Homemade Limoncello Recipe + Calculations

The most comprehensive limoncello article EVER! Get the authentic recipe PLUS I help you make perfect limoncello even if you can only get 37% vodka!
Homemade Limoncello
Frozen Homemade Limoncello in shot glass, black background
Homemade Limoncello

Limoncello is a sweet and potent Italian lemon liqueur made with steeping lemon peel in grain alcohol, or vodka, as a substitute.

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

What is Limoncello?

It’s a lemon liqueur and is also known as limoncino and limonello, depending on which part of Italy you happen to be in. While it’s popular all over the country (and elsewhere), it has its roots in Southern Italy, specifically, the Amalfi Coast, Sorento and the island of Capri.

Homemade limoncello is the best! If you make it right, that is. If you’ve been following me a while, you know that I love making up cocktails and alcoholic infusions. In this post, I’m going to share with you how I make traditional Italian limoncello.

Suffering for my craft through many an experiment, I long ago discovered that limoncello in Italy is quite different from limoncello elsewhere. My first experience of real limoncello was at a friend’s wedding on the island of Capri, 20 years ago, almost to the day (they just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary).

Homemade Limoncello Recipe
Homemade Limoncello Recipe -ice cold is always best!

How do you drink Limoncello in Italy?

The first thing I noticed was how it was served – straight out of the freezer, in ice cold shot glasses. And it was smoother too. And finally, at 35 – 40% abv, the Italian limoncello was most certainly more potent.

That would explain why, I felt no pain (nor shame), when the table I was dancing on, fell apart!

Here, in the UK, most of the limoncello I come across is an insipid 25-28%, which makes it impossible to be placed in the freezer. But more of that later.

Limoncello History

Limoncello doesn’t have a long history. British journalist Lee Marshall in his article entitled L’invenzione della tradizione (The Invention of Tradition) in The Internazionale, says:

“but nobody (that I know) makes mention of limoncello before the beginning of the twentieth century. And, out of a handful of families and social clubs, only a few were to drink it before 1988, when the caparese Massimo Canale registered the Limoncello di Capri brand and started to produce the yellow liqueur… “

How to Drink Limoncello

  • Serve it neat, straight out of the freezer, as an aperitif or digestive (before or after a meal)
  • Use it in cocktails (see below)

When chilled in the freezer, your limoncello becomes thick and syrupy, it’s like drinking lemon flavoured nectar.

So the alcohol level is important, because anything below 30% is going to freeze, and unless you’re thinking of limoncello ice lollies, we need our FINAL CONCOCTION to be at least 30%. And I’m going to talk you through how to do that even if the best alcohol you can get is 37% vodka.

grated lemon on black background, for limoncello
grated lemon for limoncello

How do you make Limoncello from Scratch (Limoncello Ingredients)

  1. Alcohol
  2. Lemons
  3. Sugar
  4. Water

⇒ 4 ingredients. That’s all it takes to make a smooth, classy, Italian limoncello. Let’s take a closer look at the first two.

Please, please, for the love of Bacchus, DO NOT use lemon juice to make limoncello! No matter what you read on other sites! Add lemon juice, and it’s no longer limoncello.

1. What alcohol to use for making Limoncello

This, to me, is probably the most important thing to get right, if we want to make the real thing. So we need to start with a high level of alcohol. You want to get your hands on grain alcohol or pure alcohol, commonly sold under the brand name Everclear.

Grain alcohol is commonly bottled at 151 proof (75.5% alcohol by volume or ABV) and 190 proof (95% ABV). The 190 proof  is very difficult to get and is illegal in many U.S. states because it can very easily lead to alcohol poisoning.

⇒ 151 proof grain alcohol (Everclear) is perfect for making Limoncello

That means that it will contain 75.5% alcohol. So to ensure that we don’t dip below our 30% alcohol volume, a little maths is called for here:

  1. The traditional method of making limoncello is to dilute the alcohol with a simple sugar syrup made with water and sugar.
  2. If you use the same amount of alcohol to sugar syrup, you will be halving (give or take) the amount of alcohol in your final mixture.
  3. So 1 litre of alcohol (75.5% abv) + 1 litre of simple syrup (water +sugar) =  37% abv (give or take)

⇒ Can’t get grain alcohol for Limoncello? Let’s use Vodka!

Ok, so here, we have to think a little. The highest abv you’re going to get for vodka is 50%, which is 100 proof.

Immediately, we can see that diluting it by the same amount of water just isn’t going to work for us, as that would take that right down to just 25% abv – you’re gonna get limoncello ice lollies at 25%! Don’t give them to the kids!

Before we get down to the maths, let’s talk proof and abv.

Frozen Homemade Limoncello in shot glass, black background
Frozen Homemade Limoncello in shot glass

What’s the difference between proof and abv (alcohol by volume)?

The words are quite commonly misunderstood and mistakenly used to mean the same thing. Briefly, the word proof goes back to England in the 16th century, when gunpowder was drenched in alcohol to test for its potency. If the wet gunpowder lit, then the liquor was considered above proof and taxed at a higher rate.

This use of the word proof carried over to the US. In the mid 19th century, to standardise the amount of alcohol sold, given the practice of diluting spirits, 50% alcohol in a spirit was chosen as the standard, or baseline. And, this was described as being 100 proof. As in, it would light up.

Incidentally, chemistry doesn’t allow you to get 100% abv, 200 proof. 95% or 190 proof is as high as it goes.

Be sure to start off with a good quality vodka. That doesn’t mean expensive, be sure it’s something you would drink on its own. Like cooking wine, you infuse rubbish, you’ll get rubbish!

Limoncello Alcohol Percentage Calculation

So, if vodka is all you can get, and what if you can only get 40% abv or only 37%? The trick is to lower the amount of water used. Here’s my formula for making limoncello with vodka, all starting with 1 litre (4 cups) of vodka.

Since I first published this in 2018, I’ve tweaked the measurements a little.

The main change is the amount of sugar I use. Real Italian limoncello is like nectar, it’s sweet. The amount of sugar I give now will produce a sweet limoncello but not overly so. You can stir in more sugar at the end, if you want it sweeter.

And after a couple of nudges from 2 readers, I’ve also standardised the sweetness in all the calculations. Essentially, the sugar, when melted will give you 1/5 of the total volume of the simple syrup (sugar + water). And 1/4 of how much water we’re using. I always round off calculations.

So, for the most up to date calculations, refer to what follows, as well as the recipe card, depending on the strength of your alcohol. The older comments here may look like they contradict each other because of the change. Drop me a comment and I’ll help if you can’t work it out.

Basically, if you want your limoncello stronger, reduce the amount of simple syrup (water + sugar).

LinsFood’s Limoncello Calculator

This is my own formula that I base our limoncello calculations on:

x = total amount of liquid (original alcohol + the syrup we’ll be adding)
y = original volume of alcohol in millilitres (so 50% abv of 1 litre vodka = 500ml of alcohol)
z = target abv

x = y÷z

When you have calculated x, you will remove the amount of vodka or grain alcohol you are starting with. This will leave you with the amount of simple syrup you need. Simple!

Example: 1 litre vodka with 50% abv (as below this pink box)

x = 500 ÷ 0.33 (which is 33%) x = y÷z remember?
x = 1515 millilitres (1.515 litres)
So the total liquid (vodka + simple syrup) is 1515 millilitres
Since we started with 1 litre vodka, 1515 – 1000 (millilitres) = 515 ml
So we need 515 ml simple syrup (water + sugar)

The next part is a matter of taste. More sugar = sweeter limoncello.
Every 100g of sugar (1/2 cup) will give you 50 ml of syrup. Just add water to that for your total simple syrup.

How to make Limoncello with 50% vodka

  • 1 litre (4 cups) vodka @50% abv
  • Target = 33% final abv
  • Lemons = 12
  • Simple Syrup = 520 ml (rounded up, just over 2 cups) made with:
  • Water = 400ml (1 3/5 cups)
  • Sugar = 240 g (1 1/5 cups)

How to make Limoncello with 40% vodka

  • 1 litre (4 cups) vodka @40% abv
  • Target = 33% final abv
  • Lemons = 10
  • Simple Syrup = 220 ml (4/5 cup) rounded up, made with:
  • Water = 120ml (just about 1/2 cup)
  • Sugar = 200 g (1 cup)

How to make Limoncello with 37% vodka

⇒ why don’t we keep it simple and skip the water?! That’s what I would do, giving you a limoncello with about 37% abv – fabulous stuff, but a little sweeter than the formulae above.

  • 1 litre (4 cups) vodka @37% abv
  • Target = 35% final abv
  • No Water
  • Lemons = 8
  • Sugar = 200 g (1 cup)
    just fyi, this amount of sugar will give you the equivalent of 100 ml of liquid (about 2/5 cup)
  • If your sugar isn’t completely dissolving after 4 weeks, add 60ml water (1/4 cup) to the mix, stir, and leave for another 2 weeks. (EDIT Sep 2021)

⇒ If you are making your limoncello with no water, that is, with 37% or even 40% vodka, just add the sugar on Day 15. NO WATER.

2. Lemons for Limoncello

The sweeter and more aromatic your lemons are, the more sublime your limoncello will be. I am lucky to be able to get beautiful Italian lemons here from the folks I shop with, Ocado.

Ideally, your lemons want to be organic and unwaxed.

Because whatever pesticides were used and that wax? That’s going into your limoncello otherwise, as it’s only the peel we will be using.

Speaking of peel, the traditional method is to grate the lemon zest into tiny bits. However, half the time, I get lazy and just use a peeler, and make it with strips of peel. This works just as well, especially if your limoncello is going to sit for more than 2 months.

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

If you can’t get organic lemons and/or unwaxed lemons? Scrub them gently with a vegetable brush with warm water.

What to do with the lemons after making limoncello?

  • Make some lemonade for everyone, and spike the adults’ portions!
  • Or any of the recipes in the gallery below!
Lemon Posset (an easy, 3-ingredient, old British Dessert)
Lemon posset, a super easy, chilled creamy dessert, flavoured with lemon juice, and made in minutes, then placed in the fridge.

