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May 21, 2015 IntersailClub
Sailing Holiday Recipes: How to Make Limoncello

Sailing Holiday Recipes: How to Make Limoncello


A sip of the yellow liquid is a revelation, like drinking pure lemony sunshine. It is thick, sweet, potent and full of the fresh, zingy flavor of the Amalfi Coast’s most famous fruit.  From the moment it first touches your lips, you are transported back to the shores of Italy, cruising along the enchanting coastline with its sensual blend of natural and cultural wonders.

Amalfi Lemons on the cliff-face

Amalfi Lemons on the cliff-face

Amalfi lemons posses a unique sweetness formed by a combination of volcanic soil, year round warm temperatures and the perfect amount of rain.  These perfect golden treasures grow in abundance from trees clinging to the cliffs, the pergolas of local restaurants and small gardens of pastel-colored houses. Lemons form an integral part of life and cuisine of the locals and you will find them being used in the kitchens of every ristorante, trattoria or home along this heavenly coastline.

Limoncello, is the traditional Italian lemon liqueur, usually served chilled as digestivo after a delicious Italian feast.   The history of the original recipe of Limoncello spins through a series of anecdotes and legends. Capri claims that the origins are linked to the businessman Massimo Canale who registered the trademark in 1988; made with a recipe passed down from his grandmother. In Amalfi, they believe it has older origins, linked to the lemon cultivation started by the Romans before the Golden Age.  Some believe that it was used by the fishermen to ward off colds and scurvy, the romantics believe that it was the monks who first used it in prayer.

Although the truth behind the origins is vague, no one will argue that it has become a wonderful digestive obsession. Whether you are counting down the days until your cruise, or your heart is longing to escape back the Italian cliffs, there is no better time to make your own Limoncello.



15-20 large lemons

2x 750ml bottles of 100proof vodka

4 cups of water (or more, depending on the strength you want)

4 cups of sugar (or more, depending on the sweetness you want)

Plenty of time and patience!  Good things come to those who wait, and the Italians are firm believers in delayed gratification.

Step 1:

Wash your lemons well in warm water to get rid of any wax residue or pesticides.  Then use a zester or peeler to take off the peel of the Lemons.  Be careful to take off just the peel and not the white pith underneath, as this will make it bitter.

Let the magic begin, lemon infusing in alcohol

Let the magic begin, zest infusing in alcohol

Put the lemon zest into a big glass jar and pour in the alcohol.  Close tightly and put in a cool dark place to allow the delicious oils and flavors infuse.  Check your mixture regularly and swirl the peels around a bit to enhance the flavor.  Let it steep for about a month until it has a rich sunshine color and a rich lemon taste.


Step 2

When you are happy that your mixture is infused (or if you are just too impatient to wait) it is time to make the simple sugar syrup.  Using a large saucepan heat equal amounts of sugar and water and bring to the boil for about 10 minutes.  Let this cool (preferably overnight)

Step 3:

Strain the lemon-alcohol mixture through cheesecloth or a wet coffee filter and discard the peels.  Add the syrup to the strained alcohol, stir well and put it back into a big jar and seal well.  Let your Limoncello infuse for another month to ensure you get the perfect, traditional flavor.

Step 4:

Pour into bottles and you can store them for up to a year (although we can almost guarantee you will have to make more on a regular basis to cure your cravings)  Chill in the fridge or freezer and serve  after savoring your favorite Italian meal.   Let the zingy taste of lemons flood your senses and send your mind reeling back in time.

If this has inspired you to see what the fuss is about, hop aboard and enjoy the sailing trip of a life time!  From the day you step off the yacht, the smell of lemons will always make your heart long for the lazy days sailing along the Italian shores.  


Margot Jefferson


Amalfi Coastline

Amalfi Coastline

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