Limoncello… When Life Gives You Lemons

This is an adaptation of my Italian mom’s recipe. I think this version is a bit smoother and the ingredients are easier to find, but if you feel strongly about such things, I’ll try to get her version out of her.  🙂


  • 1 Bottle of Everclear or anything clear very high (190) proof alcohol, 750ml
  • 12-20 Lemons (depending on size/quality)
  • 1 large, wide-mouth Mason jar, 32ounces
  • 1 Bottle of Vodka, 750ml
  • 1 Water, 750ml
  • 4 Cup Granulated Sugar

If you can peel the lemons into long strips, without getting much pith on it, that is best (easier to handle/strain and less flavor lost from the zesting process). If not, zesting is fine. The goal is not to lose too much flavor from over processing the peel/zest.

Put zest/peels in a large, wide-mouth seal-able jar (like a large mason jar) with just the Everclear. Seal well! Store this in a cool, dark place for a minimum of 4 days and up to 4 weeks. Shake occasionally. Do not refrigerate!

When finished steeping in 4 days/weeks, make simple syrup with water and sugar in the second part of the recipe. Allow syrup to cool to room temperature. Strain Everclear infusion with fine strainer or cheese cloth. Combine strained infusion, simple syrup and vodka in seal-able bottle (I use flip-top wine making bottles), shake/mix thoroughly and refrigerate.

Serve ice-cold in small, chilled shot glasses as an apéritif or digestif, or use in cocktails and mixed drinks.

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