Limoncello Recipe

During the summer of 2014 Mrs Sensible and I had two Workaways Guestaways staying with us, while they were here we had another visitor, an engineer from one of my customers was allowed to fly from the UK for a product training course.

One evening the four of us were playing cards and drinking wine and probably grappa and maybe even a glass or two of limoncello. At about one thirty in the morning, I decided I had better go to bed, I left the three of them with an ample supply of wine and a half full bottle of limoncello.


The two workaways during the infamous barbeque. see the post Press the button

During the early hours of the morning while I was snoring in bed, they managed to not only finish the wine and the limoncello, but they drew lots to see who would go down into the cellar in search of more limoncello. I was told with complete sincerity that they believed that I would not want them to go thirsty and therefore they felt obliged to source another bottle ……. and drink it.

In six weeks time the two girls are visiting us again, and knowing how much they enjoyed my limoncello I have made them a small batch.

So here is my recipe.

Ten organic and non-waxed lemons

One litre of 95% proof alcohol

One litre of water

800 grams of sugar

2016-03-23 17.32.08

I managed to smuggle these in Mrs Sensible’s shopping

The first stage is to wash and dry the lemons. Then very carefully peel the lemons making sure you do not include any of the white pith because it will make the limoncello bitter.

2016-03-24 13.48.25

Yours truly peeling the lemons

Place all the lemon peel into a clean plastic bucket and pour in the 95% alcohol. Cover the bucket and leave it in a dark place for three weeks. Once a week give the mixture a stir.

2016-04-05 12.20.09

After 3 weeks the flavour and colour will have leached out of the peel into the alcohol.

After three weeks the mixture will look yellow and the lemon peel should look almost white.

At this stage it is very important that you are not tempted to taste or to breath in a lungful of the aroma coming from the bucket. I can vouch that it takes at least five weeks for the hairs in your nose to grow back and I vaguely remember it was at least an hour before I could talk or breath properly after I decided to lick the wooden spoon I had just stirred it with.

2016-04-05 12.19.16

Try not to burn the spoon or the water, believe me it is possible.

Pour one litre of clean water into a deep pan and bring it to the boil, while the water is boiling, slowly add the sugar and stir it until the sugar has completely dissolved. While your water and sugar mixture is cooling remove the lemon peel from the alcohol and allow them to strain, each drop of alcohol that drains is one more sip on a hot summers day.

2016-04-05 12.32.19

The peel should look pale yellow, almost white.

When the sugar / water solution is tepid, pour it into the bucket. Cover it and put it back into a dark place for a week.

2016-04-05 12.35.59

Limoncello and one of Mrs Sensible’s wooden spoons.

After one week give the mixture a stir and bottle it.

2016-04-05 17.10.42

Unfortunately I needed to drink the last glass of grappa so that I could use the bottle

With the above ingredients you will create about three litres of limoncello. Because the alcohol content is so high (much to the disapproval of Mrs Sensible) the limoncello won’t freeze when it is stored in a freezer. And on a hot summers day there is nothing better than an ice cold glass of limoncello.

Mrs Sensible is very keen on being environmentally friendly and we tend to compost anything that is compostable. We were living next door to Luigina the last time I made limoncello and I dutifully threw the alcohol infused lemon peel in our vegetable waste bucket and then threw it to the hens……. When I realised the hens were fighting over the lemon peel I spent a very worried night wondering if the hens would survive their pub crawl.

2016-03-24 13.57.41

If anyone has a recipe for peeled lemons I am all ears, especially if it contains alcohol

This recipe was taught to me by Mario Masia, Mario owned the restaurant in Sheffield where I met Mrs Sensible. If you are ever in Sheffield UK go to his new restaurant called Akentannos at 270 Sharrow Vale Road Sheffield and tell them his crazy English friend sent you.

25 thoughts on “Limoncello Recipe

    • It is available in most supermarkets in Italy although I have never seen it in the UK.

      If I didn’t have access to the 95% alcohol I think I would try vodka, but only use a small amount of water to dissolve the sugar…. Maybe boil some water and keep adding sugar and water until it is completely dissolved. I don’t need to say it is not a good idea to try and boil Vodka, not unless you want to loose your eyebrows and reduce your kitchen to embers

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Ha ha. That’s hilarious. They got all your limoncello…. I remember once when I lived in Sheffield, I popped in to the local Sommerfield asking for a bottle of pure alcohol as I wanted to make it ..,the shop assistant looked at me and said “excuse me, say that again?” And I thought…here we go again…my English… I asked again and he told me “you’ve got to be kidding….it’s illegal in England and I asked why. He then told me that alcohol addicted would drink the pure alcohol, which is more than intoxicating liquor!! So my English wasn’t bad…my request was!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess this is the equivalent of an Italian learning to make the perfect Sunday roast or sausage rolls (me!!!!)
    Well done Pete, you are a resourceful man indeed, Mrs Sensible has done well alright for herself:):):)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cookie, another limoncello aficionado 🙂
      I don’t understand why you worry over the workaway business! We have hosted 10 or 12 workaways and they have helped us to move house, paint houses, mow the lawn, chop timber, drink wine, visit cantinas, enjoy barbecues ….


        • You see, you do understand the concept. 😉
          I don’t like/ have the time for hoovering and ironing# and neither does Mrs Sensible. So we invite workaways to spend the summer here. They keep the house tidy, I make sure they have a good time and want to come back and Mrs Sensible prepares some of the most outstanding Sicilian food for us to eat…… Everybody is Happy

          # footnote, it is difficult to find time to do the ironing when you are sat in the sun


          • well I will confess that I did look at the workaway website and the thought did occur to me that had I been younger and freer…being a workaway would have been rather grand…but I would probably be placed somewhere that actually needed more field-hand labor verses one who needs help consuming one’s home brew or assistance in lighting the BBQ…Mrs S teachers…I am a retired teacher…I know how consuming that is…PN makes limoncello and looks for WIFI signals and buys prechopped wood…hummmm and needs help…hummmmm

            Liked by 1 person

            • On Monday mornings I have been teaching English to three classes at a local primary school. Including a class of seventeen 6 year olds. They are adorable and I have decided I want to adopt one or three of them .

              I can sustain the energy and momentum to keep them attentive and learning on a Monday but I have no idea how Mrs S manages to keep it up for the rest of the week.

              Liked by 1 person

              • indeed–and should you decide to kidnap, borrow or adopted a few of the youngsters—a few more workaways would be needed as “babysitters”
                If I could be a workaway, choosing Italy as my desired country of “work”, I would request to work for the Black Sheep house—as I would love to learn first hand the art of limoncello and the true meaning of la dolce vita PN style 🙂
                Oh you make me smile PN 🙂 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  3. Julie, maybe someone like you should do some on-the-spot investigation of this workaway mob. You could also sample the limoncello at the same time, and report back to us, once you’ve recovered.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Summer Fruit Recipe | Englishman in Italy

Even you non wordpress bloggers can comment, your e mail is hidden.. Don't be shy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s