Almost synonymous with the Amalfi Coast is limoncello, the refreshing liqueur, aperitif, and digestivo made from the large lemons grown in Campania. While controversy exists regarding the origins of this popular drink, limoncello prevails as the drink of choice anywhere along the Amalfi Coast as well as Naples and Sorrento. Native Italians from Sorrento, Capri, and Amalfi all lay claim to limoncello’s birthplace, and no clear evidence exists today to dispute the legends.
Recipes abound for those wishing to replicate this tart drink at home. The key ingredient is the peel from either the ovale di Sorrento, or large oval-shaped lemons grown in the Sorrento area, or the sfusato amalfitano lemon from the Amalfi area of Campania. For this reason, attempts to make limoncello at home are never quite the same as the limoncello for purchase in Campania.
The four basic ingredients in the aperitif include:
- the zest of 6 or or 7 large lemons
- 1 quart pure grain alcohol or vodka
- 5 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
Flavored by the zest of lemons, limoncello is a favorite among locals as well as tourists.
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Un po' di pepe
Great minds think alike! I managed to get a bottle of grain alcohol, which is normally not available here. I’m planning to make limoncello today and photodocument the process. I usually have to use vodka so it will be interesting to see the difference. Now off to find some ultra organic lemons 🍋 even if they won’t be the right kind. Salute, Cristina
Sounds wonderful Cristina. Let me know how it turns out once it’s ready.
I love limoncello. I have made it at home, many times, but, as you say, it is the lemons from the Campania region that give the limoncello its distinctive flavor. My first recipe for this drink was printed on a dish towel I bought in the long shopping Street in Sorrento. I have visited one of the lemon groves in Sorrento, where I sampled not just limoncello, but herb-based liqueurs. It is amazing and so fitting that an area where seafood reigns in the restaurants that there are so many lemon based dishes to go with the seafood. Lemon risotto, lemon gnocchi, lemon sauces for the fish, then finish your meal with a limone gelato, preferable topped with a shot of limoncello. Now I am making myself wish I were in Sorrento this very moment.
Thanks for this, Dolly. I hadn’t thought about the connection of lemon and seafood, but you are so right.