Make Limoncello

Ahh Limoncello!  It’s that sweet, tart and refreshing Italian digestif that brings back memories of the Amalfi Coast.  Unfortunately, the store-bought stuff is medicinal sweet and brings back nightmares of my mom’s “homemade Chinese herbal medicine that cures EVERYTHING”.  The good news is, delicious Limoncello is rather simple to make at home!

Typically, Limoncello only requires three ingredients: sugar, spirit and lemon.  I have heard of some recipes that add herbs like rosemary, but I like to keep it sweet and simple and we will stick with the triumvirate.

Upon perusing the inter-webs, I found an interesting recipe that infused the wonderfully fragrant lemon taste into the spirit by suspension method.  I suspect that by suspending the lemons above the spirit, you can prevent some of the bitter after-taste you can get from the pith of the lemon.  According to a Gizmodo article, this creative masterpiece is the brainchild of Franny’s in Brooklyn.

Franny’s Limoncello Recipe – with modifications

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 bottle Skyy Vodka 750ml. (Apparently over proof vodka is even better to use since the high alcohol content prevents freezing in storage.  Unfortunately, you can only purchase over proof vodka in NJ)
  • 4 lemons, rinsed (organic)
  • Cheesecloth

To Finish:

  • 1.5 cups simple syrup (50/50 water and sugar by weight)
  • Zest of four lemons (organic)


  1. Pour vodka into a clean glass jar. (I used a 101 oz seal-able mason jar from Michael’s here)
  2. Wrap lemons in cheesecloth and suspend over vodka
  3. Seal tightly, and let sit undisturbed (in a cool, dark place) for one month.
  4. After one month, discard lemons, then add syrup and the fresh zest of four new lemons.
  5. Let sit for 15 minutes, and strain through a fine mesh sieve (or more cheesecloth).
  6. Chill and then drink up.

This recipe is super simple and the technique allows for a really fresh and light Limoncello which still retains all the lemony oils that I love.  While some prefer to sip Limoncello chilled and straight from a shot glass, I like having mine diluted and chilled with a few cubes of ice.  Enjoy!




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