Bottega's Limoncello Recipe | Cook the Book

glass of limoncello

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Mixing up elaborate cocktails at home might scare off the average cocktail-maker. The truth is that you don't need a fully stocked bar, gleaming silver shakers, or even exceptional bartending skills to make great drinks. The wonderful infused spirits served at fancy cocktail bars are surprisingly easy to make at home.

Limoncello is a southern Italian lemon liqueur that is made primarily in Sicily and Sardinia and traditionally served at the end of the meal as a digestivo. Limoncello works equally well before the meal as an apertivo, which is how we're presenting it this week as part of the menu for a full Italian meal. It's light, refreshing, and perfect for the spring and summer. This recipe for limoncello from Frank Stitt's Bottega Favortia is wonderful served chilled on its own, mixed with some Italian lemon or orange soda or prosecco. The recipe is simple; the only real work here is zesting the lemons and oranges.

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As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Bottega Favorita to give away this week.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Resting Time: 240 hrs
Total: 240 hrs 15 mins
Makes: 2 quarts

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  • Grated zest of 20 lemons
  • Grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) 190-proof clear grain alcohol
  • 6 ounces Grey Goose orange vodka or other orange vodka
  • 4 cups simple syrup (see note)


  1. Combine the citrus zest, grain alcohol, and vodka in a large glass jar. Cover and set the jar in a cool, dark place for 7 to 10 days to infuse the alcohol with the flavorful citrus oils

  2. Strain the alcohol into a large glass jar. Mix in the simple syrup, stirring to combine. Store the limoncello tightly sealed in the refrigerator, where it will keep for weeks.

  3. Note: For simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar in a sauce pan. Heat until the sugar dissolves and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Simple syrup keeps for weeks in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator.