Limoncello - Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy!

Limoncello – Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy!

Ah, Limoncello!  Love it or hate it (and most people love it when they drink it correctly chilled), it’s like distilled sunshine, absorbing all the sunlight it took to grow the lemons at its core.  I LOVE the taste of lemon; it’s one of those flavours that sums up the Mediterranean in general and Italy in particular.  I’m waxing lyrical again…the only type of waxing allowed here, as Limoncello must be made from unwaxed lemons!


As you can see from this photo of the contents of my kitchen window sill, I’m currently in the process of making up a batch of this boozy lemony drink for my two E17 Art Trail supper clubs titled ‘Art on a Plate’. Limoncello’s intense flavour and colour, and its strong associations with the sun, sum up the artwork that has inspired the final digestivo course on my ‘art history/art inspiration’ menu.  What artwork is that?  Now that would be telling!  You’ll have to book a place and come along to find out…


If we were in Italy, I’d be able to buy pure alcohol to make this with, as making your own flavoured liqueurs is a bit of a national pastime.  However  pure alcohol is difficult to source over here in the UK and I think it’s perfectly permissible to substitute good quality vodka as a base.  At only 40 per cent proof, it will be kinder on your liver too!

Limoncello needs to be served well chilled as a digestivo after a meal – don’t chill it sufficiently and you run the risk that it will taste too sweetly cloying and that zingy lemony hit will be obscured.  It’s also really delicious poured over ice cream – Italians LOVE pouring all sorts of alcohol over their ice cream!

By the way, if you’re looking to make your own gifts for Christmas, Limoncello makes a great homemade gift when decanted into decorative bottles.  Your friends will thank you for giving them a little drop of sunshine in the depths of winter!

Anyway here is the recipe:


Heart 4 pt5 unwaxed lemons – Italian ones from the Amalfi coast if you can lay your hands on them!

Heart 4 pt1 litre bottle of good quality vodka

Heart 4 pt750g caster sugar

Heart 4 pt700ml boiling water


Heart 4 ptPare the zest from all the lemons, taking great care not to include any of the bitter white pith.

Heart 4 ptPut the zest in a large sterilised jar and pour the vodka over it.

Heart 4 ptCover with a tightly fitting lid and leave for a week, shaking the jar each day.

Heart 4 ptAt the end of a week, put the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and then let the liquid cool down.

Heart 4 ptAdd to the vodka and peels and leave for a further week, shaking the jar regularly.

Heart 4 ptStrain into bottles, adding a few strips of lemon zest to each bottle if you want for decorative effect.

Like I said –  Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy – now you have Limoncello!