Limecello, June 2020

I was going to buy lemons at Costco today, but they were out. Instead I purchased a 5 lb bag of limes.

I bought them for juice, but decided to zest them first and start a batch of limecello. Limecello is limoncello made from limes instead of lemons.

I made limecello a few years back and the initial result was disappointing. It lacked color (my limoncello is bright yellow) and while it smelled good, the flavor was meh.

A couple of years later the last 2 bottles were really good, but it took time for the flavor to develop. I had not thought of making it again.

Folks on the WineMakingTalk forum who are more experienced at making limoncello than me claim that Everclear is the best choice. I have used 80 proof vodka in the past, but they claim that 151 to 170 proof Everclear has better extraction from the zest. Basically, the stronger alcohol pulls more of the lemon flavor and smell from the zest.

I’m game — I’ll give it a shot!

So I purchased a 1.75 L bottle of 151 proof Everclear. Patrick & I zested the limes (that’s a LOT of limes). I poured about a cup of the Everclear into a glass and started stuffing the zest into the bottle. When done I topped the bottle with the reserved Everclear.

Anyway, after 30 minutes, the color extraction from the limes was amazing!


I was totally surprised. While the zest is visible throughout the bottle, once it settled the liquid is equally green.

My plan is to dilute the result (when it’s ready) with sugar syrup to reduce the resulting drink to 60 proof. The guys on WineMakingTalk recommended a few sites that have calculators the calculate how much sugar syrup to use to dilute a liquor of a given proof and volume.

The recipe is the zest of 5 lbs of limes, 1.75 L Everclear, plus a to-be-calculated amount of sugar syup.

I ended up with a bunch of naked limes (visible in the picture above), which I juiced using the electric juicer Lorraine gave me for my birthday. I got nearly 5 cups of lime juice and immediately made limeade. The remainder is in the fridge waiting for future uses.

Limeade is an easy recipe: 3/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup sugar. Mix well, then add cold water to make 2 quarts. Some folks might like it sweeter, but I like tart.

Once juiced, the limes went into the compost pile ….


The resulting juice is only a light green: