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recipes  /  Limoncello this recipe: Print
cookbook: Lidia's Italy in America
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serves: 1 1/2 quarts

I’m sure just about everyone who has travelled to Italy was offered limoncello at some point or other during the trip. This delightful lemon-flavored drink is a custom in southern Italy, but now limoncello has crossed into not only all of Italy, but also across the Atlantic and into the United States. You can now make limoncello easily at home – no need to travel – and this recipe also works well with oranges. Limoncello is best served cold. Keep a bottle in the freezer for your guests.


Peel of 15 lemons
750-milliliter bottle of vodka
3½ cups water
2½ cups sugar


Wash and pat dry the lemons. Use a vegetable peeler to zest them, making sure to omit the white pith. (The pith would make the limoncello bitter.)

Stir the lemon peels into the vodka in a glass jar. Cover, and keep in a cool, dark place for 30 days. (There is no need to stir or mix the liquid.) When it is ready, the liquid will smell strongly of lemon rinds and be a deep-yellow color.

Bring water and sugar to a boil and boil for 5 to 7 minutes; let cool.

Add sugar syrup to the vodka and lemon zest, stir, and let rest for an additional 30 days, to let the flavors further mellow and blend with the sugar syrup.

Strain the limoncello through a moistened cheesecloth or coffee filters. Discard the lemon zest, pour the strained limoncello into your choice of bottle, and seal tightly.

This recipe is from Lidia’s newest book, Lidia’s Italy in America, which was released in October.

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