What’s Blooming: Limoncello: Fine Italian Citrus with a Kick


Eureka is not only a well-known term proclaiming the triumph of discovery, it’s also a type of supermarket lemon used to create the famously delicious Italian liqueur, limoncello. The extraordinary spirit of lemon oil, water, sugar and vodka was invented about 100 years ago in Southern Italy, along the Amalfi coast. It is said to have been created by an innkeeper that treated her patrons to the homemade liqueur she served as a complimentary after-dinner “digestivo” to help her guests digest their meals.


The creation of limoncello is a fairly simple process that requires minimal ingredients and a bit of patience. The process begins by selecting lemons with thick, waxy skins that contain the best lemon oil content. Lemon oil is a fragrant yellow oil obtained from the lemon peel, which is also known as lemon zest. The lemon peel can be prepared for oil extraction in strips or by grating the skin. Limoncello makers are careful not to include the bitter white pith underneath the peel, as it negatively alters the overall taste of the finished product. The lemon oil used to prepare limoncello is extracted from the lemon zest by way of soaking it in vodka, Eastern Europe’s most dominant liquor. The soaking process normally takes about a month or longer depending on the creator’s preference and provides limoncello with its invigorating citrus taste and inviting, vibrant color.

Once the lemon peel strips or grated lemon zest loses its color, the oils and flavors have been completely extracted by the alcohol. To complete the process, sugar syrup made from boiled water and sugar is added to the strained, lemon-flavored vodka and left to marry for another week – again based on preference. While traditional recipes don’t call for pure alcohol, a 100 proof vodka will add a more intense flavor and prevent liquid crystallization in a freezer above 0° Fahrenheit.


Though widely enjoyed as an after-dinner drink, limoncello can be employed to produce a medley of delightfully citrus-flavored palate pleasers.The spirited blend is generally served at freezing temperatures, but innovative chefs have employed the liqueur to flavor gelato and sorbetto, spice up lemonade, add zest to cocktails, flavor icings and incorporate into ice cream, fresh fruit and more. Limoncello can also be offered as a charming complement to decadent pastry desserts such as pound cakes, tarts or any chocolate creation.


While highly regarded in Italy, limoncello is finding it popularity increase in new cultures, including the United States. Popular liquor companies have recently added it to their wide array of flavor offerings, exposing its refreshing, taste-bud-stimulating flavor to new crowds. With many other delicious discoveries coming from Italy, such as gelato, it’s no secret that this one is bound to also find a great following and much more success. Eureka, limoncello has landed!

If incorporating the flavor of limoncello into your dessert line interests you, feel free to contact us at anytime to learn more about PreGel’s various limoncello products directly from Italy!

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