A guide to making your own Italian inspired limoncello

The wonderfully fragrant fresh lemon liquor is produced mainly in the southern regions of Italy, with the intense lemon flavour coming from a generation of nurturing to ensure that the raw products are at their very finest before they become limoncello. It is no wonder that this sweet treat is Italy’s second most popular liquor, served as an after-dinner digestive, and we’re here to give you a recipe to make your very own!

Experiment with making limoncello before your Tuscany holidays

Traditionally, limoncello is made from the zest of a particular type of lemon, the Femminello St. Teresa lemons, which are otherwise known as Sorrento or Sfusato lemons. The zest is then steeped until the lemony oils are released, and this forms the main basis of the delectable drink. This simple mix is then mixed with a sugar syrup and 94% grain alcohol, and this determines the clarity, flavour and quality overall. It really is that simple, so here we have a short guide on how to make your very own Italian inspired limoncello, so you can experience one of the incredible Italian indulgences from your own home whilst you wait to venture off on your Tuscany holidays!


1l bottle of vodka

5 un-waxed lemons

750ml boiling water

700g caster sugar


Step 1. Zest all five lemons, you can do this using a sharp knife, peeler or zester, but be careful not to include any of the white pith from the lemons, as this can make it bitter.

Step 2. Put the lemon zest into a large, clean jar, and pour over the 1l of vodka, this will need a well-fitting lid to ensure that it does not leak as you shake it.

Step 3. This mixture will need to be shaken every day for one week, then you are ready to move onto the next step.

Step 4. Once your vodka lemon zest mixture has had a week to infuse, it is time to make the sugar syrup. This is simply done by combing the 700g of sugar with the 750ml of boiling water in a heatproof bowl, you will need to stir this mixture until all the sugar has dissolved.

Step 5. Add the cooled sugar syrup to the large jar, and leave all the ingredients to further infuse for another week. You should continue to shake the jar once a day for a week.

Step 6. It is finally time for you to enjoy your delectable drink, strain off the liquid and using a funnel, then pour the dewy liquid into a bottle and pop it in the freezer, as this is certainly a drink best served ice cold!

Let us know how you get on with your very own limoncello making by tagging our Instagram account @essentialitaly in your photographs, we’d love to see the results!

Image: Erik Forsberg/Flickr under Creative Commons