In the United States, a lemon cordial is a liqueur. In other countries, lemon cordials often refer to a nonalcoholic drink made with sugar and lemons. Making your own lemon cordial at home is inexpensive and enjoyable, and creates a delicious version of this popular drink. Use this recipe for approximately four cups of lemon cordial. It can be made both with and without alcohol. Here’s how to make lemon cordial:
Ingredients and supplies:
9 fresh lemons
3 3/4 cups high-proof alcohol (for best results, use 190-proof, if available)
3 cups granulated sugar
Several glass jars or bottles with lids
Fine mesh sieve
Lemon wedges, for garnish (optional)
- Zest the lemons. Grate the rinds of all nine lemons using a cheese grater on the finest setting to remove the lemon zest. Avoid the white parts of the rind, as they are bitter. Place the zest into your largest glass jar (at least one quart), or divide it evenly among several smaller jars.
- Pour the alcohol over the lemon. Now, pour the alcohol over the lemon zest. Place the lid on the jar, and then put the jar in a cool, dark place for at least two days, and up to a week if desired. The longer you store the alcohol-lemon mixture, the stronger the lemon cordial’s flavor will become. For a nonalcoholic lemon cordial, use two cups lemon juice instead of the alcohol and lemon zest; there is no need to store this for any length of time before using it to make lemon cordials.
- Create the sugar syrup. In a saucepan, boil 2 3/4 cups of water. Then remove from heat, and immediately add granulated sugar. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. The texture of this mixture should be thick and syrupy. Allow the sugar syrup to cool to room temperature.
- Stir the lemon into the sugar. Now, stir the lemon-alcohol mixture into the sugar syrup. Chill this mixture, which is the completed lemon cordial mixture, for at least a day. When complete, strain it through a fine mesh sieve, removing the lemon zest.
- Store the lemon cordial. If you don’t plan to use the lemon cordial immediately, transfer to glass bottles or jars, and freeze the mixture for up to six months. The mixture can also be canned in a water bath if you wish to store it outside of the freezer.
- Serve. Serve lemon cordial in a chilled cordial glass, garnished with a lemon wedge. Lemon cordial can be served plain or over ice.
This delicious and refreshing drink is easy to prepare, and can even be made ahead of time. A traditional summertime drink, it is a great way to use up extra lemons.