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Making Limoncello

One of the great things about travelling is experiencing the food and beverages of different countries as they have been produced for years and years and recipes handed down from family to family. 

When we were in Italy, this is something we definitely sought out, back street restaurants that were run by family, with mamas and nonnas cooking away in the kitchen while the children served in the front of house.  When exploring the Amalfi Coast, we came across a family shop in Amalfi (town) that produced all things lemon from the beautiful local lemons of the area.  Beautifully bottled limoncello and amazing lemon sweets were our favourites (we only wished we'd bought more of both!)  Talking to the shopkeeper, we discovered the limoncello (and many of the other products sold in their shop), were still handmade by their grandfather in their 'factory' just down the road.  The grandfather was still reluctant to pass on too many secrets about the making of the delicious limoncello to his children and grandchildren as he wasn't sure they could make it as well as him! 

Our supply of limoncello is running very low, so we decided that we would try and make some of our own.  We purchased many tea towels from each place we visited in Italy, a reminder of each special place to take home with us. Some were of the places itself, others with recipes or ingredients famous from that area, pizzas, pane (breads), dolci (desserts), chilli and more.  One of the tea towels was a Limoncello tea towel, complete with a recipe to make limoncello. 


I'm not sure if this is a 'perfect recipe' yet, but I am using it as a starting point and will then experiment from there.

The first batch is infusing away. I'll let you know how it progresses. For now, here is the first batch recipe from the Limoncello tea towel. 

Limoncello recipe

1 litre alcohol 90 proof (approx 45% alcohol)

8 lemons

1 litre of water

600 grams of sugar


Cut the peel of the lemons and leave to rest in alcohol in a glass container for about 20 days.

After this time, simmer the sugar in the water over a low heat until you have a transparent infusion. Turn off the heat and add the lemon infusion filtered with cheesecloth.

Let it cool and strain the mixture a few times.

Pour the limoncello into glass bottles and refrigerate.

It can be enjoyed after a week served absolutely frozen


While limoncello is most commonly enjoyed as an after-dinner drink, you can also: 

  • Drizzle it over gelato or fresh fruit
  • Swirl it into champagne or sparking water
  • Stir it into pastry cream or drizzle it over pound cake
  • Impart a lemony sweet flavor to homemade cocktails
  • Spike your lemonade!
  • Stir it into icing and drizzle over a lemon or ginger cake
Limoncello Limoncello