Homemade Limoncello-DIY Gift Idea

homemade limoncello diy

I have been wanting to share this recipe for such a long time-have you tried Limoncello?

I clearly remember my first time trying Limoncello-it was about ten years ago when I had first moved to Italy to be with my husband who was stationed near Venice.  He took me to a lovely family run restaurant called Æolia out in the country. (Seriously click here to see the virtual tour of this place-it’s amazing!!)  There were hardly any patrons that evening and the owners were kind enough to give us a tour of the wine cellar under the restaurant-it was carved out of solid rock, amazing.

After an amazing dinner of Faggotini with Procuitto and Pear (to this day one of my husband’s favorite meals) we made our way to the bar where the owner asked us if we’d like a bit of limoncello to finish the evening.  We had no idea what it was but agreed nevertheless.

He poured two shot-glass sized servings and placed them in front of us.  Being the young, just-out-of college girl I was, I asked him if I was suppposed to drink it quickly like a shot of liquor or drink it slowly.  He replied in what is now one of my favorite sayings from our time overseas: “In Italy, everything is slow.”

That was a huge lesson that I learned in Italy, to take the time to savor and enjoy the simple things in life-whether it be an after dinner limoncello or a slow walk around the town piazza.

Nowadays, with my three crazy boys running around I rarely take the time to stop and enjoy the simple pleasures-but I did manage to make myself a little reminder in this easy DIY version of homemade limoncello.  I love this and it would make a great hostess gift or holiday gift as well!

5.0 from 3 reviews

Homemade Limoncello-DIY Gift Idea
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Create your own homemade version of classic Italian lemon liquor.
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4

  • 6 lemons
  • 750 ml vodka
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

  1. Zest lemons being sure not to go too deep-you want only the zest, not the white portion of the peel
  2. Combine the zest with the vodka in a large jar or pitcher.
  3. Cover and keep in a dark, cool place for 10 days.
  4. Strain zest out with a cheesecloth and discard zest.
  5. Simmer sugar and water in a pan, stirring, until the sugar dissolves completely.
  6. Allow sugar mixture to cool and add to vodka mixture.
  7. Keep in refrigerator for up to one month.

how to make limoncello

Update! Here is the jpg for the label at the request of a reader!!

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  1. Lisa says

    I wonder if I can use rum instead of vodka because I can’t drink vodka, it gives me a terrible headache . Thanks

  2. Aleishath because then it goe says

    This is an awesome gift idea and I can’t wait to make it. I was just wondering do you mean keep in the fridge for up to a month because then it goes “yuk” or to help get the flavour through before giving as a present? Sorry if this is a bit of a blonde moment! Thanks

  3. duygu says

    It looks great!
    I have a question.. i’ve tried one recipe almost one year ago, mixed the lemon zests and vodka. But we didnt loved its taste and left it in the closet :)
    If i try to mix it with the sugar syrup, is it gonna be taste good or should i throw the bottle away? :) I’ve heard that how long you keep it in the closet it gets that better, but still not sure…

    • Melissa Riker says

      I don’t have experience to say one way or another but I’ve heard the same as you-the longer it sits the better. If it were me I’d give it a try!

  4. Karina says

    Hello Melissa, I have been making my own limoncello with pure alcohol, but Iḿ sure the wodka will about taste the same. Because of all the sugar it keeps way longer than a week. We always store our bottles in the freezer as it tastes best when really, really cold.

    • Melissa Riker says

      Great to know! I can’t get grain alcohol where I live but I have heard it’s the way to go. I’ve had mine refrigerated for 2 months and it’s still tasting great!


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