It’s rather fitting that we bottled our latest batch of Limoncello on the first full day of Summer – it’s supposed to hit 96°F today – and up to 113°F [*updated] later in the week. In June. In Oregon. It’s definitely time for a frozen cocktail.

I think the first time we bottled Limoncello was back in 2005 – and we’ve continually tweaked the recipe ever since. Our original recipe called for 2 750ml bottles of 100 proof vodka and 4 cups of sugar. We thought it was too sweet. We made it once with Everclear and it almost uncurled our eyelashes. It was good because we used a lot of lemons and the full amount of sugar, but a little definitely went a long way.

The last few times it’s been with standard 80 proof vodka and a lot less sugar.

For this batch, we used about 40 lemons, 3 1.75 liter bottles of vodka, and 3 cups of sugar. It may be the best batch, yet.

Here’s the revised recipe if you want to make a smaller batch. Everything is personal preference, but I think the original recipe was way too sweet. You can always taste and add more sugar if you like – but you probably won’t. We also go for the max 40 days of steeping.


  • 15 organic lemons, well scrubbed
  • 1 1.75 liter bottle vodka (80 or 100 proof – higher proof=stronger)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Wash the lemons well and pat dry. Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel.

Step One:
In a large glass jar (1-gallon jar), add the vodka and the lemon zest. Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least 10 days and up to 40 days in a cool dark place. The longer it rests, the better the taste will be. (There is no need to stir – all you have to do is wait.) As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly take on the flavor and rich yellow color of the lemon zest.

Step Two:
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; cook until thick and syrupy, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Cool the syrup and then stir into the limoncello mixture. Allow to rest for another 10 to 40 days.

Step Three:
After the rest period, strain and bottle: discarding the lemon zest. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.


We bought the bottles from Specialty Bottle in Seattle. They’re great folks.