Frequently Asked Questions - LimoncelloQuest

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do you filter your liquor?

A: To make it taste smoother. The farther your liquor is from 100% alcohol, the more this matters. That is, it will tend to make a bigger difference on 80 proof vodka than on 190 proof grain alcohol. I’ve done a split test to confirm this and I found the difference to be huge. It makes a big difference on pretty much any liquor though. Is it absolutely necessary? No.

Q: Why do you let the infusion rest so long?

A: Because I like what it does to the flavor. I’ve aged batches up to 2 years and it adds a smoothness up to about that point. It does start to go downhill after that point. It doesn't go bad per se, just starts to lose color and flavor. 

Q: How long can limoncello rest? Does it go bad?

A: It can rest a really long time. There’s nothing in it that would really go bad and I’ve tasted batches that rested for over 5 years with no problems. It does start to lose color and flavor after the 2 year mark though, and that probably depends on the storage conditions.

Q: Have you ever tried suspending the lemons above the liquor for infusion?

A: No. But I plan to try that and will update this item at that point.

Q: Have you ever tried making infusions with fruit other than standard lemons?

A: Yes, plenty of them. In the lemon category, I've tried Ponderosa lemons and Meyer lemons. I've tried lime zest and orange zest, which is another type of liqueur called arancello. I've also tried others that I've somehow failed to post about and lost the reviews in the depths of my hard drive. I've tried grapefruit zest (yuck), blood orange zest (yum), and I have a pommelo infusion resting right now.

Q: Have you ever tried adding other flavors to the limoncello?

A: Yes. I've tried adding mint, even going so far as to attempt a mojito-inspired infusion. I've added lime to a lemon infusion, added vanilla bean, and even added way too much lemon juice to a batch. Perhaps the most successful test was adding pineapple to the infusion, which was delicious.

Q: Are organic lemons really necessary?

A: I think so. I've done multiple split tests with organic and non-organic lemons and find the organic variety to provide a better flavor. It's the outside of the lemon that you're using for this infusion, the part that is exposed to the environment and to any pesticides that may be used. It's important to limit contaminants and to remove any wax prior to zesting for limoncello.

Q: Do you have to keep limoncello cold after opening it?

A: Nah. Beer can go bad if you allow the temperature to swing too wildly and of course cooling wine is essential to keeping it in drinkable shape. The reason in both cases is because of fermentation and the fact that there are living organisms in the beer and wine. Too much heat and you kill the organisms and thus the flavor. Wine "dies" at around 86 degrees Fahrenheit and gets ruined. There's no fermentation involved in making limoncello and nothing living in there that can be killed, so feel free to warm it and cool it all you like. 

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(23) comments

Karen Hilliard December 10, 2018

I’m also interested in trying the suspension method, keep us updated please when you try it, or anyone who has tried it let us know!



Andrew Balzarini January 5, 2019

Hi, I have been using your method for quite some time with great outcomes. However, my current batch is not as “lemony” as usual and leaves a serious alcohol after burn and unpleasant taste/mouth feel. I am sure that all of my proportions are correct and think that maybe it is due to the lemons not being ripe enough or something. At any rate, I have about 11,000 ml and would love a recommendation to enhance the taste and make it more palatable before I bottle it. Much thanks, Andrew

Ben January 6, 2019

Hmm, it’s hard to remove that alcohol burn after the fact without making it even more insipid (less lemony). I think the best you could do is add some more simple syrup. That will make it sweeter, but will help with the burn and should help with the taste. You can also let it sit after bottling, but that will further reduce the lemon flavor. That’s a tough one.

Eric Huczko April 21, 2019

You used to have a recipe for limoncello with cream instead of simple syrup. I make your limoncello with lemons from my tree for the past several years and it has been delicious!! I would like to try the cream this year. Have you given up on that?

Jenny May 13, 2019

I am on my second batch of lemon cello. Headed to Italy, so got inspired????. My question is , do you have a wonderful lemonade recipe that I can use with all the juice. I want something that is like the old recipes I had as a child from the county fairs. Like a lemon shake up.. I am going to freeze the juice, but miss the small town flavor of old fashioned lemonade. Thanks.Jenny

Bill November 30, 2019

How well does the limoncello stay mixed after it’s mixed with the simple syrup? I assume there’s no problem with the mixture separating since you never mention this? (I always assume alcohol floats to the top in a mixture, so I compulsively stir my cocktails when I probably shouldn’t.)

The second 45 day waiting period probably helps the process. I’m excited to make my first batch of this soon.

Michael Shultz April 4, 2020

Thoughts on zest vs peeling?

