[Italian] plural limoncelli

an Italian lemon liqueur made by extracting the essential lemon oil from the peel (minus the white pith) using a clear and neutral alcohol, typically grain alcohol.  Various methods are used to similar effects. The resulting liqueur is a delicate bright yellow with a fragrant and nearly floral bouquet and a smooth to peppery sweet lemon flavor.  It was and is typically  produced in Southern Italy and in Menton, France.  In Italy, it is made throughout Sicily and Sardinia, Apulia, Capri, Ischia, Amalfi, Sorrento, and Naples.  Once found only in Italy and southern France, Limoncello has become very popular around the world as a liqueur and in cocktails.  In Italy, Limoncello is made with the peel of Sfusato lemons and is a legislatively controlled product bearing a mark on the label showing it's designation.  

There are variant Limoncellos containing additional ingredients, such as milk, melon, and berries.  Traditionally, Limoncello is served after a rich meal chilled in a small ceramic cup or in a glass.

A sample recipe:



8 to 10 large lemons

750 MLs high proof Vodka (neutral flavor)

1 cup sugar

1 ½ cup water


Peel lemons, careful to take only the yellow skin of the lemon and none of the white pith, which will make the liqueur bitter. (A vegetable peeler is the easiest tool to control for this procedure.)

Place the peels and Vodka in a non-reactive airtight container for a month to 5 weeks and keep in a dark place away from light.  The color of the peels will have leeched into the alcohol along with the lemon oil to make a bright yellow and transparent liquid.  Strain and discard the peels.

Make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in the heated water.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved and then allow the syrup to cool.  When cool, pour the syrup and liqueur into a bottle, seal and swirl the bottle gently to mix.  Chill, pour, and enjoy.