How to Make the Best Limoncello at Home

Limoncello is a famous Italian liquor that is usually served as a digestive after dinner. This is the perfect conclusion to mealtime when you simply relax and enjoy small talk with friends and family. And those people usually buy it bottled in shops; limoncello is a popular homemade drink in Italy. So, let’s follow the tradition and prepare the drink at home as well. 

When browsing, you can stumble upon a few variables when it comes to homemade limoncello. However, the basic ingredients remain constant: lemons, vodka, sugar, water. With these four essential ingredients, you can make a delicious drink and taste the hot Italian evening bottled at your home! 

Now, let’s take a closer look at all possible ingredients, dissect the taste, and learn the perfect recipe for an authentic limoncello. 

What Is Limoncello Made From? 

limoncello recipe

As I’ve mentioned, there are only four basic ingredients required for the drink. 

  • Lemons as the base 
  • Vodka for fun 
  • Sugar to make your life sweeter
  • Water to mix it all

For the traditional limoncello recipe, you need no additional ingredients. However, numerous chefs and bartenders have come up with bits and pieces to add extra oomph. For example, among some widely used ingredients are cinnamon, berries (whole berries as a garnish), as well strawberry or raspberry-infused variations. 

What Is the Unique Taste of Limoncello? 

To taste the traditional limoncello as it should be, you’ll have to travel all the way to Italy. And what a trip it would be! Thus, I recommend you this country for the next vacation to try limoncello and lots of other national drinks and dishes. Check out this travel guide on the best cities in Italy based on my trip. 

Switching back to the taste, I was lucky to visit Southern Italy, the place where the liquor is believed to originate. As it turns out, the locals truly know the secret of making the tastiest limoncello in the world. Though, as it turns out, there is no secret ingredient at all! You just have to follow all procedures to the dot. And add a bit of love when making limoncello, of course. 

The traditional recipe, without the fancy additions, has a strong citrusy taste (well, duh!) with a slight sweetness to it. There is also a certain range to the sweetness that depends on the amount of sugar syrup added. Each family has its own preference. 

How Can You Drink Limoncello?

Limoncello is a liquor of approximately 25%-30% of alcohol. Thus, it is suitable for various purposes. 

You can sip it on its own as an after-dish digestive. 

You can mix it with sparkling water.

You can make a variety of cocktails with it. 

There are no limits when it comes to limoncello, only your imagination. 

The Best Limoncello Recipe

making limoncello

Let’s learn how to make limoncello. The basis of the drink is the proper process of infusion. Overall, there is nothing hard in making this drink at home. It can be done in 3 easy steps. The prep time will take 15 mins max; you’ll just have to do the waiting! 

  1. Take the zest of 10 lemons and pour over one bottle of vodka. Place the mix in a jar with a tight lid and leave it to infuse for a week. (the infusion time ranges from 4 days to a month.) 
  2. In a pan, mix 750 g sugar and 800 ml of boiling water. Stir until sugar dissolves. Leave it cool. 
  3. Add the syrup to the jar with unfused lemon and leave for another week. 

Before serving the drink, strain the limoncello and cool it in a fridge! Voila! That is all your need to make the delicious Italian liquor with minimum ingredients at home. 

Tip: be sure to check the lemons you but for the waxy cover. It is hard to wash off (and it doesn’t go away completely anyway.) I buy them on a farmer’s market or at other places I trust. 

For infusion, use pure grain alcohol, like Smirnoff or Absolut vodka. 

Bon Appetit!

With this recipe, you are guaranteed to get a drink that conforms to all Italian standards. However, if you find that it is too sweet for your taste (or not enough), feel free to adjust the amount of sugar you add. Also, there is no strict rule as to what alcohol percentage the drink should have. So, feel free to sightly! increase or decrease the amount of vodka you add. 

The rule of thumb is the longer you infuse the drink, the stronger and bolder taste you get! However, the citrusy flavor works its magic in the first few days. 

I hope you can make the perfect homemade limoncello with this recipe, cook some pasta (or you can check my list of the popular Italian dishes for inspiration), and host a relaxing Italian dinner in a couple of weeks!