André Moreau April 19, 2020


It is now my fourth batch of limoncello and the best tasting yet. Now, after 9 months, it has lost the murky yellow colour be become almost transparent. It looks like the oils have coalesced into droplets. Why is that? It never happened before.

If it can help answer he question, here is my recipe: Zest of 15 pounds of lemons (almost no white at all) into 1.5 litres of Everclear. Infuse for 5 months and obtain 1.4 litres of extract. Filter with coffee filter. Add 2.1 litres of simple sirup with 0.5 sugar to 1 water by volume to bring the alcohol to 30%. The sugar level is relatively low but not as low as some of the most dry commercial ones.

Clay August 8, 2020

I made a batch of limoncello with vodka and simple syrup. Stored in fridg for 4 months. A cloudy mass has formed floating in the top half of the bottle. Doesn’t smell. Is this just oils or do I have a colony of bacteria growing?

Andy Mantione September 27, 2020

I’m making my first batch ever using 10 lemons, their juice and 750 ml Everclear.
Planning to age it 1 month but I’m not certain exactly WHERE I should do this
Where I live my basement is dark with consistent temperature around 68 degrees
I can also age it in the house (near or away from a window) with similarly stable temperatures.
I’ve seen a local Sicilian restaurant aging theirs on a windowsill, but I’ve also read that if should be done in the basement.
Which do you recommend?
Any information you can share with this total novice would be appreciated

Ben November 29, 2020

That is probably what they call “il collarino” and it’s harmless, just debris although I like to filter it out when it happens.

Rosemary Lavigne January 1, 2021

Question…can the limoncello be bottled then let it sit, or does it really need to sit before putting it in smaller bottles to gift?

nakia February 7, 2021

Aloha, went to look for your calculators today and they disappeared. I use them a lot. Will you be bringing them back or is something wrong with the website, or maybe on my end.


Ben February 15, 2021

I’m pretty sure this is because Flash went away. I’m working on them now, thanks!

Alicia February 24, 2021

I made some blood orangecello last night using the sous vide method and using just the zest from a planer. It turned out smooth and good-tasting, but not as thick as store-bought lemoncello. Why is that? (Recipe – 1/4 cup home-grown blood orange zesting, ~4 cups 100 proof moonshine alcohol; sous vide for 3 hrs at 135dF; powdered standard sugar and cooked into simple syrup with filtered water; then strained the alcohol contents and mixed in cooled simple syrup.)

Sander Jongsma May 19, 2021

Hey just a quick Q about the calculator. How does the sweetness calculation part work? In the top part it says I need 2000ml of syrup (1L of 96% liqour to get 32% in the end). But then the bottom part says I need less than 2000ml of water to make the syrup. Is this correct?

Furthermore, is there any indication you can give as to a sort of ideal or normal brix level of sweetness for the limoncello that your make? From what I’ve read online, people go from 1:2 to 1:1 when it comes to sugar and water ratios. Quite a difference. So im curious to see what you think 🙂

Rajesh September 1, 2021

My Limoncello is too strong. How do I dilute it without losing the lemon taste?
Second, can I add lemon zest to the limoncello after it’s made to improve the lemon flavour?

Paula russo September 26, 2021

I bought limoncello in Sorrento to pour into swing top small bottles for bridal shower favors. It’s almost October, the shower is in April. When can I make favors, how should I store them?

Don Sterling October 1, 2022

I loved your limoncello alcohol and sweetness calculator and used it all the time to make limoncello, However it no longer displays properly on any of my devices and So it can’t be used. Is there anything I can do to make it work again?

Tracy January 22, 2023

I followed the long version recipe and I am at day 45. The mixture is very, very, very strong. Will it settle over the next 45 days or should I be adding water? Simple syrup? I am afraid I’ll lose the lemon favor by diluting. Lemon juice? Help?

Michael July 30, 2023

Curious what brix level you use for your limoncello. (Using your calculator.) I can’t seem to find any commentary on this.

Deanne August 7, 2023

Forgive my ‘beginner’ comment, but how can I reduce the sharp flavor of the alcohol? Should I just get a lower proof? I’m looking for at least half the ‘tang’ of the strong liquor flavor. The discussions about alcohol percentage calculator is over my head and shooting for 30% is a bit over my experience level.

Thank you!

M Francis August 26, 2023

Maybe it’s a stupid question, but does it make any difference if one immediately decants the sugar/alcohol mixture into individual bottles and then let them rest for 45 days or does the second rest period need to be done as a single batch? Reason I ask is that I was planning on giving theses as gifts to friends while they are still in town. (I would just tell them Do not open until Christmas!)

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