Making Limoncello & Arancello

How it should turn out

This after dinner drink is a traditional finish to a meal in Italy and not having one would be like refusing desert. It’s also a good mixer for cocktails.

Additionally, there’s also an orange version of it called Arancello. So I reckoned I’d get some oranges and lemons and spend a Saturday afternoon peeling them and putting them in some 40% ABV Absolut (Ikea grade) vodka, although ideally 50% ABV grain alcohol is better, if you can find it.

Let’s see how this turns out … in about a month or so.


  • 1 bottle 40% Vodka (as you like) or 50% grain alcohol if you can get it
  • 10 lemons
  • 1 cup of sugar dissolved in 1 cup of water (or substitute 1 cup of honey – more natural)


  • Zest lemons (or oranges) and add zest to vodka. Get rid of as much pith as possible
  • Add the juice of the lemons to the zest in the jar. [DON’T do this for the oranges]
  • Add the vodka
  • Let sit for four weeks
  • Add honey after 4 weeks, or alternately the 50/50 simple syrup – 1cup water + 1 cup  sugar dissolved in it
  • Strain through cheese cloth into another container
  • add lemon rinds to cheese cloth and squeeze into the liquor
  • Add the simple syrup (Sugar & Water) or honey to the liquor & shake
  • Leave for a week and then put in freezer
  • Enjoy

Nov 13th – 6 weeks later. Both lemon and orange macerated well. Added 1.25 cups of honey to the macerated Limoncello and will now let it sit for another week and then serve cold. Understand that using the lemon juice and not just the peel is the old fashioned way of doing it in the south. Additionally, I used honey as that was more traditional. In the old days in southern Italy Honey was more abundant (local) and cheaper than imported processed sugar. It gives a darker hue to the drink though.

For the Arancello, I added 1 cup of simple syrup, which is simply one cup of sugar added to one cup of boiling water and let it cool. I’ll let it stand for a week as well, although I tasted it and it tastes like Grand Marnier 😉 

Seems this is a fairly successful experiment!

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