Italian Drink

How To Make Homemade “Italian Limoncello”

One of the most famous digestivi, or after-dinner drinks, in Italy, limoncello is also the pride and joy of Italy’s Campania and Liguria regions.

And with reason.

If you’ve ever had a sip of this sweet, almost fluorescent-yellow liqueur (perhaps poured for you as a sign of thanks after a dinner in Italy?), you know that it’s not like any other digestivo.




Makes About 2 Fifths  


  • 8 lemons
  • 1 qt. 100 proof vodka
  • 2 cups of sugar (1 lb.)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 vanilla bean, open vertically, seeds scraped (optional)


The Lemons  

Wash thoroughly the lemons. Use a potato peeler to carefully peel the lemons without removing the pith, the white part of the skin which is bitter.

In a large and airtight jar mix the peels, the vodka, the vanilla bean, split in half and marinate for at least 10 days. Place the jar in a cool place and shake it every day.

The Syrup 

In a saucepan, over a medium heat, combine and mix the sugar and the water; keep stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat and simmer the syrup for 15 minutes, without boiling it. Set aside to cool.

Combine the cooled syrup with the citrus infusion, seal the jar and let it sit for a few days.

The Limoncello 

Strain the rosolio using a paper filter or a piece of cotton cloth or a few layers of cheesecloth; discard the lemons’ skin and the vanilla bean.
Bottle and seal the rosolio that will be ready to use in about two weeks.


To prepare Orange or Tangerine Rosolio, substitute bloody oranges or tangerines to the lemons.


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