Check out this recipe
Lemon posset with berries
Eggless Lemon Curd
This eggless lemon curd is a sweet and tangy spread that tastes just like the real thing! And it’s so easy to make!
Check out this recipe
Eggless Lemon Curd Recipe LinsFood
Lemon Risotto (Risotto al Limone)
Lemon Risotto or Risotto al Limone is a simple risotto with a light, delicate flavour with the citrus juice and zest taking centerstage, without ever overpowering.
Check out this recipe
white risotto on pink plate dark background

Readers’ Questions

What is Simple Syrup?

Simple Syrup is just water and white sugar, heated up and left to simmer (on the lowest heat) for 2 minutes on the stove. The time may differ from person to person, but that is really all you are doing, making a sweetener for your drinks.

If you need to figure out how much simple syrup you will get from however much water and sugar you use, just remember this (also mentioned above):
Every 100g of sugar (1/2 cup) will give you 50 ml of liquid (when the sugar is melted). Just add water to that for your total simple syrup.

So there really isn’t any reason to buy a commercially made one as it’ll inevitably contain other ingredients that you don’t need.

In my cocktails, I always give you more than one portion, because I assume you’ll want more, and also because the syrup will keep happily for weeks. You only need to worry about the ants!

Is homemade limoncello supposed to be cloudy

Essentially, what makes limoncello is the essential oil from the peel, which is why we don’t add lemon juice to the mix. Over time, the essential oil seeps out into the alcohol.

When sugar syrup is added to the mix, you get a spontaneous emulsification, resulting in an essential oil and water emulsion. So you have a louched (cloudy) limoncello. You want this, because that means you’ve got enough essential oil of lemon, creating a delicious limoncello.

This louche effect is also known as the ouzo effect (same thing happens) and is what you get when you dilute absinthe. In the latter, the process is known as la louche.

However, this does depend on the strength of alcohol you are using. If you are using a low strength vodka, chances are your limoncello will remain fairly clear.

Limoncello Cocktails

It makes a perfect cocktail ingredient, and besides the Limoncello Margarita on this site, here’s a simple way to enjoy limoncello in a drink:

  • 2 shots limoncello
  • 1 shot vodka
  • top with 7Up
  • add some ice & berries of your choice

More infusions and cocktails on the Drinks page:

What is D.O.M. Bénédictine and How to Use It
D.O.M. Bénédictine, a review and how to use it. An aromatic drink with a romantic and mysterious past that makes great cocktails!
Check out this recipe
D.O.M. Bénédictine
How to Make Raspberry Gin (Easy Homemade Fruity Gin!)
Get your raspberry gin recipe here! It’s a beautifully aromatic drink with lovely shades of sweet and tart. Ours has vanilla in it!
Check out this recipe
Raspberry Gin Cocktail in short glasses
Espresso Martini with Patrón XO Cafe and Cardamom Bitters
Delicious Espresso Martini recipe with Patrón XO Cafe (coffee tequila), vodka and aromatic cardamom bitters.
Check out this recipe
Espresso Martini with Patrón XO Cafe & Cardamom Bitters

Sterilising Jars and Bottles

  1. Turn the oven on to a cool 130˚C/250˚F/Gas Mark ½.
  2. Wash the jars, bottles and lids in hot soapy water.
  3. Place the jars, bottles and lids upside down in the oven and leave them to dry, with the door closed for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn the oven off and leave the jars, bottles and lids in there, bringing them out only when you are ready to fill. Be careful, as they’ll be hot.

Images from LinsFoodies

Did you enjoy this article and found it useful? I would really appreciate a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

Homemade Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello Recipe

The most comprehensive limoncello article EVER! Get the authentic recipe PLUS I help you make perfect limoncello even if you can only get 37% vodka!
4.95 from 248 votes
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: alcohol, homemade, limoncello
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Steeping Time: 30 days
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 66 (Makes about 2 litres/8 cups)
Calories: 37kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor

Equipment

  • 1 large preserving jar that will hold 1.5 litres (6 cups)
  • Sieve and muslin cloths
  • Bottles to strain the final mix into, after 4 weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 litre grain alcohol, Everclear, 75.5% (150 proof) – if using vodka, read my explanation and formulae above
  • 15 lemons
  • 400 g sugar (when that sugar melts, you will have the equivalent of 200ml melted sugar) SEE NOTES BELOW
  • 800 ml water (so when the sugar above melts, we'll have a total of 1 litre Simple Syrup) SEE NOTES BELOW

You will also need

    Instructions

    Day 1

    • Rinse and dry the lemons. Peel or grate the skin, carefully. We only want the yellow parts, the white is bitter.
    • Place the lemon peel into your preserving jar.
    • Top with the alcohol, cover, and keep in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. Stir every 4-5 days.

    Day 15 (Week 3)

    • At the end of 2 weeks, make a simple syrup with our water and sugar, by simmering them together in a saucepan for 2 minutes.
    • Cool completely, then add to the lemon peel mix. Stir well.
    • Cover, and return to the cool, dark place, this time for a minimum of 4 more weeks, but ideally, 10 more weeks, so that your grain alcohol can mellow out, and so you'll have a smoother drink.

    If you are making your limoncello with no water, that is, with 37% or even 40% vodka, just add the sugar now, along with the lemon zest/peel. NO WATER NECESSARY.

      Straining the Limoncello (minimum 1 month. 3 months is good)

      • Strain through a fine mesh sieve into your bottles. For a crystal clear drink, strain through a coffee filter (which takes forever), or line your sieve with a double layer of muslin or cheesecloth.
      • Place the bottles in the freezer and serve in ice cold shot glasses for the best experience.

      If you are making this with good quality vodka, your limoncello will be very drinkable at 1 month, and great at 2.

        Fancy a Limoncello Margarita?

        Video

        Notes

        When sugar is melted, the final volume in ml is half the number of grams. So that 400g sugar will give us 200ml liquid sugar (syrup). 
        Plus that 800ml water, we’ll end up with 1 litre of simple syrup.
        1000 ml = 1 litre.
        Simple syrup = water + sugar.
        Every 100g of sugar (1/2 cup) gives you 50 ml of syrup (without taking into account the water).
        Steep the limoncello for 1 – 3 months. Total time does not include this steeping period, only the hands on time.
        1 shot = 1 serving = 30 ml = 1 fluid oz (I’ve rounded off the number of servings).

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1shot | Calories: 37kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
        Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
        Made it? Upload your photosMention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!

        227 thoughts on “Homemade Limoncello Recipe + Calculations”

        1. In the process of making the limoncello. I was intrigued by use methodology sine it accounts for the alcohol content in determining the amount of simple syrup to add. My only question is if there is any concern in leaving the alcohol, zest, simple syrup mixture at room temperature for up to 10 weeks? Any chance of spoilage? Can you put the mixture in the refrigerator to age or better to leave it at room temperature? Thanks.

          1. Hi Eric, there is no chance of spoilage, given the alcohol and sugar content. Chilling the drink will reduce the movement of molecules, thereby slowing down the whole process, so it’s definitely better to leave it at room temperature, even in the tropics.
            I hope that helps.

        2. Sheri Doherty

          5 stars
          Hi Azlin!
          I just wanted to write and say Thank you for sharing your Limoncello knowledge with me!
          This was my third time making it and the first time making it your way! Not only is it DELICIOUS, but this was the first time making it that I “got it”! It all made sense!! The recipes out there vary GREATLY and it’s hard to figure out who actually knows what they’re talking about! Thankfully, you most definitely do! I can’t wait to go through all of your recipes and see what else I can learn from you!
          Sheri
          Oh yeah! I also “played” with the time frames using 3 different batches and again you are absolutely right! When using Everclear, 10 weeks turns out beautifully!

          1. Comments like yours are a great way to start my day, Sheri! I’m so pleased to hear how much you loved this limoncello, and that you “got it”. In all my traditional recipes, that is the most important part to me, that the readers understand the recipe, and if relevant, the culture behind it.
            And thank you so much for leaving such a lovely comment. Time to make lots more as Christmas gifts?

        3. Misty Luthcke

          I was using another recipe that I found for authentic limoncello, this recipe said to use the liquid of the lemons so I have lemon peels of 13 lemons the juice which was about 3 cups and 4 cups of Grey goose, can I just add sugar to this mixture instead of simple syrup to not further dilute it? Thanks for any help.

          1. Hi Misty, limoncello is never made with lemon juice. The principle behind it is that it’s the essential oil from the peel that gives the flavour and aroma to the drink. There is no sour flavour to it and no added acid, at all.
            So I hate to say this but what you’re making is not limoncello.
            If you’ve already added the lemon juice in, then yes, go ahead and skip the water and add the sugar, to maintain the strength of your alcohol.

        4. Thank you so much for your thorough recipe!! I haven’t started making it yet. I’m actually getting ahead of Christmas gifts this year (*shocker, gasp!*) and want to make the best tasting Limoncello…which I’m sure yours is. Just curious, for taste preference, which alcohol do you prefer most to start with for the smoothest tasting Limoncello. I’ll be making a double batch, pretty bottles and labels, with a recipe card with your link and hashtag on it. Very excited to try this…and have Christmas gifts DONE long before the holiday rush! Thanks again!

          1. My pleasure, Kate. I think we should all get into the habit of being prepared early!
            Grain alcohol is the most authentic way of making limoncello, if you can get it. And given enough time (the whole 3 months), it’ll produce the smoothest, yet most potent limoncello, depending on how much you dilute it by.
            Having said that, my last few batches have all been made with a good quality vodka, because I couldn’t be bothered to get grain alcohol online. And if truth be told, you can’t tell the difference, because we reduce the amount of water accordingly.
            If I had to pick, it would definitely be grain alcohol though, for its strength, not particularly for its final taste.

        5. 5 stars
          This is really helpful and very easy to follow! Thank you so much for your idea and recipe! Super loved it!

        6. I used Everclear and followed your instructions for the amount of booze and simple syrup. I added the simple syrup 10 weeks ago. I just checked it and it tastes like lemon moonshine instead of limoncello. I put it back in the dark to see if it would mellow with more time. Do you have any suggestions for me? The liquid is clear, not cloudy and still has Florida home grown lemon peels in it.

