Limoncello recipe

This is something I have been promising myself to make for a while now, so here it is:


For those of you who have never had Limoncello, it's an Italian Liqueur which can be used to freshen the palate during a meal, as a digestive after a meal or poured on crushed ice as a drink – as the name suggests, it's made with Lemons and Alcohol; however, it is much more than just Lemonade for grown ups.




1 Litre alcohol; Grappa and Vodka are both acceptable, you will see recipes for 90% proof and as you might know, I have used this in the past for liqueurs, but I think 45% alcohol is adequate for this recipe


1.5 Litres water


100g to 150g lemon peel from un-waxed lemons; this should be about 6 to 8 lemons. If you use less lemon peel, then supplement this with the juice from two or three lemons.


600g white caster sugar

  Homemade Limoncello


Here are two different methods of making the Limoncello; I have used the former rather than the latter.




Peel the lemons placing the zest into a large glass sealable container (Fig 1)

Pour over the alcohol of choice, seal the jar and shake it. Place in a darkened area in the house for two weeks, stirring or shaking the mix occasionally.


After two weeks the liquid will have taken on a lovely colour of lemons; drain the liquid through a muslin cloth into another container (use a colander to assist with this).


In a pan, over a gentle heat, amalgamate the sugar and water to make a light sugared water, all sugar will need to be dissolved. You are not looking for syrup so there is no need to boil or overheat the liquid.


Once slightly cooled, pour the water mix into the lemon flavoured alcohol stirring as you do so; you will notice the colour should change and become a lot clearer.


Bottle in sterilised bottles, seal and there you are; bottles of Limoncello.

  Figure 1


It should make 2.5 litres, which is handy because you can save two for presents and drink the ½ bottle early.



This is an alternative approach to making Limoncello which does involve making a syrup.

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a rolling simmer for 3-4 minutes until the bubbles look quite syrupy. Set this aside and leave to cool for 20 minutes or so.

Add the lemon zest and juice to the syrup while it is still slightly warm. Then add the alcohol of your choice.

Pour into a large jar or sterile bottle and seal.

Leave in a cool, dark place for 1 month or so, shaking every now and then over the month.
After a month the lemon liqueur will be ready to drink. Strain through a muslin cloth into sterilised bottles, serve chilled.