At first, I thought the worst part of making limoncello was going to be having to carefully zest all of the lemons. But once I put everything in the jar and closed the lid it was then that I realized the hardest part, the wait! I’ll have to wait about three weeks before savoring a small glass of this amazingly sweet and potent Italian liqueur.


Limoncello. Photo by Leslie Brienza


 Enjoying a limoncello in Italy is like experiencing something from another planet. On several lucky occasions there were those hot afternoons in Tuscany I remember where the restaurant owners just happened to have a homemade stash behind the counter. They would always be happy to share and enjoy a small glass and some relaxing conversation with their new American friends.
Well, my first attempt is resting in a cool, dark place now and in about two weeks I will let it see the light of day and that is when I will add the final ingredient, simple syrup.  Ah, I am already dreaming of Sorrento!
Even though I am not using the Femminello St. Teresa lemons from the south of Italy, I am sure the final product won’t disappoint. I am told the traditional way to make limoncello is in a terracotta vase. I will have to explore that more in depth next time. For now, we will have to get by with a glass mason jar.

Here is the recipe I adapted from my cousin, Pietro. I will post some images in a few weeks once it is ready. Have you ever made limoncello and if so, how did it turn out?  Leave your comments below. Ciao!!


Write a review
Prep Time
45 min
Prep Time
45 min
  1. 8 lemons, zested
  2. 1 4" cinnamon stick
  3. 750 ml 100 proof vodka
  4. 3 1/2 cups filtered water
  5. 3 cups sugar
  1. Sterilize a half gallon mason jar in oven for ten minutes at 225 degrees without opening oven.
  2. After ten minutes turn oven off and let jar stay in oven until ready to use.
  3. Zest lemons using a vegetable peeler or small knife. Make sure only to zest the yellow and not the white part.
  4. Once jar is cool pour vodka inside and add lemon zest and cinnamon stick
  5. Close jar tightly and store in cool, dark place for 16 days, turning lightly to mix twice a week.
  6. After 16 days, heat water in medium saucepan and add sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved and almost reaches a boil to make a simple syrup. Cool completely.
  7. Add simple syrup to vodka mixture and stir gently
  8. Leave to rest for another seven to ten days to mellow out and incorporate the flavors.
  9. Strain through a cheesecloth into sterilized limoncello bottles. Enjoy!
  1. ~Sterilize jar before using
  2. ~Avoid zesting any white part of the lemons
  3. ~Use organic lemons if possible
  4. ~Make sure the vodka is 100 proof
  5. ~Order limoncello bottles during the resting period. World Market and Fishs Eddy have a nice selection of thin bottles
Adapted from my cousin Pietro's recipe
Adapted from my cousin Pietro's recipe
A Kiss in the Kitchen