          1. Hi Lisa, that must be disappointing for you. I’m rather perplexed about it, as it shouldn’t really taste like moonshine, if you’ve used the right amount of sugar and lemon peel.
            What’s the strength of your Everclear, and how much syrup and peel did you use?
            My suggestion would be to add more peel and if it’s not too sweet, stir in a little more sugar.

            1. Thank you for your reply Azlin. I used 1 liter of 150 proof Everclear, 400 grams of sugar and 800 ml of water. It definitely wasn’t too sweet and is still very potent. I’ll follow your suggestion and add more simple syrup. I don’t think I need to add more lemon rind since I was afraid I added too many to begin with. The lemon tree had a banner year!

              1. Good luck. If you think it’s pretty potent and raw tasting, then yes, syrup would mellow it down. But you will be diluting that alcohol content too. I would have suggested just stirring in sugar, but go for the syrup since you used the word potent.
                Shop bought limoncello tend to have a low proof, anyway, around 40 – 50 (20% – 25% abv), compared to the one I go for in this recipe, a good 33% abv.

        7. 5 stars
          Hi Azlin. I’m making Limincello for the first time. I’m having trouble with the formula. I started with 1.75 liter of 100proof vodka. I want to get to 33% abv as you recommended. Base on the calculations:
          this is requiring 3,284ml of simple syrup to reduce to 33% abv.
          Is this correct or what am I doing wrong?
          Thank you and please reply back as soon as you can.
          Thank you.

          1. Hi Gary, it’s complicated, isn’t it? I’ve just finished getting the formula done on Excel. All I need to do now is convert it to something I can add to this article, so you guys just need to input the numbers to get the amounts required.

            Your limoncello:
            I’ll just give you what you need. If you want the maths, just let me know.
            You’ll need 900ml of simple syrup (rounded off from 901.515).
            Working on a ratio of 1:4 (sugar:water), you’ll need:
            180ml sugar (melted):720ml water
            180ml melted sugar is 360g regular sugar in weight, before dissolving.

            So you’ll need 360g sugar and 720ml water for your syrup.

            I hope that helps.

          2. Thank you Azlin. I really appreciate this and I would absolutely love to have the math so I can plug in different amounts. Our family loves limincello so if I can make this properly I’m sure I’ll be making it a lot for family and to give as gifts.
            Thanks again.

            1. Here’s the maths (as we say it in the UK):
              x = y÷z
              y = original amount of alcohol, calculated in abv (half of proof)
              = 50% of 1750 ml
              = 875 ml

              z = target abv
              = 33%

              x = 875 ÷ 0.33
              2651.51 ml

              Remember x is the total amount of liquid we will have (your grain alcohol + simple syrup)
              So to know how much syrup we’ll need, just take away the grain alcohol amount from this:
              2651 – 1750 = 901 (or approximately 900)

              So you need 900 ml of simple syrup.

              Sugar and water ratio was explained in the previous post.

              Check back here in a month or so, I ought to have a calculator installed, or if that slows this page down, I’ll provide a link to it online.

              Try a higher target abv next time. When you go for 35% – 40%, you have some leeway to sweeten it further or lessen the sweetness if need be. Real limoncello is very, very sweet.

        8. to go with my previous post.
          I am looking for the ratio so that I can store this batch in the freezer without it freezing fully

          1. cletus jones

            5 stars
            i have a question and many, many thanks ahead of time for the great limoncello i am going to enjoy in september, yes, i am going to wait that long…. can you over do it with lemon peels, i may have purchased too many meyer lemons and was thinking of just using them all for my mixture? i purchased 15 lbs. i do have a very , very large container {glass} and a full half gallon of everclear 150 proof.

            1. My pleasure, Cletus.
              That’s a very good question. I think the answer to that is yes, you probably can overdo the lemon peel. I’ve not done it before but perhaps you’ll end up with a sharper flavour than you would like, with maybe even a trace of bitter. This is an educated guess on my part, not fact.
              15 lb of lemons – I’m thinking you have about 80 of them, give or take?
              In my article, I suggest about 15 lemons per litre of 150 proof. I think that you can get away with about 60 lemons, as you are using meyer lemons, which have a thinner skin than regular ones.
              I hope that helps, sorry I couldn’t be more specific.

        9. Hi, I have soaked my peeled lemons in 750ml, 120 proof everclear for 1 month- looks good !, I believe this would be 60% alcohol. I’m ready to mix up the sugar water and add and freeze but I can’t seem to figure out the sugar water ratio to mix up. Wondering if you could advise me?

          1. Hi Lauren, let’s aim for an abv of 35% (70 proof). You’ll want 200g sugar and 420ml water.
            Taste and add a little more sugar at the end of 4 weeks, if needed. This is roughly a 1:4 ratio with numbers being rounded off.
            If you want me to explain how I got the calculations, I’ll be happy to, but I figured you just want to make the drink!
            Let me know how it goes, good luck. If you’re in Instagram, upload a photo and tag me @azlinbloor. xx

            1. Thank you so much for those calculations. I also had the exact same question about my bottle of 750ml 120 proof Everclear and now feel much more confident proceeding!
              I just made some simple syrup for my first batch of 1.75L 80proof vodka and we’ll see how that turns out. What should those sugar/water amounts be in case I have to tweak it?

              1. My pleasure Patty.

                For the 1.75 litre, we don’t need much simple syrup as we are starting with a low proof.
                I’ve gone for a final abv of 35% (70 proof), so you can place the limoncello in the freezer and not have it freeze.

                For 70 proof, you’ll need 250 ml of simple syrup.
                Using a 1:4 ratio of sugar to water, this will be 100 g of sugar (which dissolves/melts to 50 ml) and 200 ml of water.

                With 35% final abv, you have a little leeway for more sugar if you want it sweeter.

                I hope that helps. x

            2. Thank you for answering this question for Lauren…I had the exact same question! Will post to instagram once it’s ready to drink!!!

          2. Thank you for asking this question! This is exactly what I have and needed the sugar/water ration!!!!

        10. 5 stars
          Hi. I’m on my first attempt at making my own limoncello, and find your calculation examples really helpful. I am following your recipe that uses 37%abv vodka, which needs no extra water, just sugar to be added in order to sweeten and reduce the finished limoncello to 35%abv.
          When I read your other recipes that start with much higher alcohol %abv, I notice that your simple syrup calculations refer to sugar and water mixes to do the same. Is there a reason why you do not include the alcohol content in an equation for calculating the sugar required to achieve a certain level of sweetness (and %abv) for the overall end limoncello volume? Just curious..?

          1. Hi Chris, good luck with the limoncello.
            With regards your question: if truth be told, I think this article is complicated as it is for most of my readers, who are only interested in making authentic limoncello. A quick look at the comments will tell you that. LinsFood is a food and drink blog, as opposed to one that focuses on homebrewing topics.
            Having said that, I have toyed with the idea of providing a calculation for the level of sweetness (the Brix value). But I’ve so far been reluctant to do it for the reason mentioned above.
            Enjoy the limoncello and happy holidays.

        11. Hi – I had to figure out the ABV of mine because I mixed together 1750 ml of vodka (40% ABV) and 1050 ml of grain everclear (95% ABV).
          The formula goes like this:

          (alcohol content x liquor volume) (1750 x .4) + (1050 x .95) = 700+997.5
          =1697.5

          (total drink volume) 1750 ml + 1050 ml = 2800 ml

          These two numbers are then plugged into the cocktail proof formula:

          1697.5/2800 = .606 or 60.6% ABV on the final product

          I hope this helps if anyone is trying to mix two different liquors together

        12. 5 stars
          Truth be told I couldn’t wait any longer. I only let the lemons soak in 50 proof vodka for 7 days then added the simple syrup. I decided to give it a test run.lol all I can say is yum!! I used about 15 thin skinned small lemons. The color was a beautiful bright yellow..just as I remembered from our trips to Italy. Absolutely delicious!!hubby was super impressed. I’m planning on taking a trip to rhode Island to buy grain alcohol and make a double batch to give out as christmas gifts. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to create this recipe and perfecting the ratio. Happy holidays from our family to yours!!

          1. Happy holidays to you, Thelma! I’m so pleased to heat that you enjoyed this beautiful drink! Thank you for taking the time to leave me such a detailed comment. Good luck with the grain alcohol!

        13. 5 stars
          Wow! Three and a half years later, this post is still getting a lot of traffic! Thank you for such a detailed post and for responding to messages!
          I’m at the adding simple syrup stage, but I’m really nervous to pull the trigger and potentially ruin everything, haha! According to your calculator, my 1500mls of 100 proof vodka, with a desired abv of 30%, requires 1000 of simple, so 400g (weight measure) of sugar and 800ml (liquid measure) of water. Is this correct? I only hesitate b/c you sometimes mention a 1:1 water/sugar ratio for simple (normal for simple) and sometimes a 1:3 ratio. This 400g/800ml ration seems a little water heavy. Can you clarify for me please and thank you?

          1. Hey Aly, good to hear from you. Fingers crossed, long may its popularity continue!
            The sugar:water ratio – I’ll have to take a look at the discrepancy and correct it. If the discrepancy is in the comments, chances are that was before I standardised the sweetness in all the abvs listed. When I first started doing this, I was focusing on the final abv, so the sugar: water ratio was all over the place (hence the different ratios in the older comments).

            So now, all the calculations should give you a ratio of 1:4, ie the (melted) sugar volume is one quarter of the water volume. You read this as 1:3, I think? I read it as 1:4.

            I would advise you to always go for a higher than 30% final abv. Because even the slightest variable, and you are going to get limoncello slushie when placed in the freezer. Especially, if at the end of it, you fancy it sweeter, and want to add more sugar.

            So, I’ve done a quick calculation for you:
            Final abv target 33.3% (z)
            Simple syrup needed = 750ml
            1:4 ratio = 150ml (melted) sugar: 600ml water
            >> you will need 300g sugar & 600ml water

            I hope that helps.

            1. I will take your advice. That extra 3% isn’t going to kill me ;). Thank you so much for your quick reply! Much appreciated.

        14. Need some help, please. I used about 12 lemons, peel only and an 80 proof bottle of vodka. I was suppose to use 750ml but used 1.75L. What ratio in cups do I use for sugar ad water. Thank you!

