Italian homemade citronella liqueur

Citronella liqueur: Maria was taking me through one of her many gardens, gathering cuttings for me along the way, and happened to mention making citronella liqueur from the leaves of the citronella plant.

She gave me a pile of cuttings and I duly counted out 60 leaves for making my first batch of Ponza Citronella Liqueur.

The technique is the same for making limoncello except that you steep the leaves for only 20 days instead of 40. This will give you a very mild aroma of citronella.

The images below, especially the very rich green one, is before you add the syrup, so your final liqueur will be a lightly tinged shade of green.

Homemade citronella liqueur

  • 1 litre (1 quart) 95º pure alcohol
  • 60 citronella leaves (we counted every single one)
  • 750 grams (3 cups) sugar
  • 1 litre (1 quart) water (bottled water if your tap water is low quality)
  1. Clean and dry the citronella leaves and add them to the alcohol in a glass bottle or jar.
  2. Leave for 20 days and 20 nights, giving it a shake from time to time. The alcohol will become very green.
  3. Drain the leaves from the alcohol and discard the leaves.
  4. Meanwhile, over a low to medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water and allow to cool completely.
  5. Mix the sugar water with the citronella alcohol and seal in a bottle or jar.
  6. Store in the freezer along side a collection of shot glasses.
  7. Serve from the freezer into the frozen glasses.
citronella liqueur poured
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