Sometimes you just got to have a little fun and you may have to play hookie to do it. This is what happened last time I played hookie. This time I’m headed over to Sue’s house to learn how to make Limoncello & lemon bars.

Learning how to make Limoncello 38My first introduction to Limoncello was when I was deployed in 2011 and we pulled into Italy. I loved it, couldn’t get enough. We were putting it on everything in Rome, including our gelato, it was delicious. Never would I have thought I’d have the opportunity to make my own a couple of years later.


This is what you will need before we begin:

1 Glass jar that will fit 100 ml

5 lemons (preferably organic and straight off the tree if available)

500 ml of alcohol at 95%

500 ml of water (you won’t need this for 30 days)

300 grams sugar (sugar water mix)

Learning how to make Limoncello 2Take the five lemons you’ve chosen and clean them off and with a zester or vegetable peeler you want to peel the lemons into the jar, without the pith or the white part just under the lemon rind. It is bitter tasting and will spoil the limoncello. So remember, only the yellow part.

Learning how to make Limoncello 4Peel them right into an empty and clean jar.

Learning how to make Limoncello 5As little white as possible on the lemon peel.
Learning how to make Limoncello 6 Learning how to make Limoncello 7The lemons, once you peel them.

Learning how to make Limoncello 12Afterwards you’ll need to measure 500 ml of 95% straight alcohol. Getting the good stuff definitely matters. If you get bad alcohol, you get bad limoncello. These are just the facts. (Your alcohol should be clear, the one measured above had been poured over lemons previously.)

Learning how to make Limoncello 13Once you have the 500 ml of alcohol measured out, you’ll want to add it to your jar of shaved lemon peels.

Learning how to make Limoncello 14Make sure to pour it all in there.

Learning how to make Limoncello 15It’ll cover the lemon peels fully and then some.

Learning how to make Limoncello 16Lemon peels with the alcohol added.

Learning how to make Limoncello 17The jar is half full, or at least that’s the kind of person I am.

Learning how to make Limoncello 18Alright, now you’ll need to label your lid with your name and the date and we’re going to need to let it sit for awhile. Awhile meaning between 10-40 days, the best average being 30 (I never said this was a fast process).

The jar should be stored in a cool dark place and the longer the mixture rests, the better the end taste will be. There is no need to stir. Over time the alcohol will slowly start to take on the flavor and rich yellow color of the lemon zest.

For the most part it’s time to forget about it for a month. Store it in a cupboard put a reminder in your phone and come back when the alert tells you.

Learning how to make Limoncello 43Everybody meet Alfonso, he’s gong to take us through the process after you’ve waited between 10-40 days for the mixture to settle.

What he’s just done is taken his mixture of alcohol and lemon peels from the jar and poured it into a bowl which he is now transferring to a bigger pot for us to see.

Learning how to make Limoncello 10Now it’s time to make your simple syrup of sugar and water. You don’t want to add 300ml of sugar straight to the batch because it won’t properly dissolve into the lemon and alochol mix.

Instead take a sauce pan and combine the 300ml of sugar and 500ml of water together, bring it to a gentle boil and let it cook away for approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool, and then add it to your alcohol and lemon mixture. Make sure the mixture is clear before you add it otherwise the sugar hasn’t properly dissolved yet.

Learning how to make Limoncello 8

Learning how to make Limoncello 9Left: Lemon Flavor / Right: Yellow dye

Alfonso says that the bigger companies use this dye and coloring when they are making large batches of lemon cello to help flavor and color the batch quicker, however we don’t need to add it to ours since we are waiting the proper length of time.

At this point you can add this mixture back to the jar and let sit between a few hours or up to 10 days.

We’ll take a quick intermission here and let Sue tell us how to make some scrumptious lemon bars. yuUUm.


Sue is one of the loveliest ladies I have the pleasure of knowing here in Naples. Thanks Christopher for being such an awesome friend and introducing us. Back in the states she’s had all kinds of different jobs, of which owning a diner with one of her brother’s comes in really handy when she wants to teach us how to make some Allstar** lemon bars. In fact, word on the street has it that over 200 of these lemon bars were sold at the diner per day, from the recipe she’s about to share.

Cooking is calming for Sue. She truly enjoys it and cooking helps calm her nerves and relieve stress. You wanna know the craziest part!? She doesn’t even have a sweet tooth! She cooks all kinds of amazing things and just dabbles here and there and is kind hearted enough to give the baked goods to family, friends, whoever needs a cookie.

Learning how to make Limoncello 19


For the Shortbread Crust:

1 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature

1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Learning how to make Limoncello 20Using these awesome swan measuring cups, Sue mixes all the ingredient’s into a bowl.

Learning how to make Limoncello 21 Learning how to make Limoncello 22Unsalted butter, don’t forget!

Learning how to make Limoncello 23Get your hands dirty.

While you are mixing all of these ingredients together heat your oven with the middle rack to 350 degrees and grease an 8X8 baking pan to prepare.

First comes the flour and the butter, when its crumbly add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. The end result should look like a slightly crumbly cookie dough.

Now, take your mixed dough and press it down into the baking pan fully using a fort o add holes all across the surface.

Now for the baking. Once the oven is preheated, pop your pan in for approximately 22 minutes.


Learning how to make Limoncello 24We’ve finally let the combination of sugar, water, and lemons sit long enough and are ready to strain the lemons out of the jar using cheese cloth.

Learning how to make Limoncello 25 Learning how to make Limoncello 26You may need someone to help!

Learning how to make Limoncello 27Once you strain the lemon peels out don’t forget to use a spoon or your hands to smash them down and ring all the juice/alcohol/sugar our of them and into your finished product.

Learning how to make Limoncello 46 Learning how to make Limoncello 47Once you ring them out, they can be discarded.

Learning how to make Limoncello 28 Learning how to make Limoncello 29Finished product! Now you put it in a long necked jar and freeze until serving. When you are ready to drink take it out of the freezer and let stand for a few minutes and enjoy!


Learning how to make Limoncello 30

For the lemon layer on top of the crust you’ll need:

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1 cup of white sugar

2 tablespoons of all purpose flower

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar or to taste

Learning how to make Limoncello 31Beat eggs and egg yolk together in a bowl, whisk in white sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour until smooth. Add in lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk for 2 minutes

Learning how to make Limoncello 34Once you pull your crust out of the oven pour the lemon layer into the pan and put it back into the oven. Bake until the custard is set and the top has a thin, white, sugary, crust. Dust lemon bars with confectioner’s sugar, let cool, and serve.


Learning how to make Limoncello 35We had spent so much time learning how to cook or making our limoncello, I didn’t even realize how starving I was until they started to bring out the food.

Here on the left we have lasagna, in the back a potato dish, and on the right an eggplant dish. The food was so good!

Learning how to make Limoncello 36 Learning how to make Limoncello 37 For desert, none other than Sue’s lemon bars. She had made an extra batch in the morning for us to enjoy.

Learning how to make LimoncelloSeriously try the recipe, you won’t be disappointed!


Learning how to make Limoncello 42For the final event of the day, Alfonso let us taste all kinds of different flavors of the limoncello. It was a lot of fun. I can’t believe it but I have to admit the chestnutcello turned out to be pretty good. I don’t particularly care for roasted chestnuts, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about that one.

Yes you can make all of these different flavors on your own but it will take some serious experimenting. haha.

If you ever have the opportunity to try one of Sue’s excursions, whether it be a cooking class, accompanying her to the fish market to see how to buy and clean fish in Italy, American brunch, I highly recommend any event she has because she’s honest, knowledgeable, caring, and will always give the best advice and best quality.

This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.