Frequently Asked Questions - LimoncelloQuest

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do you filter your liquor?

A: To make it taste smoother. The farther your liquor is from 100% alcohol, the more this matters. That is, it will tend to make a bigger difference on 80 proof vodka than on 190 proof grain alcohol. I’ve done a split test to confirm this and I found the difference to be huge. It makes a big difference on pretty much any liquor though. Is it absolutely necessary? No.


Q: Why do you let the infusion rest so long?

A: Because I like what it does to the flavor. I’ve aged batches up to 2 years and it adds a smoothness up to about that point. It does start to go downhill after that point. It doesn't go bad per se, just starts to lose color and flavor. 


Q: How long can limoncello rest? Does it go bad?

A: It can rest a really long time. There’s nothing in it that would really go bad and I’ve tasted batches that rested for over 5 years with no problems. It does start to lose color and flavor after the 2 year mark though, and that probably depends on the storage conditions.


Q: Have you ever tried suspending the lemons above the liquor for infusion?

A: No. But I plan to try that and will update this item at that point.


Q: Have you ever tried making infusions with fruit other than standard lemons?

A: Yes, plenty of them. In the lemon category, I've tried Ponderosa lemons and Meyer lemons. I've tried lime zest and orange zest, which is another type of liqueur called arancello. I've also tried others that I've somehow failed to post about and lost the reviews in the depths of my hard drive. I've tried grapefruit zest (yuck), blood orange zest (yum), and I have a pommelo infusion resting right now.


Q: Have you ever tried adding other flavors to the limoncello?

A: Yes. I've tried adding mint, even going so far as to attempt a mojito-inspired infusion. I've added lime to a lemon infusion, added vanilla bean, and even added way too much lemon juice to a batch. Perhaps the most successful test was adding pineapple to the infusion, which was delicious.


Q: Are organic lemons really necessary?

A: I think so. I've done multiple split tests with organic and non-organic lemons and find the organic variety to provide a better flavor. It's the outside of the lemon that you're using for this infusion, the part that is exposed to the environment and to any pesticides that may be used. It's important to limit contaminants and to remove any wax prior to zesting for limoncello.


Q: Do you have to keep limoncello cold after opening it?

A: Nah. Beer can go bad if you allow the temperature to swing too wildly and of course cooling wine is essential to keeping it in drinkable shape. The reason in both cases is because of fermentation and the fact that there are living organisms in the beer and wine. Too much heat and you kill the organisms and thus the flavor. Wine "dies" at around 86 degrees Fahrenheit and gets ruined. There's no fermentation involved in making limoncello and nothing living in there that can be killed, so feel free to warm it and cool it all you like. 


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(11) comments

Karen Hilliard December 10, 2018

I’m also interested in trying the suspension method, keep us updated please when you try it, or anyone who has tried it let us know!

Thanks,

Karen

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Andrew Balzarini January 5, 2019

Hi, I have been using your method for quite some time with great outcomes. However, my current batch is not as “lemony” as usual and leaves a serious alcohol after burn and unpleasant taste/mouth feel. I am sure that all of my proportions are correct and think that maybe it is due to the lemons not being ripe enough or something. At any rate, I have about 11,000 ml and would love a recommendation to enhance the taste and make it more palatable before I bottle it. Much thanks, Andrew

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Ben January 6, 2019

Hmm, it’s hard to remove that alcohol burn after the fact without making it even more insipid (less lemony). I think the best you could do is add some more simple syrup. That will make it sweeter, but will help with the burn and should help with the taste. You can also let it sit after bottling, but that will further reduce the lemon flavor. That’s a tough one.

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Eric Huczko April 21, 2019

You used to have a recipe for limoncello with cream instead of simple syrup. I make your limoncello with lemons from my tree for the past several years and it has been delicious!! I would like to try the cream this year. Have you given up on that?

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Jenny May 13, 2019

I am on my second batch of lemon cello. Headed to Italy, so got inspired😁. My question is , do you have a wonderful lemonade recipe that I can use with all the juice. I want something that is like the old recipes I had as a child from the county fairs. Like a lemon shake up.. I am going to freeze the juice, but miss the small town flavor of old fashioned lemonade. Thanks.Jenny

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Bill November 30, 2019

How well does the limoncello stay mixed after it’s mixed with the simple syrup? I assume there’s no problem with the mixture separating since you never mention this? (I always assume alcohol floats to the top in a mixture, so I compulsively stir my cocktails when I probably shouldn’t.)

The second 45 day waiting period probably helps the process. I’m excited to make my first batch of this soon.

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Michael Shultz April 4, 2020

Thoughts on zest vs peeling?

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André Moreau April 19, 2020

Question:

It is now my fourth batch of limoncello and the best tasting yet. Now, after 9 months, it has lost the murky yellow colour be become almost transparent. It looks like the oils have coalesced into droplets. Why is that? It never happened before.

If it can help answer he question, here is my recipe: Zest of 15 pounds of lemons (almost no white at all) into 1.5 litres of Everclear. Infuse for 5 months and obtain 1.4 litres of extract. Filter with coffee filter. Add 2.1 litres of simple sirup with 0.5 sugar to 1 water by volume to bring the alcohol to 30%. The sugar level is relatively low but not as low as some of the most dry commercial ones.

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Clay August 8, 2020

I made a batch of limoncello with vodka and simple syrup. Stored in fridg for 4 months. A cloudy mass has formed floating in the top half of the bottle. Doesn’t smell. Is this just oils or do I have a colony of bacteria growing?

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Andy Mantione September 27, 2020

I’m making my first batch ever using 10 lemons, their juice and 750 ml Everclear.
Planning to age it 1 month but I’m not certain exactly WHERE I should do this
Where I live my basement is dark with consistent temperature around 68 degrees
I can also age it in the house (near or away from a window) with similarly stable temperatures.
I’ve seen a local Sicilian restaurant aging theirs on a windowsill, but I’ve also read that if should be done in the basement.
Which do you recommend?
Any information you can share with this total novice would be appreciated
-ALM-

Reply
Ben November 29, 2020

That is probably what they call “il collarino” and it’s harmless, just debris although I like to filter it out when it happens.

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