• Yield: 1 25-oz bottle

  • Time: 15 minutes prep, 25 minutes cooking, 40 minutes, plus time to set total

This after-dinner drink is like a little ray of boozy citrus sunshine at the end of a heavy meal and should be served very cold, in little shot glasses. If you’re lucky enough to find some lemons with stems and leaves attached, these would make a very beautiful label or gift tag.


  • 6 organic lemons

  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1 25-fl oz (750ml) bottle of good-quality vodka


Wash and dry the lemons and remove the zest in fine strips, using a vegetable peeler. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and set aside.

Pour 1/3 cup of water into a small pan, add the zest and sugar, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Pour the vodka into a large sterilized preserving jar and add the lemony syrup. Secure the lid and shake well. Set aside in a cool, dry, dark place for a week, shaking the jar every day. Strain off the lemon zest and decant the limoncello into a pretty bottle.

Recipe from Gifts from the Kitchen: 100 Irresistible Homemade Presents for Every Occasion by Annie Rigg (Kyle Books, 2011). Recipe reprinted with permission.

Annie Rigg
Annie Rigg is an author, freelance food stylist and recipe writer. Her writing appears in Sainsbury’s Magazine, Waitrose Kitchen, Delicious, Olive, Good Food, Easy Living and Red Magazine.