Limoncello – an exercise in superlative restraint

limoncello final

limoncello – summertime

Limoncello is an excellent summery drink and a breeze to make. I’m always inspired to make it towards the end of summer, then realise that it won’t be ready to drink for weeks. But patience is always rewarded with this divine liquor and really, it is a good pick-me-up all year round.

I have always made this with vodka, but I am sure using pure alcohol would give it an extra punch. My biggest recommendation is to be very careful when zesting the lemons to avoid any of the white pith – as it is quite tragic to get to the magical tasting time and find the limoncello you have been ‘brewing’ for nearly a month is tainted with bitterness.

It is very easy to use superlatives when describing the taste of limoncello… I will restrain myself though, as I want to hold onto this batch for as long as I can.



limocello startup

All you need to get started!

Adapted from: What’s Cooking America


  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Makes about 750 ml


Stage One

  • 3-4 lemons
  • 250 ml vodka or pure alcohol

Stage Two

  • 500 mL water
  • 250 g sugar


Stage One:

  • Wash the lemons well and carefully remove rind using a zester or peeler, ensuring no white pith remains (will make the limoncello bitter).
  • Mix the rind and vodka and pour into a large (750 ml) sterilized bottle or preserving jar (sterilize bottle/jar in oven for ten minutes or pour in boiling water and let it sit for ten minutes).
  • Store in a cool dark place for 10-12 days.

limoncello zest

vodka and lemon zest after two weeks

Stage Two:

  • Make a syrup with the water and sugar (heat on stovetop to dissolve), allow to cool completely, then combine with the lemon rind/vodka mix.
  • Continue to let it infuse for a further 10-12 days.
  • Filter, discard the rind, then store in a sterilized jar (in freezer).
  • Serve cold.


One thought on “Limoncello – an exercise in superlative restraint

  1. Pingback: Bernie’s baked lemon tart | short and sweet

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