Limoncello II

Back in 2014 I posted my (then) favourite recipe for making home made limoncello. As the years have passed I’ve been re-educated by an Italian lady who’s family know how to throw together a good lunch with them all cooking up a storm and providing fabulous food.

There’s a few subtle changes to the previous recipe but the most obvious difference is that this recipe takes just 7 days rather than the 40 days for the previous Teramo recipe I was given.

The ingredients are:

5 or 6 large Italian unwaxed lemons or 10 average sized supermarket ones

1 litre of alcohol 95% proof

750g granulated sugar

1.25 litres water

Limoncello 1

If you use the small supermarket lemons you’ll need around 10, but the large pale lemons that they sell here are the best as they have more oil in the peel.

You’ll need a large container with a lid in which to make the limoncello and a knife or potato peeler. Once you have everything to hand it’s time to put it all together.

Take off the outer skin of the lemon; I find  using a potato peeler is most effective as you don’t get too much pith, as this will make the liquor bitter.

Limoncella 2



You will only need the peel but there’s no need to waste the lemons, they’re still good for cooking or in a G&T or my top tip is juice them and freeze in trays for lemon ice cubes which are perfect on a hot day in your drink.


Limoncello 3


Once you have all your lemons peeled, add the skins to your container and add the alcohol. Give it swirl around to make sure all the peel is in contact with the spirit, then screw on the lid and put it to one side for 7 days.

You’ll notice after an hour that the spirit has become pale yellow, this is the oil from the lemon peel being absorbed.


There’s no need to shake it or stir, but you will notice as the days pass the peel will lose all of its colour until 7 days later when it will be white.

After 7 days it’s time to make the sugar syrup, add just over a litre of cold water into a pan (I use around 1.25 litres), then pour in 750g of white granulated sugar and put a medium heat under it dissolve the sugar. Don’t be tempted to stir it as it’ll make the syrup stringy and will look unattractive in the bottle. When it’s all dissolved allow it to cool down completely. Do something else to take your mind off it, I’m writing this as mine cools and as usual the iPod is on shuffle and Happy People the classic track by jazz/funk combo Brass Construction has started to play.

Limoncello 4

Once cooled drain the spirit, you notice that the lemon peel, now devoid of oil has turned white and is quite brittle.

Mix the sugar syrup and spirit and it’ll turn the more recognisable yellow colour that you’ll see in the shops. (I’ve only got coloured glass bottles so for the final image I’ve poured a little into a clear glass jar).

Decant into bottles and store in the fridge. I always keep a small bottle in the freezer to drink it completely chilled. Have fun making this and remember to drink responsibly. By responsibly I mean be sure to share it with friends.

Limoncello 5


I love a drop of limoncello, and for me it’s best served as cold as a polar bears nether regions, straight from the freezer. Anyone who likes this after dinner tipple should take a trip to Sorrento where every street seems to have a shop selling the intoxicating yellow liquid. Commercially manufactured limoncello ranges from a very sweet tasting drink to bright yellow concoctions that scream additives and e numbers.

The best limoncello, in my opinion is the home made variety, and everyone has their own recipe and preference. Friends in Cheshire make a delicious liqueur with a mix of lemon and lime. Using the same process, I’ve made an orange variety, which I wasn’t keen on, a grapefruit one which was mind-numbing but very good; not for people on statin medications though and even a strawberry variety. But it’s the lemon that works best for me and today I started my first batch of 2014.


So for those of you thinking of having a go at it, here’s my recipe:


5 lemons (unwaxed)

1 litre of 95 proof alcohol (a good quality vodka works if you can’t source clear alcohol)

1 litre of water

750g of granulated sugar

1 five litre bottle of red wine (optional)

First drink the 5 litres of red wine so you have a large container to make your limoncello in. It’s probably best you make this a couple of days after the consumption of the wine as you may have a heady hangover. Wash and using a potato peeler, peel the skin from the lemons and drop it into the empty bottle, then add the juice of 4 of the lemons and slice the remaining lemon to drop into gin and tonic later in the day. Try to make sure no lemon pips drop into the jar as these can make the limoncello bitter. Add the litre of alcohol, screw on the lid and wait for 40 days. (There is one school of thought that says the oils from the lemon skins are absorbed in 3 days, but as I’ve never made a 3 day liqueur I can’t vouch for the reliability.)

After 40 days add the sugar to a litre of cold water and put over a low light to dissolve, do not stir the sugar solution as it creates stringy threads in the liquid. Once the sugar has dissolved put the liquid aside to cool down completely. Strain the lemon infused alcohol through a fine sieve to remove any pulp and skin and then add the cold sugar solution.  Bottle and store in a cold place, preferably the freezer and drink at your leisure.