After a recent trip to Italy a friend was inspired to make homemade Limoncello as gifts. She gave them away in small olive oil style bottles and they were a huge hit. The limoncello made a delicious dessert drink as well as a zesty topping for frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet, white cake and other delectable dishes. After enjoying it drizzled over vanilla ice cream one evening and hearing mutual friends rave about it, I asked her for the recipe. I’m sharing it with you along with some food gift sticker ideas for Christmas 2014. No worries about friends re-gifting this, because they’ll consume it and beg for more. This recipe is also great for hostess gifts.
- The zest of 6 to 7 large ripe lemons – The zest is captured by scraping the oils from the rind. You’ll need a zesting tool, vegetable peeler or fine grater to do this. (Avoid getting the white part of the rind as it will be more bitter.) If you’re health conscious you’ll want to use organic lemons since you’re using the peel, not the fruit.
- 1 quart of pure grain alcohol or 100 proof vodka – Some cooks swear that grain alcohol does a better job of extracting all of the lemon flavor from the peels. (Personally I prefer Vodka.)
- 3 cups of sugar
- 5 cups of water
Day 1 -Take the zest from the lemons and drop them into a large glass bottle or jar. Pour in the alcohol and cover the jar. Place in a cool place for at least 7 days. The limoncello gets its flavor from the infusion of the lemon skins in the pure alcohol.
Day 6 – Boil the water and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set the syrup aside and let it cool overnight.
TIP: Limoncello can range from very sweet to tart and citrusy. You get to decide, based on the ratio of sugar to lemon zest. After your first batch you will feel ready to experiment with different recipes.
Day 7 – Strain the alcohol from the zest and discard the zest. Don’t discard the alcohol! Pour the sugar syrup mixture into the glass jar with the alcohol. Stir well. Pour into small bottles for gifts. Store in the refrigerator. Instruct recipients to chill before serving.
Now you have unpeeled lemons left and plenty of juice in them to make some lemonade as well!
TIP: We found these fun shaped bottles at World Market. Take a look at how great they look with labels on them. All of the labels on these bottles can be found on our site. The tall 750 ML bottle has this label on it that’s 3.75 inches wide by 4 inches high. The small olive oil bottle and the flask shape bottles both have labels 3 inches high by 2 inches wide from our Food Label selection.
Once you’ve bottled your limoncello you’ll want to add a custom gift sticker. You’ll find many choices of pre-made templates like the ones below.
You might want to upload your own artwork and make your own label for your homemade limoncello like this beautiful label on the limoncello bottle below. This is an original design from one of our customers.
Feel free to contact us about making your own limoncello label for gifts or personal use. We have knowledgeable staff that are on hand for live chat or email assistance. We’re available 9 to 4 Pacific time and we answer emails after hours at [email protected]