Holiday Menu, Recipe 7 - Limoncillo

Just one sip of limoncello rockets me back to the memory of meeting the world’s brashest, most delightful waiter while on holiday in Italy. We were in a dark, back-street café, surrounded by broken English signs on the wall, such as ‘No ask for steak more done’, after enjoying the best steak Florentine’s of our lives.


The time came for us to ask for the bill, as it inevitability does but the waiter wouldn’t let us pay for it until we had finished every last drop of the small bottle of limoncello he offered us (to be fair, we didn’t put up much of a fight). I loved him, the honesty of the food and the limoncello. So, in honour of crotchety, wonderful waiters throughout Italy, here’s my take on the Southern Italian classic. Makes +- 1 litre.


6 large unwaxed lemons

1 bottle of vodka

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water



  1. Using a potato peeler, peel off the yellow waxy part of the lemon skin. Be careful not to shave off the white pith as that may result in a bitter limoncello
  2. Pour the vodka into a clean glass bottle, stir in the lemon zest
  3. Seal the bottle and store in a cool, dark cupboard to at least 10 days. Be sure to stop by every few days and give it a gentle shake.
  4. Once the 10 days are up, strain off the lemon zest and discard
  5. Make a simple sugar syrup by heating the sugar and water over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved
  6. Let it cool a bit before mixing it in to the lemony vodka. Bellissima!