How to Make Limoncello with Juiced Lemons

A sustainable recipe for a liquor that can help reduce bar waste.

How to make limoncello and save the planet

If you are unfamiliar with limoncello, it is a sweet liquor that is traditionally served at the end of a big meal throughout Mediterranean Europe.  The simple recipe features a high proof spirit (grappa or everclear), lemon peel, sugar and water.  And that’s it!

What if we told you limoncello is more than an aperitivo – it can also help reduce bar waste!  Instead of throwing out juiced citrus, we made a twist to the traditional limoncello recipe to include more than just the lemon peel.  Follow our steps below to make Sustainable Limoncello a versatile and fun addition to your spirit collection.

Sustainable limoncello recipe

If you are serious about making great cocktails, then you only use fresh citrus at your bar.  Period!  That had to be said because every true bartender knows that when you make fresh juice, you have lots of useless citrus halves left over.  Many of us throw out bags of citrus everyday.  One bar I worked in would fill an entire trash bin with juiced citrus!

Some of you might say, who cares, its a biodegradable product.  But the truth is you are throwing away money with every juiced peel that gets tossed.  By making your own limoncello you can reduce waste and cut bar costs.  Sounds like a win-win!

How to make limoncello

First you need a good quality, but not expensive, high proof spirit such as grappa or everclear.  Essentially we are creating a tincture or infusion by allowing the strong spirit to absorb the natural oils of the citrus peel.  Next we take the juiced citrus husk and vacuum seal it with spirit and sugar, and let it sit in a dark room for two days or two weeks – depending on how lemony you like your limoncello.

Any serious bartender will argue right about now that the pith (the white and chalky part of the citrus) can’t be used for limoncello.  The pith has a reputation for causing beverages to become “gritty”, and for that reason the husk is considered useless after juicing.  However, once the husks are in an air-tight container with sugar the piths are not a problem.

When your vacuum bag is ready, empty the contents into a big pot.  Then pour in boiling water, and stir for a minute.  You should be left with a big pot of a citrus flavored liquor.  Feel free to add more water, honey, even sugar if you like it extra sweet.  The desired end taste is sweet, bright, and slightly sour at the back of your tongue.


Sustainable Limoncello

Turn juiced husks into a bright liqueur with this simple recipe.

Course Drinks
Keyword lemon, limoncello, liqueur
Prep Time 5 minutes
Storage Time 2 minutes
Servings 12 oz


  • 10 Juiced lemon husks
  • 2 cups Grappa or Everclear
  • 2 1/2 cups Organic Raw Sugar
  • 4 cups Water


  1. Using a tight sealing mason jar, fill with juiced lemon husks and one cup sugar.  Add grappa (can also use everclear or vodka) up to the brim of the jar, so all lemon husks are covered.

  2. Tightly seal lid of jar and shake for 30 seconds.  Store in a cool, dark room or closet for one week, shaking every couple days.  

  3. After one week, open jar.  Using a mesh strainer and a medium-sized pot, empty contents of jar into bowl, with the strainer catching the lemon husks.  Discard lemon husks. Put the pot (now filled with lemon flavored spirit) on the stove and turn burner to medium.  Add water & 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Stir until sugar his dissolved (about 1 minute).

  4. Pour mixture back into mason jar.  Let cool until room temperature.  Put lid tightly on jar, shake and return jar to storage for 1 week, shaking every couple days.

    At the end of the week your limoncello is ready.  Store in a refrigerator for up to one year.



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