During my trip to Italy, restaurants would serve a complimentary shot of Limoncello as an aperitif.  I love anything with lemons but found the Limoncello to be cloying
sweet. I was driven to come home and attempt my own version with far less sugar.

I looked at several recipes and combined them into what I thought would make a Limoncello more to my likening – Less sweet and lighter – tasting more like a Lemon Drop Martini.  I made a couple of batches and tried them out on my friends.

The Limoncello has been met with rave reviews!

The biggest difference is that I put in about half the sugar that is called for in most recipes.  Some friends drink it in the traditional fashion – chilled from the freezer, while others have pushed on to new frontiers. One added Limoncello to her Earl Gray tea and another mixed it with tonic.  In any event, I hope you enjoy the Limoncello you create.  I would love to hear about your results and how you vary the recipe or process.


One Bottle (750 ml) Everclear

One Bottle (750 ml) 100% Vodka – Smirnoff is fine

20 lemons (10 per bottle)

2 cups of sugar (about)

2 cups of water (about)

This is the “to taste part” and it depends on how long the peels are left in during the infusion stage.


Rinse and brush the lemons – clean very well

Peel the lemons – avoiding the bitter pith – I use a vegetable peeler

Combine the peels and alcohol in a large leak proof container with a wide mouth that you can get a ladle in (easier to get the peels out later).

Leave peels in the container for 4 to 6 weeks.

Leaving the peels in the container: You can leave the peels as few as two weeks or as long as four months. After two weeks you will produce a Limoncello on par with what you can buy in the U.S. I like mine with a deeper lemon flavor and leave the peels in about 5 to 6 weeks. Some recipes say to swirl the concoction once a week, others don’t. I swirl every so often.

This is a good time to buy your bottles – go online. You need metal clip top bottles.


It is time to take the peels out of the Limoncello. Use a large slotted spoon to remove the peels. I put them in a large bowl to drain and pour the “drippings” back into the container. Waste not, want not!

Strain the Limoncello – You do this to get rid of the impurities. I use paper coffee filters, a funnel, and a coffee mug, for draining. This part is so sloooowwww. Wet the filter so it does not absorb your precious Limoncello. I change the filter every once in a while, it helps the draining to go a little faster.

MAKE THE SIMPLE SYRUP – 2 cups water to 2 cups sugar. Bring the syrup to a boil and then cool to room temperature.

This is where you tinker with the flavor. REMEMBER – This is half the amount of sugar called for in most recipes.  Sometimes I add a little extra syrup and/or water. 

Combine the Limoncello and the simple syrup in the large container and leave for another week to let the flavors blend.


HERE IS THE BEST PART – Drink your Limoncello and spread the cheer.



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Filed under Infused Drinks, Limoncello, Uncategorized

8 responses to “DONATO’S LIMONCELLO

  1. Yours is the best! The only other limoncello I’ve had that comes close (not too close,tho) to yours was at Il Matterello, a wonderful, small, family-owned Italian restaurant in La Boca where they make their own too! Yum!

  2. Emilie

    It’s yummy! I can say that because I have some. Very Refreshing.

  3. Martha


  4. OK. waiting for invite to try yours. I started preserved lemon to add to my tagine recipes. Sounds like a party to me.

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