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Limoncello is a lemon liqueur produced in the south of Italy. Various regions in Italy use different types of lemons to create liqueurs with subtle differences. Making limoncello at home is a lengthy process, but it is well worth the effort. It takes two months from beginning to end, but the process is quite simple.


A few limoncello variations worth noting are the use of lime, mandarin or tangerine skin in place of the lemon. If you can get pure grain alcohol, it can also be used in place of the vodka for a more pure lemon flavored liqueur.

Citrus Peel


One of the most important and most used tools in the kitchen is a vegetable peeler. In my years of teaching cooking classes, I was always surprised at the number of people who continue to use the old style of peelers. The Kuhn Rikon peelers are made in Switzerland and are very sharp. It is a game changer and they are very inexpensive. A very worthwhile investment, in my opinion.

One of our guests favorite fall cocktails over the years at the Inn was a Cranberry-Limoncello Martini. The combination of tart cranberries and citrus with limoncello makes for a refreshing and visually stunning cocktail. Click here for the recipe.


Recipe by Michael SalmonCourse: CocktailsCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Total Time to Make




  • 15 lemons

  • 2 bottles vodka (100 proof), 750 ml each

  • 4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 quarts water


  • Wash the lemons with hot water. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the lemons. Reserve the lemon juice for other recipes. Remove the white pith from the lemon peels with a kitchen knife, leaving only strips of the bright yellow skin.
  • Place the lemon peels in a large (at least 1 gallon) glass jar and cover with one bottle of the vodka. Seal the jar tightly and store in a cool dark place for one month.
  • After the month has passed, make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring all of the sugar crystals from the side of the pan, and dissolving all of the sugar. Cool completely. Add the simple syrup to the jar with the lemon vodka, stir and seal tightly. Return the jar to the cool dark place for another month.
  • After the final month has passed, strain the liquid from the lemon peels and store in bottles in the freezer. Serve the limoncello very cold in small chilled glasses.

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  1. Pingback: Cranberry-Limoncello Martini – Chef Michael Salmon

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