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+ servings


Alton Brown's homemade limoncello in a small glass bottle next to a halved lemon.
ACTIVE TIME: 48 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 8 days 48 minutes
Yield: 36 ounces


  • 2 pounds (8 to 10 whole) lemons
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle 100-proof vodka
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Specialized Hardware

  • Microplane or rasp grater
  • 2-quart lidded glass container


  • Carefully remove the zest from the lemons using a microplane or rasp grater, being careful not to remove any of the white pith. Reserve the lemons to make lemonade or squeeze and freeze the juice for later use.
  • Put the lemon zest into a lidded glass container that is at least 2 quarts in size. Pour the vodka over the zest, and let sit in a cool, dark place for 7 days.
  • After 7 days, strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer lined with muslin or several layers of cheesecloth and return the vodka to the container.
  • Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan set over high heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the sugar is completely dissolved, approximately 3 minutes. Once completely cool, add the sugar syrup to the vodka, and stir to combine.
  • Cover and put the container in the freezer for at least 4 hours. Limoncello can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 year.