Make your own Limoncello in 3 easy lessons

Ever had Limoncello? It’s an Italian liqueur. It usually comes from the bottle shop, in a small bottle of about 100 to 150 ml, for some outrageous price – that size bottle is usually $15 to $20.

You can make your own, especially if you have a lemon tree that’s going crazy and dumping lemons like there’s no tomorrow. And, you don’t need 3 easy lessons, you only need 3 months.

All Italians reading: stop now if you are easily offended, OR leave comments and criticise my method!

To make about a litre, or maybe a bit more:

Grab yourself a load of lemons – about 10 – 15 will do, the exact amount does not matter a huge lot so long as you have plenty. Make sure they are clean. Wash them if you need to, and gently dry.

dscn1683.JPGZest them. You want the yellow part of the skin and not the pith. The white pith makes it bitter and yuk. To zest, use one of these:

They are available in most good cookery shops, or even Woolies, for only a couple of $. They do a good job. Using a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler is the pits. :( Don’t bother.

Use your zester to scrape off as much of the yellow lemon skin as you can, scoop it up and put it in a glass jar for which you have a screw top sealing lid. You will have lemon oil all over yourself, the bench, the zester, and so on. The lemon oil is important for the Limoncello. Don’t waste it. It will also clean grot off your benchtops and your hands. :)

So, having put all the zest in your jar, add about 3/4 litre of vodka. Screw on the lid. Leave it in a warm place for about 3 months.

Stronger (and more expensive) vodka is better. Don’t use flavoured vodka!


About 6 months later, having discovered a jar of yellow stringy looking stuff in some strange warm place, you need to strain it and add a sugar syrup.

dscn1684.JPGStraining is just done with a tea-strainer to get the big bits out. To clarify it further, use a muslin cloth.

This will help filter the smaller of the lumpy bits out.

You may also need to squeeze out the lemon skin to get the last of the lemony vodka out of it. Nothing much is ideal for this. Try squeezing in your fist over a strainer.

This should all end up yielding a bit more than 1/2 litre of stuff that looks a bit like horses pee and smells very strongly of lemon.

Now warm about 3/4 – 1litre of water with about 3-4 cups of sugar, until the sugar is dissolved. Let this cool. Add to the vodka/lemon mix, and bottle. You might want to add some of the syrup and hold back a bit, so you can taste the result and add more syrup if you think its needed.

You can drink this straight, chilled, in a SMALL glass.

On a summer afternoon, try pouring it over crushed ice and then sipping slowly.

Or, mix like a lemon cordial with sparkling soda water to make a refreshing lemon drink with a bit of a kick. Only for the adults, though.

And if all this is too hard, just buy it from the bottle shop. Bottoms up!



*takes notes*

Excellent :)

Comment by MadameBoffin | May 8th, 2007 3:17 pm | Permalink

Limoncello is great stuff. My recipe is similar except it has Lemon Verbena (see in it.

I might give this recipe a go next summer.

Comment by Darren | May 13th, 2007 7:54 pm | Permalink

Thanks for the recipe. I’ve nearly finished peeling 32 oranges (for a slight twist) and then I’m onto the lemons. What can one do with a box full of de-rinded lemons?

Comment by Cheryl | June 20th, 2014 11:23 pm | Permalink

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