When life gives you lemons, make...LIMONCELLO. Let's pronounce it together, LEE-MOAN-CHAY-LOW. This digestivo siciliano o sud italiano...this digestive (after dinner cocktail) from Sicily or the south of Italy, is well worth the time it takes to make it, almost 2 weeks. Southern Italian because that's where almost all of the country's citrus is grown. Use excellent vodka for an excellent limoncello. Use only the zest! The bitter pith and sour flesh/juice will ruin it. Now, let's say it again, LEE-MOAN-CHAY-LOW. 

Print Recipe


  • 10 lemons
  • 1 litre vodka, the better the vodka, the better the Limoncello
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 12 short (2-3 inches each, discard any extra stem) lavender sprigs.


  1. Empty vodka into a large pitcher.
  2. Zest the lemons with a peeler. Be careful to only get the yellow zest. The white pith is bitter and undesirable.
  3. Add the zest to the vodka. Let sit, covered, at room temperature for four days. Save the lemons for a future use, like lemonade. 
  4. After four days, prepare the simple syrup.
  5. Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. If making only plain limoncello, let simple syrup come to room temperature then add to vodka-zest mixture, cover and let sit at room temperature another 7 days.
  7. If making both regular AND lavender limoncelli, split the vodka and its lemon zest into 2 pitchers. When the simple syrup boils, remove half and set aside to add to the regular limoncello when it's room temp. Then add the lavender sprigs to the hot half, re-bring to a boil, turn off and let the lavender steep for 5 minutes. When room temp add it to its half of the vodka. Mark it as the lavender batch. Cover both and let them sit 7 days.
  8. After those 7 days, uncover the single batch of plain limoncello, or each of the half batches of plain and lavender flavored, strain the lemon zest out and put the remaining liquid(s) into their own separate tightly corked bottles.
  9. Place the bottles in the freezer and after 4 or more hours, remove, serve super cold/frozen and enjoy!

*Optional: garnish with a slice of lemon presented on the rim of the glass and/or a sprig of lavender.

Related Recipes

Have A Recipe Idea?

Enter our recipe contest for a chance to win $2500!

Learn More