Italian Limoncello Recipe

This is an authentic limocello or limoncino recipe (depending on which part of Italy you happen to be in) gifted to me by the Fortiguerra Family and I am so glad to share it with you. Its roots is in Southern Italy, specifically, the Amalfi Coast, Sorento and the island of Capri. This yellow liquor is by far the most aromatic and balanced limocello you have ever tasted.


how to make Italian limoncello


(for a total of 3 liters of homemade limoncello)

12 big aromatic lemons, organic, with thick peel

1 liter (2,1 pint) pure alcohol (the purest you can get, i.e. 95-98% or 190 U.S. proof)

1.8 liters (3,8 pint) pure mountain still water

1kg (2,2 lb) granulated sugar

Other stuff you will need:

1 big glass jar with air-tight lid

Several glass bottles with an air-tight cap.


How to do it

Day 1: Instructions for the lemon zest

1. The lemon zest has the intense citrus lemon flavor with almost no bitter taste. The bitterness is found in the white part of the lemon, the white pith. For this reason, use a razor sharp knife and pare the zest with a lot of care to not go to deep and cut into the white pith.

2. Clean the big glass jar with boiled water and let it dry well. Pour in the alcohol and add the lemon zest.

3. Place the jar in a dry, dark and cool place fo up to 20 days and remember to stir and shake it gently it every day.

Day 20: Instructions for syrup

  1. Boil the mountain water in a large pot, adding the granulated sugar and stirring until the sugar dissolves completely.

  2. Let it come to room temperature

  3. Clean the bottles, you can also put them in boiling water and let them dry

  4. Filter the lemon zest alcohol mix

  5. Mix the lemon zest alcohol with the sirup at room temperature, stirring well.

  6. Place your new home-made limoncello in your nice bottles and put in the freezer.

  7. Ready to enjoy with people you love. Limoncello is also great to give as a homemade gift.



  • This, to me, is probably the most important thing to get right, if we want to make the real thing is to add the lemon peels in a high level of alcohol. The higher the better.

  • The sweeter and more aromatic your lemons are, the more sublime your limoncello will be.

  • Be careful while peeling the lemons, not to have any of the white bitter pith, or your drink is going to be bitter.

  • For the syrup use pure mountain still water.