When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade but “I”….make limoncello! That was the caption on a New Yorker cartoon my daughter sent me a while back. Oh! you know me so well, I thought .  As a food stylist, life does give you lemons and I am not talking figuratively here!

One perk of the job is to bring home delicious food and beautiful produce that is divvied up amongst the team once the shoot is over;  but how many lemons can one bring home?  Being one who always tries to make the most out of leftovers,  four years ago I started making limoncello; recycling those beautiful fruits into gifts for family, friends, clients and co-workers.

I always have a batch going but come October I go in full production to make sure everybody is treated with a small bottle for the Holiday season.  If you start now, you too will be able to enjoy a nice glass of limoncello in December.


  • 10 to 12 lemons
  • 3.5 cups vodka ( 80 proof)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar

Wash, scrub and dry the lemons.  Remove the peel with a vegetable peeler making sure you get as little pith as possible.  The pith is the white fiber between the peel and the lemon and will make the limoncello bitter.

Place the peels in a 2 quarts glass container with a lid.  Pour the vodka over the peels making sure they are fully covered with the liquid.  Cover the container and let sit 4 to 5 weeks in a dark cool place (pantry or basement is great).

When ready the vodka will have a nice yellow coloring and smell lemony.  Make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.  Pour the syrup into the vodka mixture and let stand at room temperature for another day.

Strain the limoncello through a fine mesh colander.  Discard the lemon peels.  Transfer the limoncello in clean bottles.  Seal and label the bottles.  Keep in the fridge or freezer until ready to serve, share or give.

I like mine on crushed ice at the end of a meal as a digestif.

NOTE:  I also make a variation with lime since life also gives me a lot of limes.  Follow the same directions, just substitute limes for lemons.

From my kitchen to yours!

CK, la fille du boucher,

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