          1. Hi Debbie, sorry for the late-ish reply. As you are starting with a low abv, we don’t want to use too much simple syrup, so that we can maintain a final abv that will allow you to place the limoncello in the freezer without it freezing.
            With a final abv target of 33% (66 proof), you will need 350ml of simple syrup. As I tend to go for a 4:1 ratio of water and melted sugar, you’ll need:
            280 ml water (9.5 fl oz)
            140 g sugar (5 oz) (when this melts, you have the equivalent of 70 ml)
            I hope that helps. Let me know how it goes.

            1. 5 stars
              This is by far the best Limoncello that I have made. My vodka was Svedka vodka 1.75L bottle 80 proof. Went again through your calculations and was able to figure it out. It was your recipe to add the simple syrup and let to steep. Absolutely no bitter taste and very smooth!! Thank you!!

              1. 5 stars
                Having a difficult time with this batch! Taste medicinal and bitter. I’ll try to remember everything I did when first prepping this batch. I used 20 lemons, peel only and 1.75 bottle of Stoli. Started 1 1/2 months ago and I believe added sugar water after 2 weeks. I used your ratio 9.5 and 5 ozs. Tasted after one month and added sugar, maybe 1/2 cup. Checked again 6 weeks and added more sugar, 1/4 cup. Still tasting bitter and with a bite. Suggestions?

                1. Hi Debbie, I’m sorry to hear you’re having a hard time with this batch.
                  I honestly can’t think why this might be the case, assuming that you are using the right amount of sugar syrup and you don’t have much white pith on your peel. I know Stoli tends to have a bitter aftertaste but I can’t see that that would matter.
                  I made a batch of passionfruit liqueur last year that I had a similar problem with and I couldn’t figure out why, apart from quite possibly, having steeped it for too long. I left it for 6 months as I forgot all about it. Nothing I did helped, and in the end, I had to bin it.

                  But you’ve only done 6 weeks, I know. A couple of suggestions:
                  1. Add a tiny pinch of salt.
                  2. Leave it to steep for 4 more weeks and see if it mellows.
                  3. If you have a water filter jug, filter your limoncello (after straining) a couple of times. One of my Italian friends swears by this method if he happens to have a rough batch.

                  If it tastes medicinal, I doubt making it sweeter is going to make a difference.
                  If nothing works, I’m afraid you’ll have to write this one off as an anomaly.

                  I’m really sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

        15. Marie Gizeli

          5 stars
          We’ve just strained the first batch made with 151 grain alcohol 3 months ago and it’s delicious! Reminds me of the limoncello I used to drink back home in my 20s.
          Got 3 more large jars made with vodka sitting and waiting to be given as gifts for Christmas. Thank you for all the breakdowns you gave using different strengths of vodka, they were very useful.

        16. Diana & Carlo Micale

          3 stars
          We followed the given recipe to the letter using 40% Vodka. The drink still came out tasting just like 40% Vodka. Is there anything we can do to salvage this mixture ? Please advise ! Diana & Carlo

          1. Hi Diana and Carlo, that’s a shame. I’m really puzzled on how your drink would taste just like vodka (which is a negligible taste), when you’ve added lemon peel and sugar. Did you adjust the water and sugar amounts for using 40% vodka? Because how much simple syrup you add will change depending on the strength of your vodka/grain alcohol.

            With 1 litre of 40% vodka, you would have only needed to use 120 ml water and 200 g sugar (not 800 ml water and 400 g sugar as in the recipe card).
            I can’t offer a solution until I know exactly what you used.

            If you added too much water & sugar, the solution would be to add more lemon peel and vodka, because the abv is low with all that water.

        17. Hi, I was so excited to make this, then you totally confused me with the following in the recipe:
          400g sugar will make 200ml simple syrup
          800ml water plus sugar will give a total of 1litre SS
          ??
          So what do I use for the recipe?
          I’m probably dumb, but please help!!!

          1. Hi Es, sorry to hear the recipe confused you.
            I’ve tried to break everything down so my readers can understand why I’m doing something. This is what the lighter coloured font explains. I’ll edit that slightly to make this even clearer.

            So you will need 400g sugar and 800ml water.

            I’m going to explain the stuff in grey, ignore it if you don’t want the science. This is explained in the post.
            When sugar is melted, the final volume in ml is half the number of grams. So that 400g sugar will give us 200ml liquid sugar (syrup). Plus that 800ml water, we’ll end up with 1 litre of simple syrup.
            Simple syrup = water + sugar.
            1 litre = 1000 ml

            I hope that helps to clarify matters. Let me know how it goes.

        18. Mary Poelker

          5 stars
          I have 190 proof everclear-750ml and 375 ml. What is sugar/water ratio? Also could raspberries be added? If so, would they be added at the same time as the zest? I just started the limoncello today. Thank you!

          1. Hi Mary, I wasn’t sure if you were making the 2 separate amounts as you’ve listed above or adding them. So I’ve given you the amounts for both. If you are making one big batch, just add the amounts I’ve given.

            I’m working on a ratio of 3:1 water:melted sugar. At the end of 4 weeks, taste it. If it’s not sweet enough, add sugar, a little at a time until you are happy with the level of sweetness.

            750 ml: 960 ml water, 640 g sugar (This will give you 320 ml melted sugar).
            375 ml: half of the above amounts, so 480 ml water, 320g sugar.

            Raspberries: sure, you can add raspberries, but it will no longer be pure limoncello. It will be raspberry flavoured limoncello or raspberry and lemon liqueur.
            I have a few other infusions with vodka and gin that you might be interested in, if you fancy the idea of raspberry liqueur. You’ll find the here: https://www.linsfood.com/drinks/

            Using vodka will be like using Everclear, just a lower percentage of alcohol, and a smoother base to work with.
            Using gin gives you a delicious base as a start.
            One of my favourites is the Raspberry Gin, I have a couple of jars proofing at the moment.

            I hope that helps. Let me know how it goes.

            1. Mary Poelker

              5 stars
              Thank you for your knowledge ! I’m so looking forward to trying this cocktail and sharing at Christmas with friends

        19. Hi can you tell me how I move forward with the recipe when I’ve started with 95% alcohol? I’m in Italy and got the grain one easily but it’s way stronger than any of the ones you suggested

          1. Hi Amy, you didn’t mention how much you’ve got.
            Say we start with 1 litre of grain alcohol at 95% abv. And we are aiming for a final abv of 35%:
            You’ll need 1700 ml of simple syrup.

            I usually aim for a quarter of that simple syrup to come from sugar, so a ratio of 3:1 (water:melted sugar).
            But as you are starting with a very high level of alcohol, we have to play around with the water and sugar to get the right sweetness.

            I would suggest starting with 600g of sugar (which will convert to 300ml as a liquid).
            So you will need 1400ml of water.
            Your total simple syrup will be 1700ml.

            Stir in more sugar at the end of 4 weeks if you don’t think it’s sweet enough.

            If you want your limoncello to have a higher abv, reduce the simple syrup.
            1375ml of simple syrup will give you a final abv of 40%.

            I hope that helps.

        20. 5 stars
          Wow, I’ve honestly never been so impressed by a blog post recipe in my life, and I haven’t even started making this yet. From the bottom of my glass, thank you!

          I’m looking for feedback on timing – my husband and I “Jingle Booze” our neighbors and close friends with a different homemade adult beverage every Christmas. If I’m looking to have these ready to be gifted around December 20th of this year, can you help me with a timeline to make sure these are ready in time?

          Also, I just picked up 3 1.75L bottles of 151 grain alcohol yesterday, do you know an approximate yield so I can get an order together for giftable bottles?

          Lastly, if I did this with blood oranges, will I be disappointed?

          Thank you so much in advance!!

          1. Hi Courtney, thank you, I’m really pleased you think so. A lot of work has gone into it, and I still find myself improving parts of it from time to time.

            Timeline: I think 2-3 months is best for a mellowed out limoncello. So if you count back, anytime from this weekend to mid October would be a great time to get going.

            Yield: Since you’re starting with 151 proof, you’ll need the same amount of simple syrup (the calculation on the recipe card itself). You’ll end up with double the amount, so I believe 10.5 litres of limoncello.

            Blood Oranges: in theory, there is no reason why this wouldn’t work, after all, orangecello is made with regular orange peel. I can’t get blood oranges here in the UK until sometime in December, so I can’t give it a quick try to get back to you! Probably worth doing 1 litre of it, which will give you 2 litres of blood orangecello.

            Let me know how it goes, and I hope that helps.

        21. Michael James Fitzpatrick

          Thanks for a detailed run down of what alcohol to use and why, it was the hardest thing to find!
          Would I be able to make a batch mixing two different types of alcohol, i.e. a 500 ml bottle of 190 proof and a bottle of vodka around 40-50% to get more overall volume?

          1. Hi Michael, yes, you can definitely do that. Then just get the average abv for the total amount to work out how much sugar syrup you’ll need.
            Working on 40% for the litre of vodka, you’ll end up with 1.5 litres with an abv of 58% (116 proof).

            1. Hi Azlin

              When I added the sugar syrup to my lemon peel and alcohol mix, the mixture went cloudy (which I was hoping for) but in the 3 or 4 weeks since it has become clear again. Do you know why this might be? Should have I removed the lemon peel before adding the sugar syrup to the alcohol?

              1. Hi Michael, that is perfectly normal. The limoncello going cloudy is called the louche effect. I explain it in my post, you’ll find it easier by going to the Table of Contents at the top of the post.
                So the limoncello goes from being a stable liquid to a state of precipitation. It will eventually clear, as yours did. How long this takes depends on the level of alcohol, water, oils from the peel and sugar.
                ps: you want to leave the peel for as long as you can.

        22. 5 stars
          I can’t thank you enough Azlin. I’ve made limoncello twice before following recipes I found online. I only wish I saw yours first! I finally have the perfect tasting limoncello like I used to drink in Italy. You’re a GODDESS!

        23. Hi Azlin,

          This is Clay again…
          Now I am going to try “orangecello.” If I use large navel oranges, how many do you suggest I use for 1.75L of vodka?

          Thanks

          1. Hi Clay, sorry for the late reply, I’m currently away from home, working.
            There is no hard rule to the number of fruit you use. I think with large navel oranges, 10 – 12 ought to suffice.

