Limoncello recipe and facts

The traditional limoncello recipe has origin from Campania in south of Italy.

Limoncello is a famous Italian refreshing drink made of just few simple ingredients: lemons, water, alcohol and sugar.

It is consumed before or after meals, as aperitif or digestive drink. Some like it at room temperature or served with tonic water or champagne.

Recently limoncello has been used as ingredient for ice creams and fruit salads.

In Italy, during the summer and hot days, limoncello is a very popular grand finale to any meal, usually just after coffee.

History and facts

The history of limoncello is lost between myth and legend. Ownership of the original limoncello recipe is claimed by people from Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri, three towns gathered between a few miles. The drink was widely consumed in that area since the beginning of 1900.

There are a few colourful legends about the origin of limoncello. Some say that fishermen and farmers used the liquor to fight the cold since the time of the Saracen invasion.Others say that the recipe was invented by friars inside a monastery to delight themselves between prayers.

The true origins of limoncello may never be discovered. Nowadays limoncello is exported and consumed almost worldwide, and its popularity rivals with the famous Italian drinks Bitter and Amaretto.

In order to preserve the original product and prevent imitations, the limoncello produced in the Sorrento area is now recognised as IGB (Protected Geographical Indication).The lemons of Sorrento or Amalfi are grown in the territory that spreads between the towns of Vico Equense and Massa Lubrense, as wells as the island of Capri.

The lemons are cultivated above 3m of height and are protected by the weather. Harvesting takes place between february and october strictly by hand.The Sorrento lemons are characterised by an ellyptical shape, medium-large size and citrine yellow colour.

The zest of the lemon is the main ingredient of limoncello. It's rich in essential oils and has a distinct aroma.Lemons with a thick skin are the best to make limoncello. The mediterranean climate of the Amalfi-Sorrento coast is a great environment for this type of lemons.

Traditional Limoncello Recipe


13 Sorrento or Amalfi lemons

2 litres of pure good quality alcohol (95%)

650 grams of sugar

1 litre of still natural water


Once we have obtained Sorrento or Amalfi lemons, with only few other ingredients limoncello can be made comfortably from home.

Soak the lemons in warm water and brushed to remove possible residues.

With a small knife remove the zest of the lemons, taking care not to include any white pith.

Pour the alcohol in a clean jar and then add the zest of the lemons. The alcohol should be of good quality, to also prevent frosting of the spirit while in the freezer.

The mixture should be left in the dark at room temeperature for approximately one month. The mixture will gradually turn yellow and receive the aroma of the lemons' zest.

After a month, prepare separately a syrup by boiling the water with the sugar, and stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Let the syrup to cool down before adding to the mixture in the jar.

Cover the jar and replace it into a dark place for approximately 40 more days.

After 40 days, filter the liquid into decorative bottles, removing the bark. The product should be stored in the freezer.

No other ingredients / additives are necessary to make limoncello.

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