make limoncello at home

Make limoncello at home following this recipe

You want to make limoncello at home but don’t know where to start? Follow this recipe to create the Italian lemon liqueur par excellence.

Photo by Vladimir Gladkov on Unsplash

Preparing a limoncello at home is worth it, although there are many brands both artisanal and more commercial, the satisfaction of preparing your own limoncello at home will fill you up.

Limoncello is an Italian liqueur whose provenance is mainly attributed to southern Italy, especially in the lemon-producing regions along the Amalfi coast.

Crisp and fresh, it is usually enjoyed as a digestive, chilled, after dinner or lunch.


Make limoncello at home

Recipe from Katie Parla’s latest book, Food of the Italian South


4 cups (1 liter) everclear (190 proof)

Zest of 5 untreated organic lemons, removed with a vegetable peeler

5 untreated organic lemons

4 cups water

5 cups sugar


Large glass jar


Large saucepan



Place the alcohol and lemon zest in a large glass jar. Using cheesecloth, suspend the five whole lemons (not the zested ones) in the jar above the alcohol, taking care not to let them touch the liquid. Seal the jar and let rest in a cool, dark place for 30 days. Agitate the jar every few days.

On the last day, combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, strain the infused alcohol into a clean jar, discarding the zest and lemons. When the sugar has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 20 minutes.

Add three-quarters of the syrup to the jar with the alcohol. Taste and adjust the sweetness, adding more syrup as needed. Seal the jar and allow the liquid to rest in a dark place at room temperature for 1 week.

Serve very cold or over ice. The limoncello will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for at least 6 months and in the freezer for well over a year. (Due to the high alcohol content, the liquid will not freeze.)

Note: Since the lemon zest is the main flavoring ingredient here, only use untreated organic lemons. You can substitute mandarins, bitter oranges, or any other citrus for the lemons—just be sure they’re organic and untreated, too.



Once you make limoncello at home, you can also create cocktails with it

Here are some recipes to enjoy your limoncello beyond a digestive.

Recipes by


Limoncello Highball


2 ounces limoncello

Club soda to top off


Garnish: Lemon wedge for garnish

Type of glass: Highball


In a highball glass, add ice and limoncello. Top off with club soda. Stir to mix. Garnish with lemon wedge.


Limoncello Collins


2 ounces limoncello

¾ ounce gin

¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ ounce simple syrup

Club soda to top off


Garnish: Orange wedge and cherry for garnish

Preparation: In a highball, add ice, limoncello, gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Stir to mix. Top off with club soda. Garnish with orange wedge and cherry.


The Paradiso


1½ ounces orange vodka

1/2 ounce limoncello

1/2 ounce Aperol

1 ounce fresh orange juice


Garnish: Orange peel for garnish

Type of glass: Tumbler


In a cocktail shaker, add ice, orange vodka, limoncello, Aperol, and orange juice. Shake to chill. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with orange peel.


Limoncello Lemon Drop Martini


1½ ounces limoncello

1 ounce citron vodka

½ ounce simple syrup

½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice


Lemon wedge, sugar, and lemon peel for garnish

Instructions: Chill a martini glass or coupe. Then, rub the rim of the chilled glass with the lemon wedge. With the sugar on a saucer, dip either half or the entire rim of the glass in the sugar to coat.

In a cocktail shaker, add ice, limoncello, citron vodka, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Shake to chill. Strain into prepared glass. Garnish with lemon peel.



Know other recipes to make limoncello at home? Tell us more!

Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.


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