Homemade Limoncello is a Success!

lemon_tree_blossom I found out a few years ago that my family has a recipe for making Limoncello. I recently took the plunge and made my first batch. After 60 days in the making I’m very happy it was a success! My limoncello has gotten rave reviews from all who have tried it; it even won a taste test against fancy store-bought limoncello!  I am sharing the recipe here because it’s a fun and yummy project. 

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur made by steeping the zest of fresh lemons in grain alcohol until the oil is released and the resulting vibrant yellow liquid is mixed with simple syrup. It is traditionally served chilled as an after dinner digestif (in theory to aid digestion). My Aunt swears it’s best drizzled over ice cream.

Small bottles of limoncello also make great gifts for friends and family at Christmas or other holidays. Check out  Save-On-Crafts, who have good deals on clear glass bottles and lovely gift tags that would be perfect for this. Cost Plus World Market also has glass bottles and gorgeous handmade gift tags that would work great; they are inexpensive and they have multiple sizes with a clamp top closure (also known as swing top).

Glass bottles and gift tags from Save-on-Crafts.

Glass bottles and gift tags from Save-on-Crafts.

My family recipe actually calls for an 80-day process, but I went with 60 days so the recipe has been modified accordingly.


15 thick-skinned Meyer lemons
2 (750 ml) bottles of vodka. I used Svedka.
4 cups granulated sugar
5 cups water

1. Scrub the lemons with a vegetable brush (found in kitchen stores) and soap with warm water until clean. Then rinse well and drip dry on a towel.

2. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, take the yellow zest off all the lemons in large pieces. Avoid the pith as it has a bitter taste. Larger pieces will facilitate the straining step later. (No, my arms are not that hairy-I got help peeling the lemons!)

3. Put the lemon peels in a large airtight jar (at least 4 quarts). Add the contents of one bottle of vodka. Save the empty vodka bottle for the finished product.
4. Store the jar in a cool, dark space such as a basement or closet for 30 days. Stir the contents once a week.
5. After 30 days, you are going to mix in some simple syrup. You can buy it from a grocery store if you like, but it’s easy to make by heating water and sugar until the sugar is entirely dissolved. Then you remove the syrup from the heat and let it cool. Add the cooled syrup to the 30-day old limoncello.
6. Add the contents of the second bottle of vodka. Save the empty bottle for the finished product.
7. Return the jar to its cool, dark space and store for 30 more days. As before, stir the contents about once a week.
8. At the end of 60 days, use a ladle or large spoon to pull out the large lemon peels. Strain out the rest using a strainer, cheese cloth or coffee filters.
9. Using a funnel, pour the filtered limoncello into bottles (use the empty original vodka bottles if you wish) and store them in a cool place. I stored mine in the freezer. 

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suzetteHoly crap, you found me. That’s fantastic. I’m Suzette and I’m so glad you’re here! I’ve built a successful career as a travel photographer where I have the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world, and run this blog where I share inspiration for YOUR travel photography. This website is specifically for those of us who love to wander with our cameras. We take it slow. We are curious. We love nature and the outdoors. Most of all, we love taking great photographs.

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