          1. Hi I wish I would have read your article before I started. Hope you can help me going forward. I used alot of alcohol and lemons for a very large batch. 5 bottles 1.75 liters of 100 proof vodka and 1- 750ml bottle 151 proof vodka and 1- 750 ml of 151 proof everclear grain . How do I begin to know how much simple syrup to add? I was going to do equal parts water and sugar. But after reading your recipe I’m thinking twice about that. Can you please help with your expertise? Thank you!

                1. Hi Gina, for the 750ml at 151 proof (both vodka and Everclear), you need the same amount of simple syrup and 12 lemons. This can be made with 300g sugar and 600ml water. This will give you a fairly sweet limoncello, as it’s meant to be.
                  If you want it less sweet, reduce the sugar by 100g and increase the water by 50ml.
                  Basically, just bear in mind that 100g of sugar, when dissolved (or heated) gives you 50ml of liquid, or syrup.
                  When the 4 weeks are up, just taste it. Add more sugar if you would like it sweeter. Every 100g of sugar will increase the amount of liquid by 50ml. As you are starting with 151 proof, you’ve got a bit of margin to play with, before you hit the minimum 60 proof (30% abv) needed to freeze the limoncello without it turning to ice.

                  For the 1.75ml of 100 proof, you need 900ml simple syrup, made up with 700ml water and 400g sugar. This will give you a final product with 33% abv (66 proof). 20 lemons.

                  Have fun!

            1. Just wanted to double check sugar and water amounts for simple syrup. I’m ready to add to alcohol. I have 8.75liters of 100 proof vodka and 1500ml of 151 proof. Also is it better to add syrup without straining first? And best amount of time before bottling? Thank you very much! I’m excited and hope I get this right.

              1. Hi Gina, 8.75 litres at 100 proof, you just need to multiply the following by 8.75:
                How to make Limoncello with 50% vodka
                1 litre (4 cups) vodka @50% abv
                Target = 33% final abv
                Lemons = 12
                Simple Syrup = 515 ml (just over 2 cups) made with:
                Water = 400ml (1 3/5 cups)
                Sugar = 230 g (1 1/2 cups)
                SO YOU’LL NEED:
                >>> 3.5 litres water
                >>> 2 kg sugar

                1500ml at 151 proof, multiply the following by 1.5:
                Ingredients

                1 litre grain alcohol, Everclear, 75.5% (151 proof)
                15 lemons
                400 g sugar (will make 200ml simple syrup)
                800 ml water (plus the sugar above will give a total of 1 litre SS)
                SO YOU’LL NEED:
                >>> 600 g sugar
                >>> 1.2 litres water

                Bottling: 1 month is the minimum. I find 2 gives a great result. 3, if you can wait that long, but will give you the smoothest limoncello.
                Adding syrup: you definitely want to add the syrup before straining. The idea is to give the ingredients as much time to mix. This is why if you are adding more sugar at the end of 4 weeks, I always suggest giving it another week or two before straining.

                You’ve got a huge amount there. I would strain some off at the end of 4 weeks and enjoy that, while you let the rest sit. That’s what I tend to do.

                Have fun!

        24. Hi Azlin,

          Quick questions… (I cannot find it in any of the comments)… What would be the simple syrup amount for 1.75L of 80 proof vodka. Also, I used ten good sized medium lemons for four quarts of vodka. When do you suggest pouring the rest of the bottle in?

          1. Hi Clay, we want to ensure that the abv stays above 30% (60 proof), so we can place the limoncello in the freezer. So we only need a small amount of simple syrup: 175ml water + 200g white sugar.
            I know it doesn’t seem like much but that’s because we’re starting with a lower proof than that of standard grain alcohol.
            I don’t think 10 lemons are enough for the amount of vodka you have. I’d add at least 5 more, and be sure to give it at least another 2 weeks.
            Add the rest of the vodka asap, to allow the flavours to mingle. Ideally, you want to mix the vodka and lemon peel right at the start to allow the flavours to develop and the alcohol to mellow. I’ve tried this before, topping up my limoncello with fresh vodka. The limoncello ends up having a “raw” alcohol taste.
            I hope that helps.
            ps: at the end of the time, if your limoncello isn’t sweet enough, stir in more sugar.
            I’ve had a few complaints over the years that the limoncello here is too sweet, but that’s just it, real limoncello is really sweet.

            1. Thank you so much. I wish I had found your recipe first when doing my search… Anyway, just add 5 more lemons and the rest of the vodka. I will let it set for another 2 weeks then do the simple syrup combination you suggested.

              Thanks again.

        25. 5 stars
          I have been making this from another recipe for a few years and I think I finally have made something special! I purchased an Italian lemon tree 3 years ago- St. Teresa – and harvested 20 lemons for a double batch. I could only purchase 120 proof Everclear in California so your formula was really helpful to determine the amount of simple syrup to use to ensure a high enough alcohol level to be able to store it in the freezer. I did let my lemon rinds sit in the alcohol for 3 full months since the proof was low. I was happy to learn that the cloudy appearance is desired and proof of the lemon oil content. First time ever that I got the cloudy look after adding the simple syrup . It’s back in the jar now to rest for another 100 days to mellow before bottling. Thank you for all the detailed help!

        26. 5 stars
          Thank you for how comprehensive this is. Have worked out that three limoncello drinks in a row is not wise..

        27. Hi Lin, I have been making limoncello for over a year using pharmacy grade ethanol which I think is around 97%? I do 12-15 lemons depending on size and normally my syrup for this is 1.8L water to 900g of sugar but I read so many different variations. I am wanting to make the limoncello smoother but I notice when I add more water the limoncello starts to freeze up in the freezer . Any suggestions on syrup for this kind of alcohol?

          1. Hi Gio, how much Limoncello are you using? The reason your limoncello starts to freeze is because the final abv is dipping below 30% (60 proof). To make your limoncello smoother, time, to me is the most importnt part of the equation.

        28. Sabrina Lee

          5 stars
          Hello, thank you for your comprehensive Limoncello recipe!

          My lemons are quite small, do you know how many grams of peel I should use (instead of # of lemons) per 750ml &/or liter?

          THANK YOU!

          1. A pleasure, Sabrina. There is no hard and fast rule about the number of lemons. Give or take is fine. So if your lemons are small, I’d just increase them by a few.
            So looking at the recipe card, I’ve given 15 lemons for 1 litre. I’d use 3-5 more, depending on how many more you can be bothered to peel! I hope that helps.

        29. 5 stars
          Thanks Azlin, just strained our batch of limoncello yesterday and it is delicious out of the freezer!
          I wanted to say that I really admire what you have done here, so much information that you’ve even updated!
          We are very happy with our batch made with 190 proof.

        30. Hi Azlin,

          I found one of the posts I was referring to, it was from Liz Bedwell on 6/27/20, you gave the 100ml of water but with the sugar you have 200-300 g or 1 – 1 1/2 cups which is different from your recipe that states sugar at 40% vodka is 100-150g or 1/2 – 3/4 cups.

          Please advise

          1. Got it, Mary Beth. I should add an addendum to that comment as I did in the main post for future readers.
            Since I left that comment, I’ve adjusted the measurements, based on feedback (1 from a chemist), as well as my own taste. So these days, I tend to use less sugar and water.
            I hope that clarifies it. Definitely use the measurements left in the post and/or the recipe card.
            Thanks for asking for this clarification, every feedback I get helps to make this article better.

        31. Mary K Houston

          Hello! TWO questions
          1. Do I need to make adjustments for using Meyers lemons? I have a lot organic Meyers lemons from my neighbor’s orchard. They have very thin peels with little pith, are fragile, and it is difficult to get much zest. I read several recipes for Meyers lemons one said to use the peels and not zest, another said just quarter them and boil the quarters to make the syrup. What do you recommend?
          2. Is it better to use 151 vodka than a good brand of high proof vodka?
          Looking forward to your reply. Your article is the most informative one that I could find online. Bravo!

          1. Hi Mary, glad you think the article is helpful.
            1. Meyer lemons – you don’t need to make any changes with the number of lemons used. I used meyer lemons for a batch last month because of another reader’s question. You have to use the handheld zester for them to get the zest/peel without the pith. This is the kind I mean, it’s on Amazon UK, but I’m sure you can find it where you are: https://www.amazon.co.uk/OXO-Good-Grips-11261400MLNYK-Sprocket/dp/B07L5D4L5Y/ref=sr_1_5?

            It’s hard work when you have to do lots of lemons all at once, but it’s the best way to get the zest of thin skinned lemons. We have some Italian ones that we get here, which are also the same, they have very thin skins.

            I just skinned a Meyer lemon (to answer your question), and took a bite. There is still a strong hint of bitterness in the peel. Great in marmalade, but not so much in limoncello. So you don’t want the white pith.

            Boiling the quarters to make the syrup: limoncello is made with the essential oils in lemon zest, that’s it, in terms of flavouring. When you use lemon quarters, you are also including the flavours from the flesh. While your end result will be delicious, it won’t be limoncello in the true sense of the word. Nor taste like the real thing.
            This is why I discourage people from adding lemon juice. It may be nice, but it’s not what limoncello should be. This, I shall leave up to you.

            Personally, I don’t think there is a difference in quality between using 151 grain alcohol and high proof vodka. But very high proof vodka isn’t easy to find and tends to be more expensive. 151 grain alcohol is, to me, the best option.

            I hope that helps. Let me know if you have anymore questions, and also how it goes.

            1. Mary K Houston

              5 stars
              Thank you sooo much for answering my questions! I am on my way to the liquor store for 151 vodka. Fantastic article and responsive chef/lemoncella maker.

        32. Hi Mary Beth, I looked through the 100+ comments and can’t find the 2 replies you mentioned. If the measurements are different, chances are, it’s because of different amounts of vodka used. If someone were using 1 litre, compared to 1.5 or 2.
          I have also adjusted the amounts slightly in the last year or so, reducing the amount of sugar and water, after feedback from some readers. The measurements you see in the post (when you click on Table of Contents), is for 1 litre of vodka.
          I would definitely not use cane sugar, as it still has traces of molasses and caramel, which will interfere with the lemon oils. If you want a pure, authentic tasting limoncello, you want to use white sugar.
          I hope that helps.

