Recipe type: Drink
  • 10 organic lemons, washed and dried
  • 750ml (1.5 US pint) vodka
  • 1 to 4 cups sugar, to taste
  • 1 to 4 cups water, to taste
Peel the lemons:
  1. Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the peels from all the lemons. Try to remove only the outer yellow skin and as little of the pith as possible. Trim away any large pieces of pith with a paring knife, but don't worry about trimming every last scrap.
Cover the peels with vodka:
  1. Transfer the lemon peels to a 1-quart or 1-litre jar and cover with vodka. Secure the lid.
Infuse the vodka:
  1. Let the vodka and lemon peels infuse somewhere out of the way and out of direct sunlight for at least 4 days or as long as a month (I let mine sit for about 5 weeks). The longer you let the vodka infuse, the more lemony your Limoncello.
Strain the vodka:
  1. Remove the lemon peel with tongs or a slotted spoon and keep aside (only if you do the optional step below; otherwise discard). Line a strainer with a large coffee filter (I used muslin) and set it over a 4-cup measuring cup or bowl. Strain the infused vodka through the filter. You may need to stir the vodka in the strainer if the flow stops.
Prepare sugar syrup:
  1. Prepare a sugar syrup of at least 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar — bring the water to a simmer and stir in the sugar to dissolve; allow to cool.
Mix the sugar syrup with the infused vodka:
  1. Pour the sugar syrup into the infused vodka. Stir gently to mix. Taste and add additional sugar syrup if desired.*
Optional step:
  1. You can, as I did, return the Limoncello to the original jar/s and put the lemon peel back in with it, to let it sit for a further 1-2 weeks before straining and bottling.
Bottle the Limoncello:
  1. If you've kept the peel in with the Limoncello, remove the peel with tongs or a slotted spoon. Then insert a funnel into the neck of your storing bottle/s (I stored mine in the same jars I used previously) and fill with Limoncello. Repeat with remaining bottles.
Chill and store:
  1. Chill the Limoncello in the fridge or freezer for at least 4 hours before drinking. Limoncello can be kept in the fridge for up to a month or the freezer for up to a year (and often much longer!). It can get a little 'cloudy' over time; just give it a good shake before serving.
  1. Serve Limoncello chilled, straight from the fridge.
*You can play with the ratios of water to sugar. Start with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar, taste the limoncello, and add additional sugar syrup gradually until you reach a flavor you like — up to 4 cups of water with 4 cups of sugar. More water will dilute the alcohol base, making a less alcoholic, milder, and smoother-sipping liqueur. More sugar will make a sweeter limoncello. NB: I used two cups of water/two cups of sugar in my syrup.
Recipe by The Kiwi Cook at