thoughts on “Happy Hour Nightcap Edition: Homemade Limoncello

  1. Limoncello is delicious!I made my own back in April and have almost finished the batch.Next time I make some I'm going to add rosemary to the steeping.How does your Limoncello compare to any store bought brands you've had?Mine is significantly sweeter than the bottle of Villa Massa sitting on my shelf, not that I mind, I kind of prefer it that way.

  2. This transported me back to Italy. :-)
    You just read my hot tub post…sometimes we soak with a drink in hand and this one looks like one to try. I love these posts…what I loathe is that I can't just reach through my screen and try the posted drink of the week.

  3. Always love your drink recipes. And I love how you really enjoy the good life! I really want to try this out but am a bit creeped out at the idea of letting the lemons and vodka stand for four weeks — I'll keep imagining what might be festering in there (I know, I know, alcohol and all, but I have this strange imagination). What are good brands for ready-made Limoncello? Something famous enough for me to get here, on the other side of the planet?

  4. Tam — that's so funny, b/c I thought — oh, I should link to my limoncello post as something she could enjoy while in the hot tub — but of course I couldn't link, because I hadn't posted it yet…. great minds.

  5. LC — having done a fair amount of microbiology in my day, I was a little creeped out by the idea too — but digging around it seemed that as long as you didn't leave it out in the sun (letting it warm up), that everything was going to be fine. There are some pretty good Italian brands, but honestly, I don't remember which ones we've tried!

  6. in theory it sounds easy… but i don't think i'll be able to make my own. i'm scared. heh.can i just come over and drink some of yours? :P tee hee!ps – i think that when you have kids, you HAVE to have happy hour. hehehe. every night after mia goes to bed, steve and i try to just relax… with or without alcohol… but preferably WITH, of course. :P

  7. …we’re scientists even at home, you know… You rock.
    This sounds pretty tasty. Do you think Splenda would work instead of sugar? The lavender sounds good too.
    Oh, and I'm totally with you on the port + chocolate. Yum. It ranks right up there with pizza + zin as one of my favorite combos.

  8. That's a gorgeous photo. Very summerey – romantic. You guys are scientists – I want to hear about mixed drinks you make with helium and aluminum. (Okay, throw some rum in there too) ;)

  9. Mello — the splenda thing is a really interesting idea that I never even considered. I think the next batch needs to try one half made with sugar, the other half made with splenda — and then do a head-to-head taste test. Good idea!

  10. It's been a long time since I've had limoncello, but I have a fondness for it because it reminds me of my honeymoon AND I like lemonade (so what's not to like about a spiked version?). So, when are you going to have Grace and I over for happy hour? ;)

  11. I know!! That was supposed to be the New Yard Independence Day Party — now its looking more like the New Yard Labor Day (and hopefully not Columbus Day!) party…. ;)

  12. I think there's a "good things come to those who wait" and a "life isn't fair" combo in there somewhere. After you peel all the lemons, it practically makes itself — which is easy for me to say, since I didnt' peel the lemons.

  13. becknits — sorry for the long delay, but we just got back from our long vacation. We peeled the lemons (leaving them in inch or two length) — I think the zest-alone might be hard to filter.

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