Limoncello – the Homemade Stuff!

I love limoncello but I have been so disappointed by a lot of what is on sale here.   Quite frankly it can taste so synthetic that it’s horrid!

Not so this recipe with its use of what is fast becoming my go-to trio of lemon flavours – lemon verbena, lemon grass and lemon.   You start off by infusing both lemongrass and lemon zest into your vodka/gin for a week before you add a simple syrup and lemon verbena leaves   After a week your limoncello is ready!   Serve chilled from the fridge   Particularly wonderful on a hot summer’s day but good anytime.   The perfect addition to an Italian meal (or if you are like me – the perfect addition to most meals!)

Limoncello infusing in jar


Makes 1 litre

  • 500ml vodka (or gin if you prefer – basically whatever is cheapest)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • zest from 3 unwaxed lemons
  • 3 good sprigs of lemon verbena
  • 500g white sugar


  1. Pour the vodka/gin into a 1 litre jar, add the lemon zest, lemongrass and stir well.
  2. Leave for a week to infuse.
  3. In a large pan over a moderate heat, add the sugar to 500ml of water, stirring until it is dissolved.
  4. Turn off the heat and allow to cool to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the lemon verbena to the vodka, and pour in as much of the warm syrup as will fill the bottle.  If you don’t have lemon verbena add the lemon juice from the three zested lemons.   It won’t be quite as refreshing as the sherbety lemon verbena but I’m biased as I love verbena. 
  6. Once cool, place in the fridge. 


The limoncello starts off bright and lively and mellows over time.  Try adding some to a glass of Prosecco for an amazing aperitif (particularly good this way served alongside a bowl of olives and/or Parmesan and Herb Shortbread) or have a shot of chilled limoncello after your meal in the traditional Italian manner.

If you are interested in Lemon Verbena the herb, it’s essential oils and benefits, then visit my Instagram page



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