A lemon is just a lemon, right? Wrong – in Sorrento they grow a very special type of lemon, and it’s this fragrant citrus fruit with a thick gnarled skin that is used to make the famous Italian liqueur limoncello.

Head to the Neapolitan Riviera on the southwest coast of Italy, and you’ll no doubt find yourself trying a glass, or two, of limoncello. This sweet liqueur is made using Sorrento lemons, whose thick rind has a tart flavour and is rich in essential oils, which impart intense flavour.


It’s not difficult to make this intensely lemony liqueur, which is best served ice-cold as an after-dinner digestif.


  • 8 large organic, unwaxed lemons
  • 1 litre of water
  • 1 litre of clear, strong alcohol such as vodka
  • 700 grams of sugar


  1. Cut the zest from the lemons, taking care not to include any of the pith.
  2. Place the lemon peel and the alcohol in a large glass jar, stir well, close the jar’s lid tightly and leave to infuse in a cool place for about 20 days, shaking it once or twice a day.
  3. Next, remove the peel from the alcohol and make a syrup by heating the water and sugar together in a pan until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Allow the syrup to cool and then add it to the alcohol. Replace the lid and leave once again for about 20 days.
  5. Now you can decant the limoncello into individual bottles, adding a strip of lemon zest if you like, and enjoy the fruits of your labour!