Sunday, 1 May 2011

Make Homemade Limoncello!

I love a little after dinner treat, and when my husband and I were recently in London we discovered Limoncello at a cute Italian restaurant on the Thames.  We split a couple 2 oz. servings and were HOOKED!

When we got home, we discovered that it is quite an expensive alcohol, not to mention there are various ways it can be made, so some types are more sugary than others, whereas others are significantly more bitter.  Since I have been on a bit of a roll for taking on new projects and trying new things lately, I thought to myself "Why not try and make your own limoncello?"

I was very interested to learn that there is NO lemon juice in limoncello, only the peel of the fruit.  The alcohol becomes infused with the essential oil found in the lemon skin, and the colour and flavour of the drink are imparted from this.

I used a combination of recipes, tips, and information from various people and sources on the internet, and here is the breakdown of how MY version of Limoncello came to be.


-Purchase 12 large (or 14-15 small) organic lemons and 1 lime

-Using a scrubbing brush, wash the lemons and lime thoroughly

-Zest the lemons and the lime into an airtight container.
IMPORTANT: avoid getting the pith into the zest as this will cause a bitter flavour in the limoncello.

-If you are in a country/area where 100 proof (50%) vodka is available, add one bottle.  In my case I just used one bottle of "regular" 80 proof (40%) vodka.

-At this point, leave this mixture of zest and vodka for 30-45 days, or until you notice that the colour of the liquid is no longer becoming deeper and more yellow.  Its fascinating to see how quickly the liquid begins to take on a yellow colour from the peel.  Don't worry if the liquid looks cloudy on top, this will be removed in the filtering step.

-Once you think all the essence has been taken up by the alcohol from the peels, filter the mixture through a #4 coffee filter

-Once filtered, make and add simple syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar and water, heated until the sugar dissolves).  For my batch, I used a 2 cup water : 2 cup sugar ratio

-Heat the sugar/water on the stove until the sugar fully dissolves.

-Add this to the mixture, and then add one more bottle of your favourite (80 proof/40%) vodka.  This should make ~2  750ml bottles.  Aliquot into airtight bottles, and let sit for another ~45 day.  Apparently the longer you leave it, the better it is!  Some people even make it in the winter and let it sit until the summer...but as this is my first batch, we will be cracking it open in July for a taste!

Enjoy!  Comment below if you have tried limoncello, make your own, or use the recipe!


  1. I love it!! Can't wait to try some!! ;)

  2. This recipe came at the right time! I have a couple friends that bring me bags of citrus that will now be turned into cello. I'll let you know how it turns out :-)

  3. Love your cute bottles!!
    Also, save me a taste. ;)

  4. Oh my, it sounds so tasty!!!
    I also LOVE your cute bottles! :)

    I want to go home & make this now!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.