        33. Hello! Excited to try your recipe. I have 750ml of 190 ever clear. What will my water/sugar measurements be?

          1. Hi Angli, you will need 650ml of water and 500g of sugar. This ought to give you a final abv of around 40% (86 proof). If you want a weaker limoncello, just increase the water by 100 – 200 ml. At the end of 4 weeks, taste it and stir in more sugar if you want it sweeter, 1 tablespoon at a time.

        34. I was able to find EverClear 190 proof Grain Alcohol. My store did not have 150. Can I use it and if so what are the ratios of alcohol, water, sugar and lemons since the proof is higher?

          1. Hi Jimmy, sorry for the late reply.
            You will need 1-1.2 litres of water and 700g of sugar. This ought to give you a final abv of around 40% (80 proof). If you want a weaker limoncello, just increase the water by 250ml at the most, and sugar by 100g. Anymore, and you may dip below the 30% abv. Taste the limoncello and stir in more sugar if you want to, after 4 weeks.

            1. 5 stars
              thank you I figured the same. I just wanted to make sure. Starting it today. Will let you know how it comes out.

            2. Forgot to respond. I followed your instructions and it is excellent. I am starting another batch tomorrow.

        35. Angie McIntosh

          Hi!
          Thank you for sharing this info and recipes. Could you help me out with house much sugar and water I need? I am using 1.5l of 190 proof Everclear. Thanks!

          1. Hi Angie, sorry for the late reply.
            You will need 1.5 litres of water and 700g of sugar. This ought to give you a final abv of around 43% (86 proof). If you want a weaker limoncello, just increase the water and sugar.

        36. Johan Nordenankar

          5 stars
          Hi.
          Thanks for the recipe.
          My question is what happens (taste, mouthfeel) if you use lets say double the amount of lemons?
          I used 18 small lemons (36 grams zest) for 1 liter of 40% vodka.

          1. A pleasure, Johan. My straight answer is I don’t know!
            When cooking, too much zest is not a good thing, but I really am uncertain what doubling the lemons in limoncello will do.
            If I had to guess, I’m thinking not a whole lot in terms of flavour or aroma, more concentrated, but not twice as much. Mouth feel – no clue.

            I have a current batch in which I’m probably using about a third more. That was from live classes I did recently. All the show and tell meant I had more than usual, so I dumped it all in the 500ml of vodka. So far, after a month, it’s not overpowering, it doesn’t leave any weird feel on the tongue.

            One of these days, I’ll do double and I’ll be able to tell you! Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

            ps: your 18 shouldn’t make that much of a difference, especially since you say they are small.

        37. Michael McCaffrey

          Hi Azlin,
          For your Cali readers, you can find 190 Everclear in Nevada. I’ve made lemoncello for about 5 years with my Meyer lemon bushes. Comes our pretty good, but I am looking forward to using your recipe this year. Thanks so much for not only your recipe but for the portions to use.

        38. (continuation of previous post)
          My recipe also gives the option of straining the peels after adding the simple syrup then allowing to rest for an additional 10-40 days.

          1. Hi Toby, I’m glad you stumbled on this article too! Not sure where to start with what you’ve mentioned. Let’s see if I can break it down and then work out how much syrup you need.

            1. You don’t want to add a second amount of vodka at a later stage, because the alcohol takes on the essential oils from the lemon peel and the flavour matures and mellows over the weeks. Adding new alcohol is going to mess with that perfection, giving a “raw” flavour. I hope that makes sense.

            2. That’s way too much sugar and water, it’ll really dilute the drink.

            3. Don’t strain the peel until you are ready to drink it. It will be doing its job until the last minute.

            4. My suggestion is to go ahead and finish that batch you made with 750ml of vodka and start a new batch with that second 750ml. The first batch will be ready to drink immediately but will be better given another month.

            5. Here’s what you’ll need for 750ml vodka at 100 proof (50% abv)
            200ml water
            120g sugar (0.6 cups) – sorry, I work in metric.
            = this will give you a final abv of around 34% (68 proof)
            = it’ll have a medium-low sweetness
            You can add more sugar straight into the limoncello if it’s not sweet enough. Just stir it in. This can be done after adding the syrup or just before straining.

            I hope that helps. Let me know how it goes.

        39. Hi,
          Very Interesting article that I wish I stumble across before attempting my first batch. I have been seeping the peels of 15 Meyer lemons in 750 ml of 100 proof Vodka for 40 days. My recipe calls for an addition of 750 ml of 100 proof vodka and a simple syrup made from 6 cups water/ 5 cups sugar or 5 cups water/4 cups sugar and let sit for an additional 40 days before straining. That seems like a lot of syrup after reading your blog. What would you recommend?

        40. Hi! I’m going to be making this with 3.5 liters of Everclear 190 proof could you please send me the water and sugar amounts? Thank you!

          1. Wow, that’s a lot of limoncello! You’ll need 3 litres of water and 1.7 kg of sugar for a medium sweet limoncello. Your final abv should be around the 43% range (86 proof).

        41. I peeled the 15 lemons and placed them in a 1 gallon carboy with 1000ml of 95%/190 proof grain alcohol.

          I would like a medium sweet limoncello around 40%/80 proof.

          How much simple sugar (and how much of each: water and sugar) would I need?

          1. Hi Matt, you’ll want 1 litre water and 500g sugar. That’ll give you just over a litre of simple syrup, with 40% abv. Stir in more sugar after 4 weeks, if you want it sweeter.

            1. Thank you very much. I’ve never tried limoncello before and am excited to try something new.
              As an alternative to baking the jars, as a home brewer I use Star San sanitizer from Five Star. It’s a concentrate that you can mix with water and soak your jars and lids for 1 minute. It is a “no rinse”solution so I also keep some handy in a spray bottle just in case I have to put a lid on the counter or need a last minute spot treat.
              I don’t know how available it is world wide, but in the US it can be found at any home brew supply store or online.

        42. I am half way thru, I used 21 lemons, 1.75 liter of 151 proof. How much sugar and water should I use?

          1. Hi Melissa, 1 litre water (4 cups) and 500 – 600g sugar. 500g (2 1/2 cups) will give you a medium sweetness. At the end of the steeping time, if your limoncello isn’t sweet enough, you can add sugar straight into the mix, and stir to dissolve.
            The above will give you a final abv of around 37% (74 proof), which is about perfect for limoncello. Reduce the water, and you get a higher final proof.

        43. Cindy Griswold

          Thanks so much for doing the math!! I will be making some basil infused limoncello and some vanilla infused orangecello in my sous vide using your ratios. High hopes!

            1. Hello Azlin,
              Thank you so much for the amazing recipe! This is my second batch that I’ve made. However, time got away from me and it’s been a month and a half that the lemon rinds have been infusing in the Everclear. I just now made the simple syrup. When it cools and I add it, should it still continue to infuse with the rind for another 4-10 weeks or will that ruin it? I want sure if the simple syrup itself somehow helped the process of extracting the oils. Thank you.

              1. Hi Teresa, it’s a pleasure, I’m pleased you like it. The syrup’s purpose is to sweeten the drink, so it’s ok if you leave it late, it doesn’t affect the extraction. But what you do want to ensure is that you give it at least 2 weeks more so the syrup is allowed to fully mix with the oils and for the flavours to develop.
                So to answer your question, yes, it can have more weeks.
                I have one batch that’s been in the mini cellar for about 4 months, I really need to attend to it!

                1. 5 stars
                  Thanks again! I appreciate your help and especially your prompt response! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

        44. Barry Rogers

          Hi Azlin, am just joining the happy gang of limoncello makers. Just wondering if the sugar used, has to be white sugar, or would brown sugar be ok. Maybe too sweet? What are your thoughts? I’ve just bought a stronger dancing table in anticipation of a good brew. lol

          1. Haha, stronger tables are always advisable when making limoncello, Barry. Brown sugar will change the taste completely, in my opinion. It’ll add that caramel, almost molasses/toffee flavour. As a lemon-toffee drink, I’m thinking it may not be such a bad combination, but it won’t be limoncello.
            Maybe make 2 separate versions? And if the brown sugar one works, you can give your creation a name!

        45. 5 stars
          I’m making this recipe with 200 proof grain alcohol. Yes your read that correct. Can you help me with ware/sugar ratio. I think I would want it to be 40 proof which you said was good in a previous answer. Thank you!

          1. Hi Kim, that’s very interesting! To hit that 40% abv (80% proof), you’ll need:
            1 litre alcohol (4 cups)
            750ml water (3 cups)
            500g sugar (2 1/2 cups) – giving you a medium sweetness. I would probably need more, as I like it sweet.

            Make a simple syrup with the water and sugar.
            After the steeping time, taste, and add more sugar if you need it.

        46. Angela Mullaney

          I’m preparing for the final stage soon of bottling. What size bottles do you recommend for gifting? I can’t wait for the finished product. Thank you for this recipe!

        47. Hi

          Thanks for the recipe. I can only buy 37%proof Vodka so I am going to try and make mine without any water. Has anyone tried this, does the sugar dissolve easily or are you left with a gritty mixture?
          Thanks Yvonne

          1. A pleasure, Yvonne. The sugar will dissolve without a problem, over time. Just give it a good stir or shake at least once a week. I’ve done this many times over the years. Start with the lower level of sugar, 200g (1 cup). Then at the end of the steeping time, taste and add more if you need it.

        48. Hello,

          Thank you for your recipe and all the variations. I speak Italian so, I found recipes from there, but all call for pure alcohol which is not available in Australia. I looked and looked, the closest I could find is a Polish vodka 96% $80 for 500ml. No point! I came to the same line of thoughts than you, if I use a vodka that has less alcohol content I only need to reduce the water content. I am glad I found your page. I will definitely try to make this recipe with no water added and see what comes out of it! I will let you know if you wish to.

          1. Hi Virginie, it just makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? I find so many limoncello and crema limoncello recipes don’t take into account that most of us will find it hard to get pure alcohol, or it’s just too expensive.
            I would love to know how you get on!

        49. Janice Gomez

          5 stars
          I’ve made this so many times, now, Lin. It’s so good in hot, humid Singapore, I love it especially at Christmas and Easter. Everyone expects a bottle from me now as presents, so thank you!
          You got Cream Limoncello recipe?

