it en


Limoncello is the most popular sweet liqueur of Campania, obtained from the lemon zest steeped in alcohol. It is an excellent digestif, and much more: if you have lunch or dinner on the Amalfi Coast, you can’t miss it.

by Annalisa Russo

You have already heard about Limoncello, haven’t you? Although today it is easy to find it abroad, I want to show you the traditional recipe, handed down from mother to daughter, that is used for the homemade limoncello.

The handmade limoncello is immediately recognizable for its unique and unmistakable flavor. The secret is in the choice of ingredients, the alcohol but especially the strictly no-treated lemons full of essential oils that give to the liqueur an inimitable flavor: the Sfusato Amalfitano or the Ovale of Sorrento.

share this article

Limoncello liqueur

Between history and legend

The lemons utilized in the preparation of this liqueur are those from Amalfi Coast or Sorrento, and even today people from Amalfi, Capri, and Sorrento fight for the paternity of this deliciousness.

There are several hypotheses on its origin: some people think it was utilized by fishermen or farmers to help them warm up during the cold winter mornings, meanwhile, other people tell that it was born in a monastic convent. What is certain is that the entrepreneur Massimo Canale from Capri was the first one to officially register the brand "Limoncello" in 1998, proposing his grandmother’s recipe, whose name was Maria Antonia Farace.

Today, the Limoncello is the pride of this territory, full of excellent local ingredients that are used in the preparation of delicious dishes.

The traditional recipe

I suggest tasting limoncello at the local restaurants after lunch or dinner and sipping it slowly: In this way, you will catch every aromatic note. 

The taste of this liquor can be more sweet, sour or strong, it depends on how it is made. Every family has its recipe, but in any case, the final result will be excellent.
Here is everything you need to prepare this liqueur at home.


  • 1 liter of alcohol for liqueurs
  • 12 no-treated lemons
  • 1 liter of water
  • 800 grams of sugar

What you need

  • A new little sponge
  • A peeler
  • An airtight glass jar
  • A linen cloth
  • A large pot
  • Some glass bottles


  • Firstly, wash the lemons carefully and use the new little sponge to clean the zest from any impurities.
  • Dry the lemons with a towel and pare them using a peeler being careful to not include any white pith. This part is rather bitter and could ruin the flavor of the liqueur.
  • Take an airtight glass jar and put together the alcohol and the lemon zest, cover it and let it steep for 7 days in a dark place away from heat sources, shaking gently the jar every two days.
  • After 7 days, prepare the syrup with water and sugar: put the water in a bowl and heat it up, add the sugar and bring it to boil until it will melt. Turn off the heat and let cool. Now you can put together the syrup with the mixture of alcohol and lemon zest. Mix everything and filter it through a linen cloth.
  • Bottle the liqueur and let it rest for about 2 months.
  • Remember to serve cold.
  • A Limoncello bottle is a good idea if you want a souvenir for your friends or relatives.
  • This is an original idea for wedding seat markers or party favors.
  • Although this liqueur is famous for its digestive properties, it is also used to flavor sweets, ice-creams, and fruit salads. For example, the famous lemon cake "Delizia al limone" whose sponge cake is flavored with limoncello, has an indescribable flavor.
  • For an unforgettable aperitif, try the Lemon Spritz, this version directly from the Amalfi Coast is different from the Venetian famous spritz: the liqueur limoncello and the lemon slices substitute the Aperol and the orange slices. 


share this article