How to make limoncello

Limoncello is a lemon-flavoured Italian liqueur that gets its colour and flavour from the zest of lemons.

How to Make Limoncello

Making limoncello at home needs just four ingredients and is a simple task of macerating the lemon zest in high proof alcohol then adding sugar syrup. In this recipe we used high proof vodka (50% ABV) but you can use neutral grain spirit such as Everclear (95%) or Spiritus Rectificatus (90% ABV). As it macerates, the alcohol begins to take on the flavour and colour of the citrus and you end up with sunshine in a glass and a taste that transports you to Italy.

Note: Different recipes and personal tastes call for a different ratios of sugar to water, and if you use a lower ABV spirit, you’ll need less simple syrup. As a rule, we recommend you make the simple syrup in a 1:1 ratio then add the amount to taste.

Limoncello makes a good digestive and a refreshing drink in summer. Sip it neat from the freezer or chilled with ice or use it in cocktails. It makes a good boozy gift idea in summer or for the festive season.

How to Make Limoncello


  • 8 large lemons
  • 700 ml bottle of high proof vodka (50% ABV or 100 proof), or neutral spirit such as Everclear or Spiritus Rectificatus
  • 2-4 cups white sugar – see note above
  • 2-4 cups of water – see note above

Equipment: glass jar with tight lid, coffee filter


  1. Wash and dry the lemons to remove as much of the was as possible then peel in long strips. Cut off and discard any pith with a small paring knife.
  2. Put the lemon peel in a large glass jar with a tight lid, add vodka and seal the jar.
  3. Place in a cool, dark spot for a period of 10 days up to 40 days until the liquid takes on a yellow hue and the lemon peel starts to turn white.
  4. Strain the liquid into a clean glass jar and discard the lemon peel.
  5. In a saucepan, combine sugar and water on low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  6. Let it cool then pour into the alcohol solution and leave it to rest at room temperature overnight.
  7. Strain the limoncello through a coffee filter or a soup bag to remove any residual solids.
  8. Transfer to bottles and store in the freezer until ready to serve.
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Next… 3 Limoncello Cocktail Recipes to Quench Your Thirst

Photo by Cocktails & Bars – © Copyright: All rights reserved.

How to Make Limoncello: A Step by Step Guide was last modified: June 13th, 2017 by Corinne Mossati

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