The Origins of Limoncello and a Simple Recipe

25 March 2018

Limoncello is a refreshing liquor made from… guess what? Made from lemon! (and also water, sugar, and alcohol). It is used as an after-dinner digestive and is appreciated after any kind of meals. It also happens to be the second most popular liquor in Italy, after Campari. Now let us tell you a bit about where it comes from and how its Appellation is protected. Then, once you have learned the lesson, you might want to try to do your own home-made drink.


The origins of Limoncello


This liquor is so delicious that everyone claims to be its creator! There exist three main versions to explain its origins. Some people from Sorrento say it was invented in their region a while ago and the nobles used to offer some of it to their guests. On another hand, people from Amalfi say it was invented in Ancient Times and farmers and fishermen used to drink it in the morning to fight the cold weather, already at the time of the Arabic invasion. However, the most plausible story states that Limoncello was created at the beginning of the 20th century by Maria Antonia Farace. The woman was the owner of a small hotel in Capri and had a garden full of lemons and oranges that she used to make Limoncello to offer her guests. Her son, Massimo Canale, registered the brand in 1988.


The very special lemons




In front of this battle, the Certification Authority stated that the term “Limoncello” can be used only for liquors produced with PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) lemons from Sorrento area. These are cultivated following specific traditional techniques: the lemon trees are grown under long straight poles of chestnut trees in order to protect them from the cold and lemons are picked up between February and October, before they fall down. They have a thick peel and a very strong smell. If you are able to find some, you can make your own digestive!


Italian Limoncello recipe


Photo by Cowgirl Jules

If you enjoy making things yourself and are a patient person, I’m sure you will love making your own Limoncello. It is very easy.


  • 5 big biological lemons
  • 500ml of 95% pure alcohol
  • 600g of sugar
  • 750ml of water.


  1. Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush, dry them with a kitchen towel and zest them
  2. Pour the alcohol and the zests in a hermetic glass jar and leave to macerate for 30 days in a cool dark room.
  3. After this time, prepare the syrup in a saucepan: bring the cold water and sugar to a boil, then turn off the heat and leave to cool. Once it’s cold, add the syrup to the mixture in the jar and shake it. Let it sit for another 40 days.
  4. Once you have waited enough (we know it is very long J) , shake the jar and filter the liquor before pouring it into a glass bottle.

You can conserve your Limoncello in the fridge or in the freezer as the alcohol and sugar will keep it from freezing.

Think of us when enjoying your delicious creation !  

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