        50. Oliver Lalani

          Hi Azlin!

          Thank you for such a detailed process/recipe and the clear authenticity/origins to genuine Italian limoncello.

          Maybe a small bit of advice on sugar syrup might be helpful to kitchen novices like myself, but I only mention because the rest is so thorough!

          I have added the sugar syrup, are you supposed to keep stirring the final mixture every 4-5 days?

          I hope you are having a productive and peaceful quarantine.

          Thanks again,
          Oliver

          1. Hi Oliver, a pleasure.
            Stirring – that is a good question. I can see that I’ve not mentioned it in the instructions above. After stirring in the syrup when adding it to the alcohol, I just give the bottle a little shake every week or so. Just to agitate it, to encourage movement of the essential oil from the peel and for the flavour to develop.

            Simple syrup – I’ll try and find time this week to edit the recipe and explain the process.

            Many thanks. Stay safe.

        51. Will this keep formenting in the bottles after I make it or how long is the bottled shelf life? I’ve seen some are only freezer stable after making it.

          1. Hi Michelle, sorry for the rather late reply, I seem to have missed your question.
            The limoncello will not go bad, although the peel will lose its flavour after a few months. The alcohol will act as a preservative, and it’s perfectly stable for a couple of years. The sugar also contributes to its preservation.

            Personally, I think 6 months – 1 year is the maximum amount of time for you to enjoy the flavour and aroma to the fullest. Towards the 1 year mark, the limoncello may start to lose A LITTLE of its aroma and even fade in colour a little.

            I once had a bottle that I forgot all about (it got “lost” behind stuff). By the time I came across it, it had had about 9 months. To me, that was the most delicious limoncello I’d ever had.

            I’m thinking that you probably came across advice for Crema di Limoncello – Limoncello Cream. This has added milk/cream, and is only good for a month, or about 6 months in the freezer. If the advice was for limoncello, then, that advice is not really correct for the reason I’ve given above.

        52. Hello,
          My first batch turned out great! I used 151 Everclear 15 lemons, simple syrup 750ml of water and 2/12 cups of sugar. I believe that brought alcohol content to 37%.

          I just bought 190 Everclear and noticed you recommended same mixture of simple syrup which would be around 47%. I’m fine with trying that but was wondering is there a calculation to making a bigger batch of limoncello usinh 190 Everclear and keeping alcohol closer to 37% by increasing the water and or sugar when making the simple syrup?

          Purchasing the 190 Everclear over the 151 I had in mind making more for basically the same price by adjusting simple syrup and still come out with the 37 %.

          Thanks,
          Kevin

          1. Hi Kevin, I’m glad to hear it turned out great. I don’t think I have a calculation on the post for 190 Everclear, just 151, I’ll have to take a look!
            But here’s what you want to do with the 190.
            1. 1 litre of 190
            2. same number of lemons
            3. simple syrup made with 1 litre of water + 2 1/2 cups sugar (500g)
            This will give you an abv around the region of 42% (ish).
            Taste it at the end of the 4 weeks and add more sugar if you think it needs it, although I think it will be pretty sweet enough.

            1. Hi Azlin,
              Thanks for the reply. Shortly after I sent my above post I thought to ask my daughter who is a chemist. My first batch with 750ml of everclear 151 which is 75% alcohol, when I made the simple syrup I added the same amount of water 750ml. Which reduced the alcohol in half to 37%. The mixture was perfect. I then was able to buy 750ml of everclear 190 which is 95% alcohol. I realized if i use the same amount of water 750ml it would reduce the alcohol in half to 47%. My goal was to have a alcohol percentage closer to 37% using more water making more limoncello. She used a calculation comparing concentration to volume knowing 37% was the preferred outcome. The solution came out to be using 1,150ml of water for the simple syrup which is approx (4.86 cups) and 3.17 cups of sugar. Using those new amounts will bring alcohol level to 37% and make more limoncello. I’ll report back on how it turns out.
              Kevin

              1. That’s great. I wish I had a chemist handy at home, I always appreciate experts’ getting back to me on things like this. Thanks for the feedback and I look forward to hearing back from you.

          2. Question –
            Can I substitute a stevia/water mixture for my simple syrup to cut some of the calories?

            1. Hi Diana, yes you definitely can. Let me know if you need help with the stevia calculation. It’s such a sweet ingredient, that you don’t need much.

        53. 5 stars
          Hi Azlin,
          I accidentally added the sugar along with the peels and vodka on day 1. How ruined is it? Any hope??

          1. Hi Ali, sorry for the late reply, this comment slipped me by. You’re ok. It won’t be ruined. I infuse gin with the sugar right at the start.

        54. Meredith Street

          Thanks Azlin, we’ve just had our first sip after a month of steeping, and it’s simply amazing! We added slightly less sugar as you suggested first, but after 4 weeks, added the rest of it. My husband and I much prefer the sweeter taste, and we had no problem freezing it.
          We are planning to make another batch this weekend.
          Thank you for your detailed post and all the helpful answers you’ve given in the comments.

        55. Michael Kaczynski

          5 stars
          Hi Azlin, wow, what a great and detailed recipe.
          I started step one today (putting the lemon zest in the jar with 4 cups of grain alcohol). I have a few questions:
          1). The 6-cup preserving jar is nearly full. What happens I add the sugar/water mixture? Do I just fill it to the top of the jar or do I need to find a bigger jar that accommodates both the lemon zest/grain mixture with the sugar/water mixture?
          2). I live in California and could only find 120 proof of Everclear. I used 4 cups of it. What should my water/sugar mixture be?
          3). A cool dark place: Can this be in my fridge or should I put it in my basement?

          Thanks !!
          Michael

          1. Thank you, Michael!
            1. I reckon your preserving jar is going to overflow. When I first started out doing infusions, that used to happen to me fairly often. I would just get a small preserving jar, and pour in about a cup from the original, being sure to add a little simple syrup to it too.
            2. If I were working with 120 proof, I’d go with the same measurements as the 100 proof:
            (How to make Limoncello with 50% vodka)
            1 litre (4 cups) vodka @50% abv
            Target = 33% final abv
            Water = 500ml (2 cups)
            Lemons = 12
            Sugar = 400g – 500g (2 – 2 1/2 cups) – start with 2 cups, taste at 4 weeks.
            > this is going to give you fairly potent limoncello, almost 40%, which to me, is amazing.
            3. Definitely basement.
            Have fun!

        56. 5 stars
          This receipt turned out great!! So thankful for the conversion based on alcohol content, as Everclear is hard to get here. I chose to go on the lower end of your sugar suggestion and absolutely loved it. We also did the coffee filter method (twice!). It took forever but you could see the difference it made. I also added a tiny bit of lemon juice as another reader suggested, before straining, as I love the additional lemon flavour.

          Getting together with another group of friends tonight, to introduce them to making this

          Thanks Again!!!

        57. 5 stars
          I started this last November, bottled it in December, and it has been stored in my basement since then. We finally pulled a bottle out and put it in the freezer. Oh my gosh! Straight out of the freezer it is so smooth. I’ve giving the bottles as Christmas gifts this year and have ordered more lemons for another batch for next year. I’ll definitely use this recipe again!

          1. I am so pleased to hear that, Barbara, thank you for letting me know! It really is the most delightful drink straight out of the freezer. You are going to be very popular this Christmas!

        58. Ann Federici

          Hi Azlin! I’ve got my 1.75 liter bottle of 190 proof Everclear ready! I was thinking about doing half Crema Limoncello since I have a large bottle. Do you have a recipe? I’ve seen recipes with whole milk, boxed milk, etc. I truly appreciated the science in your regular recipe and would love to know about the crema version. Thanks!

          1. Hi Ann, that’s so exciting! You’ve just reminded me that it’s something I’ve wanted to publish for a long time!
            Traditionally, when making Crema Limoncello, you hold off with the sugar until you’re ready to add the milk, then you make boil the milk and sugar together, cool, then add to the limoncello.
            I use a combination of fresh whole (full fat) milk and single cream (not double, heavy, whipping).
            The milk/cream wants to be double the amount of your alcohol.
            What you could do is make your limoncello, then at the end of the month, divide the limoncello into 2, and add the milk and cream to one of them.
            If you decide to use 500ml of the limoncello to make crema limoncello, add 250ml fresh milk, and 250ml single cream. You’ll end up with 1 litre of crema limoncello.

        59. Hi Azlin
          I know that limoncello is all about steeping the lemon skin in a high alcohol base and extracting the aromas from the oils but do you know if steeping the skins and lemon pulp (without any of the pith) together in alcohol makes much of a difference? What I’m after is a very strong and sweet lemon flavoured liqueur with a final alcohol content of around 40%. Salute!

          1. Hi Darryl, yes, it does make a difference to the flavour of the limoncello. It takes on a slightly fruitier flavour and lighter aroma, which is not really a bad thing. It’s not as sharp on the nose.
            I use citrus slices in a few vodka and gin based drinks here, in which they work very well, especially the Polish Krupnik:
            https://www.linsfood.com/krupnik-polish-spiced-honey-vodka-liqueur/
            https://www.linsfood.com/raspberry-gin-recipe-fruity-gin-recipe/
            https://www.linsfood.com/rhubarb-strawberry-vodka/
            Cheers!

        60. I could only find 37% vodka so I just added the lemon zest and sugar to the vodka. It has been several weeks and the sugar is still just sitting in the bottom of the jar I shake it every few days in the hope that it will dissolve but it doesn’t seem to be cooperating. Any suggestions? I don’t want to boil the mixture as the alcohol will evaporate.

          1. Hi Andrea, you’re going to have to stir the limoncello. Get a tall spoon, metal or wooden. No need to sterilise, just ensure that it’s clean. Give it a reall good stir, the sugar ought to dissolve.

        61. Michael Hannan

          I used 190 Proof Everclear Grain Alchohol. After 2 weeks letting it steep with the lemon zest I noted the filtered solution was perfectly clear. Then, when I added the cooled simple syrup, which was also clear, the final solution immediately clouded up. What happened? Was it some sort of chemical reaction?

