Homemade Limoncello Liqueur Recipe

by | Jun 20, 2017 | Cocktails | 15 comments

Limoncello is a lemon liqueur very popular in Italy. Nowadays, it is becoming more popular in other countries. When you go out to dinner in any of the towns in Amalfi coast area, they serve you little shots of icy cold limoncello after dinner. I love the Amalfi Coast best, with all it’s beauty, turquoise waters, lemoncello and wonderful food. There are a lot of recipes out there for making homemade limoncello, the big differences really come from the quality of lemons that you have and how much sugar you add to your concoction. Growing up, I remember my grandmother making limoncello from a family recipe that has been handed down for generations. This is her recipe for limoncello and we found it to be really delicious – not overly sweet but just right. On the Amalfi coast, the lemons are, of course, incredible – you won’t be able to replicate that. But you can certainly make very good limoncello. Buy organic lemons if you can, since the peel is what you will be using.


You will need a large glass jar Zest of 6 or 7 large organic lemons 1 litre of pure grain alcohol or vodka 5 cups (1250 ml) water 3 cups (700 gr) sugar


Wash all the lemons using a brush and warm water to remove all the pesticides and dirt. After washing the lemons, dry them with a paper towel. Peel the zest from the lemons with a vegtable peeler and place them into a large glass jar. Try to avoid the bitter white pith of the lemon skin, under the yellow zest.  
Place all the lemon peels in a glass jar and add the liter of grain alcohol. Let the peels and grain alcohol age for at least a month. I usually leave it for 6 weeks. Stir it once a week with a metal or wood spoon.
After a month of aging, the liqueur is ready to be strained. Strain the liqueur with a strainer to remove all the lemon peels. Then filter it with a coffee filter to remove any small particles like pieces of pith. Note: Notice how the alcohol turned to a dark yellow (more like an orange color) after a month of aging.
Make a simple syrup by boiling the water and adding the sugar. Stir constantly until all the sugar dissolves completely. Let the syrup cool down. Add the simple syrup to the filtered liqueur. Note: As soon as you add the simple syrup to the liqueur, it is going to change color. It will go from a clear orange color to a bright cloudy yellow.
Use a funnel to pour all the limoncello into the bottles. Italians typically keep a bottle in the freezer, ready for guests or the right mood. The alcohol content of about 30 percent won’t let it freeze. NOTE: The limoncello will keep for one to two years. Store it in bottles with a cap or cork in your bar or cellar. When you want to drink it, chill the limoncello in the refrigerator or freezer before serving. What to do with all the lemons after you are done zesting them for the limoncello? I made a big batch of homemade lemonade!

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