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Nov 18, 2012

Homemade Limoncello & Tangelocello

I started this tangelocello last May and finished it in July. At that point I was so thrilled with the results that I made limoncello. Both liqueurs have been sitting in my freezer waiting to be bottled for Christmas and hostess gifts.

Limoncello (and its cousins) is wonderful by itself as an after dinner digestivo, or mixed into a cocktail such as this one. It is also wonderful on vanilla ice cream.

I found this recipe in the book, Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving by Diane Morgan for Sur la Table (one of my favorite stores). The book contains recipes for all kinds of food gifts along with gorgeous ideas for packaging them... and there are lots of fabulous photographs. If you'd like to create elegant homemade gifts for the holidays, get this book.

This recipe works for lemons, oranges, or tangelos. It's best to use organic or home grown citrus, but if it is not available, really scrub the fruit to remove any wax and pesticide residue before you remove the rind.

You will need a one gallon jar to brew this liqueur. I got mine through Amazon but you can find them at The Container Store as well. You'll also need a fine mesh strainer and a funnel. Make sure that everything you use is washed in very hot soapy water or the dishwasher.

Finally, for gifts, you will need glass bottles. I've found them at Sur la Table, Crate & Barrel, and The Container Store.

Note: The alcohol used for this recipe is Everclear or another brand of grain alcohol. In my state, I can only find the 151 proof version. If you use the 190 proof Everclear, add an additional 1/3 C of water before bottling. If you cannot obtain grain alcohol where you live, you can use 100 proof vodka and reduce the total amount of water to 5 cups.


15 tangelos or large lemons
2 750 ml bottles of 151 proof grain alcohol (see note above for adjusting for 190 proof grain alcohol or 100 proof vodka)
4 cups of granulated sugar
7 1/2 cups of water
1 2/3 cups of water


You will be using the rind of the fruit, not the juice. I save the tangelo juice in the refrigerator (it doesn't last long), and I freeze the lemon juice to make lemonade later.
  • Wash the fruit in warm water and dry it.
  • Peel the fruit with a vegetable peeler making sure to get as little of the white pith as possible. Scrape off any pith with a sharp paring knife. 
  • Put the peel into the one gallon jar, and cover it with one bottle of the grain alcohol. Store in a cool dark place for about 40 days. 
  • Add the second bottle of grain alcohol to the mixture. 
  • Mix the sugar and 7 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Cool the sugar and water mixture until completely cooled.
  • Add the mixture to the one gallon jar, stir, seal, and return the jar to a cool dark place for another 40 days. 
  • Strain the contents of the jar through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter set in a colander into a large bowl and add 1 2/3 cups of water. The mixture should turn cloudy.
  • Let the liquid rest so that the sediment goes to the bottom
  • Using a ladle and a funnel, pour the liqueur into clean bottles. 
  • Store in a cool dark place, the freezer, or the refrigerator. 
To give as gifts, tie the bottle with a pretty ribbon and tag. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. this is awesome, i have to give it a try.
    last year i made orange and coffee liquer was amazing. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Arlette! I've made infused vodka, but not liqueur until now. I love it!

  2. We love limoncello ever since having it in Italy. Tangelo's are a great idea. Thanks for sharing on Thursdays Treasues.

  3. Karen,
    Thanks for giving me the link to include in my upcoming Band Fruit Fundraiser Recipe Round Up! It will be published on 12/4/2013!

  4. I dont drink, but I"m sure it would make a lovely gift ! thanks for sharing on our gifts from the kitchen link up for Celebrate 365 Blog Party


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