          1. Congratulations, you’ve just made a really good batch of limoncello! The change has to do with the essential oil from the lemon peel mixing with the water in the syrup.
            The process is called louche or spontaneous emulsification. Other spirits go through this too, and so the whole clear to cloudy change (essential oil and water emulsion) is also known as the ouzo effect and la louche, when it comes to absinthe.

            1. Kelly Press

              Hi Lin
              I have started a batch of lemonchello and followed your recipe to the letter. I pleased to say that today I added the simple syrup and my base turned cloudy, I’m not surprised and see that it’s good thing. My question is, should I leave the skins in the jar for the next 10 weeks while steeping, or remove them. Also I already added the simple syrup and if the skins are to be removed will it mess the recipe up.

              1. Hi Kelly, that is already sounding good. Leave the skins in there until you are ready to drink it. The skins will keep working their magic for the next few weeks, then strain, losing the skins. Your limoncello will be perfect.

        62. 5 stars
          Hi again …. the first batch came out great with kettle 1… I now bought everclear like suggested and it’s 190 proof or 47.5% abv…. I’m a bit confused on how much sugar and water. Yes even with the great calculations you’ve already given… Help appreciated

          1. Hi Bill, glad to hear it.
            190 proof is 95% abv.

            So I would just go with the recipe as it is:
            1 litre of 190
            15 lemons
            500g (2 1/2 cups) sugar
            1 litre water (4 cups)

            You will get a fairly potent limoncello, at about 42% abv.

        63. I’m in the process of making it now and wondered if adding additional lemon peels to the simple syrup process has ever been tried and how did it come out?

          1. Hi Bill, I have tried it in the past, and the syrup does add a little more lemony aroma to the whole mix. But, I don’t think that it makes enough of a difference to waste the peel in the hot syrup.
            Like making Cointreau, it is the essential oil in the lemon peel that we are after. essential oils are volatile things and get destroyed easily and whose aroma also evaporates easily.
            I cook with essential oils all the time, as well as ingredients like rose water and orange blossom water. And these are always added after cooking, to cut down on losing the aroma through evaporation.

        64. barry mcluskie

          I’ve just started to make my limoncello, not only did I use vodka, but i used a lemon vodka! ( i’m a citrus nut).
          And! I used the juice from the lemons to make a simple syrup that I’ll use in the final stage of the recipe.

          1. Sounds great! Some readers have asked me that before, but I always advise against starting with lemon vodka, as you won’t be able to truly appreciate what an Italian limoncello is all about. But hey, your limoncello, your rules!

        65. Hi Azlin,
          Thank you for the detailed information. I started making my limoncello
          about 10 weeks ago. My peel in Everclear has been sitting for this whole
          time and I am just adding the simple syrup today. Will I need to let
          it steep for as long now since the peel was steeping for a prolonged period
          already? Thanks!

          1. Hi Francesca, nope, no need to steep anymore, you’re good to go!
            Many people prefer to add the sugar/simple syrup right at the end as you are doing now, so they can control the sweetness of their infusions. I love my drinks sweet, I know I want all that sugar!
            Enjoy that homemade limoncello!

        66. I juiced the lemons after peeling them and froze the juice. My plan was to use the juice to make the simple syrup rather than use water as I saw an Italian guy mention it on YouTube. However, I’ve been unable to find anyone else recommend that. It makes sense and after it’s mellowed I don’t think it would be too sour but I’m guessing. Ever heard of this or know why it shouldn’t be done?

          1. Hi Tony, I’ve never heard of that, but it does rather sound interesting. I reckon the only argument against this is that limoncello is all about the aroma and flavour from the essential oil of the peel, not the juice. Much like Triple Sec spirits and orange peels.
            But there’s no reason why one shouldn’t give it a try to see what it’s like.
            My first thought was of the longevity of the lemon juice. But I suppose turning it into syrup would solve half that problem, then, there is the alcohol on top of that.
            I think the tartness can always be tempered with more sugar.
            I can’t find any literature on how the citrus juice will affect the freezing point of alcohol. There is only one way to find out!
            I’ll join you on this and make half a batch in the next week or so. I’m going to give it a good 2 months. Let’s compare notes after, if you fancy.

              1. Bill, it changed the flavour of the limoncello. It was too lemon juice in flavour in my opinion.
                On that note, I’ve been dying to post a recipe on margarita limoncello, hopefully, it will get done within the week.

        67. I am kicking around some cocktail ideas for a Persian New Year party later this month, and was wondering if, to your knowledge, using the zest of a sweet lemon (limoo shirin) would provide any discernible difference in flavor than using traditional lemons. I want my cocktails to be representative of the unique and wonderful flavors of Iran in spring, in a bold and refreshing way — not merely as an ingredient. Thank you!

          1. Hi there, personally, I don’t think there is any difference in a limoncello made with different lemons. I’ve tried a few different types over the years, the end result is always the same limoncello citrus flavour and aroma.
            Do you have access to dried limes? (limoo amani)? Here is s sour cocktail using them. First you make the the tea (Limoo Tea), then you make the cocktail called The Loomi.
            Also, I have a few Persian recipes here too, as we also celebrate Nowruz: https://www.linsfood.com/persian-recipes-masterclass/

        68. I love your details, calculations and percentages on making this fabulous limoncello. I zested the lemons and it turned out amazing. This was my first time making it and I was reminded of our trip to Italy last summer and drinking limoncello. I knew I wanted to make my own, thanks for sharing. Just wanted to mention under the 40% vodka section, it says water 200ml (4/5 cups).

          1. Thank you, Darcie, It’s lovely making your own, isn’t it?
            Yes, I reduced the amount of water because we are working with a lower abv. This is to maintain the alcohol content, so that our limoncello won’t freeze in the freezer. The final abv target was 33%. If we’d kept to the same amount of water, our alcohol level will dip below the 30% mark needed for vodka not to freeze.

            1. I guess I meant to mention that 200ml is not 4/5 cups as indicated. The 50% abv says 500ml is 2 cups. I adjusted my calculations but thought you’d want to change it. I hope I’m making sense. Thanks again for a great limoncello!

              1. Thanks Darcie, 250ml is 1 cup, 200ml is 4/5 of a cup. I’ve added the “of a” to clear up any confusion. There are small differences in the conversion (US, British, etc), but since we are not baking a cake, those differences are negligible. x

          1. Hi Marianne, ideally, you should use a non flavoured vodka for the purest limoncello. Lemon flavoured vodka has already got some flavours in it, and isn’t ideal. However, if that’s all you can find, then go right ahead.

        69. Hi, just finished making a batch. I did some extensive research beforehand and every recipe was a little bit different. Being a recently retired classically trained Executive Chef I wondered all along why people use simple syrup. I was happy when I read that you are of the belief that plain sugar was ok. My sentiments exactly. Water will just dilute it. Some people swear that if you don’t use grain alcohol that it doesn’t qualify as lemon cello.
          My thought was that 100 proof triple distilled Smirnoff is a superior product. I ended up using a 1.75L bottle of 100 proof Smirnoff, zests of 15 lemons (washed and well scrubbed) and since I don’t like things too sweet I used 2 cups of pure cane sugar. I will stir every few days and strain after 4 – 6 weeks, thru cheesecloth.
          I’ll let you know how it comes out. My point is that since I spent the better part of 40 years cooking without following recipes (except when baking) that as long as you follow the basics and use unwaxed lemons or even a mix of lemons and limes there is no right or wrong recipe. It’s not rocket science. Thanks! Chef M

          1. I totally agree with you, Chef M! There really is no right or wrong with this or any other infused spirits. I mention that on one of the other posts.
            With limoncello, the only thing we want to ensure, is the alcohol percentage in the final drink, so it doesn’t freeze up when we place it in the freezer.

        70. My name is Michael Monti, a retired dentist in Florida. I am making some Limoncello and saw your excellent video on making it. It was the most comprehensive! Unthinkingly, I used 1.5 liters of 151 Everclear alcohol, versus your recipe of 1 liter. I’ll just add equal amounts of water from your formula, 1.5 liters as you recommend. But my question is: how much sugar? would you stick with your 2 1/2 cups of sugar for my 1.5 liters, or using your ratio, 3.75 cups because of the extra alcohol? I would be very thankful for your advice!
          I hope to hear from you on how to correct my mistake. Thanks Ms. Bloor……..Michael.

          1. Hi Michael,
            I would keep to the same amount of sugar for a start. Towards the end or even halfway through the steeping period, taste it. If you think that it’s not sweet enough, add a little more, stir and taste again. That’s probably the best way. You may not need more sugar.
            Kind regards.

        71. Hi Jessica, you just need to use 3/4 of the ingredients.
          750ml (3 cups) vodka @50% abv (100 proof)
          Target = 33% final abv
          Water = 375ml (1 1/2 cups)
          Lemons = 10
          Sugar = 375g (just under 2 cups)

          Just follow the instructions in the recipe card.

        72. I have made some Limoncello with 37 and 40 vodka, but didn’t sterilise the jars. Does it matter ?

        73. The limoncello sounds deliciously refreshing! Can’t wait to taste my batch made with your recipe!!

          Was wondering where you purchased the clear taper glasses shown in the pic with a chilled glass of limoncello?

          Thanks for sharing. Kathy

        74. I have never heard of or had the opportunity to try limoncello before. It sounds very good though and I love anything lemon so I’m sure I’d like it if I were ever to try it. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

            1. So I’m making this with 40% vodka so will have to leave out the water. Question is how to make the sugar syrup without water?

              1. Hi Gabrielle, add the sugar straight into the vodka, along with the lemon zest/peel, right at the start. I’ll edit the recipe card to make that clear.

        75. John McKenzie

          Wow, a very thorough article, I’m very impressed. I’d like to feature you again and this article in our magazine next month. Get in touch, you have my email. Speak soon!

        76. Jennifer Prince

          I absolutely love ANYTHING lemon flavored. And I’d love to make limoncello. What a refreshing, fun drink. Yum!

        77. Mick Ripley

          This is so great. Probably one of the most comprehensive posts on limoncello I’ve seen. Love your dedication to your craft – both the writing and the drinking! Fab vodka breakdown, and it’ spot on as far as I’m concerned. Got this pencilled in for the weekend. Cheers!

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