How To Make Limoncello

A couple weeks back I got the hare-brained idea to DIY my own bottle of limoncello, a lemon liqueur that is traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner digestivo. My mom has a Meyer lemon tree at home in Florida (jealous, I know!), and she made her own limoncello once. So, it’s been in the back of my mind since then. And today is the day I am making it happen!

First thing you should know if you want to make limoncello: You’ve got to be patient. The recipe I found requires 3 weeks of waiting around before you can imbibe your creation. Some recipes say you should wait even longer (typically, the longer you wait, the smoother it will be)!

Other than time, limoncello only requires 4 other ingredients. It’s super simple! So, if you’re still game, here’s how you do it. The recipe calls for:

  • The zest of 10 lemons
  • 1 liter of vodka (Svedka is always my go-to vodka)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 cups of water


Step 1: Zest your lemons and infuse the vodka.

Start with clean lemons, preferably organic. Using a vegetable peeler, zest your lemons taking care not to catch the white pith which will make your limoncello bitter. Then, store your vodka and lemon zest at room temperature in a sealed container and wait 7 days. If you want, stir the mixture once or twice during the week.

Step 2: Strain and add simple syrup
Combine the water and sugar in a sauce pan and heat on a low setting until the sugar has dissolved. While mixture cools, strain the zest from your vodka. Then, add the cooled simple syrup to the vodka, mix and seal again. Let stand at room temperature for 2 weeks.

Step 3: Chill and drink
You’re almost there! Store your stash in the freezer overnight and then have a shot after dinner the next day.

I’ve only done Step 1 so far. I’ll be back in about 3 weeks to let you know how it turns out!