If there is one liqueur that screams, "Summer is here!", it's Limoncello!
Limoncello is a delicious Italian liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy. It's made with just four ingredients: lemon peel, alcohol, sweetener and water.
I first tried Limoncello in Capri during our family holidays in Southern Italy. It was sweet and refreshing and I couldn't believe how many varieties there were — some with cream and some with orange or tangerine flavors. (You can learn more about the history of Limoncello here).
But just like all liqueurs, Limoncello is laden with sugar and a no-go for keto. That's why I haven't had Limoncello for over a decade and was really excited to make it keto-approved. (Here's a full Guide to Alcohol for Low-Carb Diets with suitable options and options to avoid.)
How to Make Sugar-Free Limoncello
Making Limoncello at home is really easy because you will only need four ingredients, that's it!
- Lemons, organic and unwaxed, peel only. The essential oils from the peel is what will add fantastic flavor to your limoncello.
- Grappa or vodka. Grappa is the traditional way but vodka is a good alternative. Both of these options are zero-carb and have a clean, neutral flavor that elevates the zesty lemon flavor.
- Allulose combined with water to make a simple syrup. Allulose is a type of low-carb sweetener that tastes just like sugar and does not crystallize like other types of low-carb sweeteners like Erythritol. You can read all about Allulose here.
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Tips for the Perfect Limoncello
Use unwaxed, organic lemons. Most citrus fruits have pesticide residues on the peel so you want to make sure you are using unwaxed and organic lemons. You'll only be using the peel and you don't want any pesticides in your limoncello.
Avoid bitter limoncello. When peeling the lemons, try to only get the yellow part. The less of the white pith you use, the less likely you'll end up with bitter Limoncello. If you slice a piece with too much white on it, carefully scrape it off using a small pairing knife.
Let the peel infuse in alcohol for 1 to 4 weeks. The longer you leave it, the more flavor you'll get. I infused the first one for a week, the second one for three weeks.
Strain the limoncello through a nut milk bag to ensure that there are no solids and the final product is smooth.
Use Allulose to make your limoncello smooth and keep the carbs low. If you absolutely have to, use Erythritol-based sweetener instead but keep in mind you will get a slight cooling aftertaste and there might be some sediments on the bottom once chilled.
Clear or cloudy? Interestingly, my limoncello remained clear and didn't become cloudy like the once I remember from Capri. I assume it may have to do with the type or amount of alcohol you use. Either way it was delicious!
Don't Waste the Lemons!
You'll have quite a few leftover lemons. Don't waste them and instead use them in other recipes. How about making a batch or two of my Keto Electrolyte Drink, Blueberry Electrolyte Drink or this easy Sugar-Free Lemonade?
You can even make a batch of Low-Carb Lemon Curd although that will also require you to use some lemon zest.
More Low-Carb Liqueur Recipes
I love the challenge of transforming high-carb liqueurs into sugar-free versions and here's even more delicious recipes you may like:
Is there any liqueur you've been missing on keto? Let me know in the comment section and I'll do my best to make a low-carb version!
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Serving size 45 ml/ 1.5 fl oz
Allergy information for Low-Carb Limoncello
✔ Gluten free
✔ Dairy free
✔ Egg free
✔ Nut free
✔ Nightshade free
✔ Pork free
✔ Avocado free
✔ Coconut free
✔ Fish free
✔ Shellfish free
✔ Beef free
Nutritional values (per serving, 45 ml/ 1.5 fl oz)
Net carbs0.9 grams
Calories from carbs 96%, protein 3%, fat 1%
Total carbs1.1 gramsFiber0.2 gramsSugars0.1 gramsSaturated fat0 gramsSodium1 mg(0% RDA)Magnesium0 mg(0% RDA)Potassium3 mg(0% EMR)
Ingredients (makes about 1.1 L/ 37 fl oz)
- 7 to 8 organic, unwaxed lemons, peel only
- 1 bottle vodka or grappa (700 ml/ 24 fl oz)
- 1 cup Allulose (200 g/ 7.1 oz)
- 1 cup water (240 ml/ 8 fl oz)
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