Recipe courtesy of Dana Beninati

Homemade Limoncello

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 14 days 10 min (includes infusing time)
  • Active: 10 min
  • Yield: about 3 cups
If you have yet to try limoncello, you are in for a sweet treat! It's an Italian lemon liquor that my nonna would always serve in chilled glasses after a big family feast. My father grew up in Sicily, where lemon trees are abundant, but limoncello can be found all over southern Italy. It's lovely when sipped straight out of the freezer, poured over vanilla ice cream or spun into cocktails, like my Italian 75 or Spicy Italian Margarita. Cheers!



  1. Zest just the yellow portion of the lemon peels with a rasp grater, avoiding any of the bitter white pith. You should have about 1/4 cup zest. Transfer the zest to a jar or other airtight container. Add the vodka, seal and shake to combine. Set aside in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks.
  2. Strain the infused vodka through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. You may need to line the sieve with a coffee filter to catch all of the zest. Discard the zest (or dehydrate it and add to the salt for rimming my Spicy Italian Margarita). 
  3. If making your own simple syrup, combine the sugar with 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.  
  4. Combine 3/4 cup of the simple syrup (or more, if desired) with the infused vodka. Store in an airtight bottle in the freezer for up to 6 months.  

Cook’s Note

If organic lemons are not available, scrub the lemons in warm water to remove any wax. Meyer lemons are also an excellent option, when in season.