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How to Make Homemade Limoncello

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Limoncello is a popular alcoholic beverage in Italy, perfect for the blistering heat of summer. It is incredibly easy to make this adult lemonade. All it takes is lemon zest, vodka, and simple syrup. You can prepare this sweet liqueur to completion in less than a week.


  • 750 ml Vodka or Grain Alcohol
  • 3-4 Lemons
  • 2.5 Cups Water
  • 1.5 Cups White Sugar

Selecting Your Spirits

For this recipe, you will want to use a decently priced vodka. If you are looking for something a little bit stronger, you can even use grain alcohol, which is a 100 proof alcohol. You will want a 750 ml bottle for this recipe.

Selecting Your Lemons

Since alcohol infusions leach all the flavor, color, and other chemical components from the organic material you are infusing, you will want to use organic lemons. Conventional lemons may have pesticides or even wax on the outside of the lemon, or the rind which is the part that we are using to make limoncello. Meyer lemons can be nice to use because they are traditionally sweeter than other lemon varieties. You will only need 3-4 lemons.

To Prepare the Limoncello

First, wash and gently scrub the outsides of the lemons. Next you want to use a vegetable peeler to remove the rinds. Be very careful that you limit the amount of the pith, or the white part underneath the rind, as this will make your final product more bitter. Once all of the lemon zest has been removed from the lemons, place the rinds in a quart size mason jar. Finally, empty the bottle of vodka or grain alcohol into the mason jar.

Leave to sit for four days.

The next step is to make a simple syrup. Empty 2.5 cups of water and 1.5 cups of white sugar into a saucepan and set to medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the granules have been dissolved. Let this to sit until it is completely cool. Once it has cooled, you can empty it into the container with the lemon and alcohol infusion. Leave this to sit overnight.

Use a funnel and a strainer to empty the liquid into a bottle or a separate quart jar. Refrigerate your fresh limoncello for four hours before consuming. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Additional Ideas

  • Although this strays from the traditional recipe for limoncello, fresh sage or lavender could be a nice addition to this recipe. Use these herbs during the initial infusion process, or to garnish the finished product.
  • Use the deconstructed lemons to make lemonade.
  • Limoncello can be enjoyed on it's own, or in cocktails. Try adding Prosecco to your homemade limoncello. Another great flavor combo is mixing in lemon juice and gin.


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