We were in the area of lemons, mozzarella, tomatoes and a different basil to that of Genova… Having been to that wonderful restaurant Di Paolino in Capri and sat under lemon trees laden with fruit we came home with a few in a bag, thanks to the owner of the restaurant. I had also bought some in the local shops earlier in the day with the thought of making lemoncello ! The true traditional way of making it is to use pure alcohol but I choose to use vodka!

We have been given several large bottles of vodka during one regatta this year that have not been opened and so having seen these lemons I could not resist …! Not that I am a drinker at all but it is fun to make some and also now cooking with the liqueur so much I may as well make some. These lemons are so large and so yellow you cannot help but just imagine how much juice is inside, salivate at the thought of the zing you will get from a bite out of a slice. There is a belief which I have to agree that you are a chef who uses salt or who uses lemon and I know which one I am ….the  lemon variety….! I have always used a lot of lemon in cooking and very little salt. It is something I have been aware of for ages but once I read it in a book on cooking which I must find, then I knew it was true.


A recipe given to me by a good friend who has lived in Viareggio for years, and was kind enough to share this recipe which I have used for years to make lemoncello!

1 litre of alcohol or vodka

1 kg caster sugar

1 litre water

8 large unwaxed lemons

Using a potato peeler remove the zest off all the lemons making sure you do not remove the pith, the white part of the peel. You really want just the yellow the zest of the lemon. Add this to the vodka and allow to sit in the vodka for up to a week.

Put the water and the sugar into a saucepan and heat these through together until the sugar has melted. Allow to cool before adding the vodka and lemon zest. This can be left again for 24hr before straining and bottling.

The vodka by now will be yellow colour, and depending on the length of time you allow the vodka and zest to sit and the quality of the lemons the stronger the colour is.

Make sure you store the drink ready to use in the fridge or freezer as it is best served ice-cold.

There are several recipes using Lemoncello such as the lemoncello raspberry tiramisu, or lemoncello chicken so experiment and use it in some of your cooking.