My Limoncello Recipe

imageI make this pretty regularly and am frequently asked how it is made, so here goes; it’s surprisingly simple and the results are great!  It works equally well with mandarins for a ‘mandarinetto’.



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I took mine from this tree on the volcanic island of Salina in Sicily. If you don’t have a lemon tree near you, look for unwaxed lemons as it is only the zest that we’re interested in. You’ll need around 7 or 8 good sized lemons.


imageIf you can source it, try to get pure alcohol, available in supermarkets here in Italy. Not sure if you can get in the UK, I guess us Brits have too many alcohol issues and we aren’t responsible enough. I have heard of recipes where a tasteless vodka is used to substitute it. I haven’t tried this myself though, and I guess you’d need to change the proportions as this stuff is 95% and vodka is around 40%.  500ml of alcohol will make over a litre of limoncello.

Any normal caster sugar is fine.
For a litre of limoncello, you’ll need around 400 to 500g sugar depending on how sweet you like it, I prefer it less sweet so usually use 400g.

Between 500ml to 700ml, depending on how strong you want the limoncello, I usually go for 700ml so you get more limoncello and it’s still pretty strong.


1. Wash the lemons.

2. Carefully remove the peel from the lemons. You only want the yellow part, the white part will make it taste bitter. I use a potato peeler to remove the peel and using a zig zaggy technique gets it off easily and nice and fine.

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3. Put the peel into a bottle and add the alcohol.


20140216-001753.jpg4. Shake and leave in a dark place for at least two weeks, shaking every day.

Wait, keep shaking!

5. After a couple of weeks you need to make a sugar syrup.


Add 400g of sugar to about 700 ml of water in a pan.  Heat the sugar and water over a low flame until the sugar completely dissolves. Make sure the alcohol is nowhere near the flame!

6. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.

7. While it is cooling, decant the alcohol into another bottle, filtering the liquid to remove any bits of lemon.

8. When the syrup is cool, add it to the alcohol and shake. It should turn a wonderful cloudy colour.

9. Decant into appropriately sized bottles and store in the freezer, it won’t freeze and it is best served ice cold.

10. Enjoy with friends as an after dinner ‘digestivo’, drunk from small shot glasses.


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2 Responses to My Limoncello Recipe

  1. Vania Schee says:

    What an incredible article you posted. I would like to thanks for this precious blog reading. I have to confess your great effort. Keep posting more articles in the future.


  2. Pingback: Mulled Wine – A Christmas Treat | Recipes for the EFL classroom

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