A glass of limoncello with lemons on a chopping board

Limoncello recipe: simple, summery and delicious

The sunny, terraced hills in the Amalfi are perfect for growing lemons. So it should come as no surprise that limoncello originated here in the early 1900s. The peels of these large, yellow lemons are used to make this beverage, with the alcohol releasing the essential oils which give the drink its flavour.

Although it can look like lemonade at first glance, limoncello has a high alcohol content and is used by locals as both an aperitif and as a digestif. Served it in a shot glass or cordial glass, limoncello is meant to be sipped slowly.

Limoncello should be kept in the refrigerator and served cold. If you like, you can chill cordial glasses in the freezer ahead of time. It also makes a good dessert drink. 


  • 8 lemons
  • 750 ml Pure Proof 151
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water


  1. 1
    Scrubbing the surface of the lemons. Then using a potato peeler, peel the lemons into a wide-mouthed 1L jar. Try to avoid the bitter white pith under the peel.
  2. 2
    Pour the alcohol over the lemon peel and seal the jar.
  3. 3
    Store the jar in a cool, dark place for five days.
  4. 4
    After the peels have soaked in the alcohol for at least five days, strain the liquid into a large bowl. Leave them in the strainer for at least 10 minutes - you don't waste any of the alcohol!
  5. 5
    While the peels are draining, make the simple syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a pot over low to medium heat . Make sure to stir the mixture until the sugar completely dissolves. Once the sugar dissolves, remove it from the heat. Let the mixture return to room temperature - this should take approximately 20 minutes.
  6. 6
    Once the syrup has cooled, discard the lemon peels. Then add the sugar mixture to the lemon-infused alcohol.
  7. 7
    Transfer the alcohol into tall bottles using a funnel. Place the bottles in the refrigerator for two days to allow the flavours to blend.

If you prefer a stronger libation, decrease the amount of water and sugar to two cups of each.

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Donna Emperador

Author - Donna Emperador

Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. She believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers.

Last Updated 19 October 2022


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