Nothing is more refreshing after a meal than sipping a deliciously tart Italian Limoncello. Limoncello is a taste of the Amalfi Coast, Italy, where lemon orchards have provided their bounty to generations of Italians — and visitors — for centuries. Trust us, Limoncello tastes best if you’re seated at a charming little restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean landscape. However, it is possible to enjoy this unique taste of Italy anywhere in the world with a little knowledge and preparation.
Limoncello is an alcoholic liqueur that is native to the Sorrento and Almalfi coastal areas. This bright yellow Italian drink is said to be a digestivo, or digestive aid, of great benefit after you’ve enjoyed a wonderful meal. Authentic Limoncello is made using a special variety of lemon that is grown on the Amalfi Coast. It is called sfusato amalfitano for its uniquely tapered shape and you won’t find lemons like these anywhere else in the world.
If you visit an orchard here along the edge of the Sorrentine Peninsula during the lemon harvest, you’ll notice how huge these sfusato amalfitano lemons are – much larger than typical lemons. Their thick skins are quite sponge-like, protecting the juicy interior of the citrus fruit until it’s time to enjoy their sweetly sour goodness.
Most Italians end a hearty meal with a glass of Limoncello, but visitors to Italy also find it’s an excellent way to quench their thirst on a hot day after enjoying the local sights. It’s the perfect beverage for an outdoor patio. You see, Limoncello is not a drink to hurry or rush. Rather, it’s a drink to sip and enjoy slowly so that your tastebuds have time to enjoy the full flavor.
Limoncello is served cold. Some local Italians drink it straight from the freezer. However, those in the know advise against subjecting Limoncello to frozen temperatures. When it gets too cold the flavor is less intense.
The Taste of the Amalfi Coast
You’ll need to come to Italy to taste a truly authentic Limoncello, but with a little patience you can make good Limoncello at home. If you want to try making your own Limoncello at home, we recommend you use organic lemons because you need to use the lemon zest. You don’t want to add chemicals to your drink!
Additionally, Italians make Limoncello with unflavored alcohol that is 95% pure. Some English recipes will call for Vodka, but this isn’t authentically Italian. Look instead for this pure alcohol at your favorite liquor or wine shop; it is often used as a base for making various traditional homemade liqueurs. If you’re looking for a recipe to try we like nonna Maria’s easy Limoncello recipe.
Nonna Maria’s Limoncello Recipe
- 5 Amalfi lemons (use organic lemons if you can’t Amalfi lemons)
- 500 ml 95% pure grain alcohol
- 500 g granulated sugar
- 750 ml water
- Peel the lemons. Be careful to take the yellow part only and not the white part. The white part is too bitter and it will ruin your limoncello. Add the peels to a lidded container and pour in the alcohol.
- Leave the peels to soften and to flavor the alcohol for 20-30 days.
- When the alcohol is ready, dissolve the 500 g of sugar into 750 ml of water. You can warm up the water to dissolve the sugar more easily just cool it back down to room temperature before you add the alcohol in the next step.
- Strain the lemony alcohol through a fine sieve and then add it to the room temperature sugar water.
Once you’ve tried Limoncello you’ll want to enjoy your own adventure on the world-renowned Amalfi Coast. Our Treasures of The Amalfi Coast and Puglia tour offers 10 days of beautiful sights and sounds as you travel with a small group of up to 10. This internationally famous region of Italy boasts beautiful little villages, spectacular views of the ocean, and wonderful winding paths through the mountainside. Contact our knowledgeable, friendly staff at LocalWonders Travel to book now.