August 8, 2010

Back in May I asked the neighbor if she had any lemoncello that I could use for a recipe.  My sweet Italian neighbor did.  She actually had some that her friend made.  My neighbor brought it home with her from her last trip to Italy.  It made me want to make some myself. 

I started the process a few weeks later.  I’m 3/4 of the way done.  Yesterday I spent part of the day driving around looking for bottles to put the liqueur in. 

My neighbor has been asking me about the lemoncello and my husband assured him we would be drinking some on Halloween.  I actually plan to give this away at Christmas along with another liqueur that I’ll post later.   This recipe is a lesson in patience, it takes a long while to make this wonderful liqueur.

I must say, though that when I went to purchase the Everclear, I thought it was much cheaper.  Maybe because I associate Everclear with college and college with no funds. 


  • 15-20 organic lemons (I used 18 and then made lemonade)
  • 2- 750-ml bottles of Everclear
  • 2-3 C Water
  • 2-4 C Sugar

First find a large glass jar with a sealed lid.  Make sure that it’s sterilized.  I know that’s a no brainer, but I feel I should mention it regardless.  I found this jar on eBay. 

Wash and dry the lemons.  I listed organic lemons because they need to be unwaxed.  Smell them, they should smell good.  Remove the peel from the lemons with a sharp peeler or fine grater/zester.  Avoid the white pith.  If peeling the lemons, please note that if any white pith remains on the back of the peel, scrape it off.  If the pith gets into the batch, the lemoncello will be bitter.  Put the peels in the glass jar and add the Everclear.  (You could substitute the Everclear for cheap 80 proof vodka, but the Everclear is best because it has no sugar in it.)  Make sure that there is at least a two-inch space below the top rim.  Seal tightly.

Leave the peels to steep in the jar in a cool, dark place until the peels lose their color, about 2-3 months.  This will make the lemoncello extra yummy.  Every few weeks you can swirl the liquid in the jar but it isn’t necessary.

After the 2-3 months have passed, make a simple syrup. Put the water and the sugar in a saucepan.  A 1:1 ratio of sugar to water makes a classic simple syrup, but use more sugar if you want a thicker or sweeter liqueur.  Stir the sugar and slowly heat until  the water turns clear and all the sugar has dissolved completely.  Let the syrup cool and place the cooled syrup in the jar with the lemons.  Depending on the size of your jar, you may have to divide the batch into two jars.  Put the jars back in a cool dark place for about a month.

After a month, strain out the lemon peels through a coffee filter or cheesecloth and pour the lemoncello into another container.  Press down to remove all the liqueur and oils from the peels before tossing them in the trash.  Stir the liquid with a clean plastic or wooden spoon.  Put the liqueur in clean bottles, seal tightly and leave the finished bottles for at least a week before using. 

Store in the freezer.

I like to put a little bit of the lemoncello in the bottom of a glass and add some sweet tea with ice.  Very refreshing on a hot day.


Oh, and my Italian neighbor stopped by last night and we sampled some.  It still has about two weeks to go, but we were too excited not to give it a try.  We loved it!



  1. That looks delicious! You have the patience of a saint. Hmmm…should I even try to attempt this?

  2. […] made this over the summer while making lemoncello and just realized I never […]

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