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DIY Limoncello, Limecello & Orancello | Cheaper and Better Than Storebought!

Hi, Friends of Cocktails! Today I’ll share with you one recipe that you’ll be able to use to make 3 different “cello” recipes - Limoncello, Orancello, and Limecello. It will be simple to make and 5 times cheaper than what you’d pay at the store, and that’s music to my ears. “But Kevin” - I hear you say - “haven’t you made Limoncello on the channel already?”.

Almost, that was the Super Limoncello recipe, made with leftovers from making Super Juice. A great recipe that’s also zero-waste, so it gets bonus points, but since I’ve gotten a few requests for the standard recipe of one of the most popular Italian liqueurs. We'll make that first, followed by some interesting variations using limes and oranges. And since you’ll only need these 4 ingredients it will be easy to keep some in your pantry or bar at all times.

All of our “cellos” will have the same ABV and sugar levels, so you can use them interchangeably in your cocktail recipes, and that’s what we’ll do at the end. We’ll make a Margaricello, 3 ways, and see which one works the best. But first let’s make our 3 citrus liqueurs, starting with organic lemons, oranges and limes. As mentioned in the Dangerous Ingredients post, make sure these are organic, as we’ll be using the peels. Even organic, it’s always best to wash your fruits first when infusing alcohol with the peels.

We’re aiming for 660mL (22oz) of our three liqueurs, and for each one we need 33g of peels. I’m starting with lemon, but you will be able to adapt this recipe to all of our citrus options. Once I have enough I’ll roughly chop the peels, to increase the surface area, but it will still be easy to strain out the peels when we’re done. Let’s start, it’s Cocktail Time!

Limoncello, Limecello or Orancello

● 210mL · 7oz 96% Grain Alcohol

● 33g Citrus Peels

● 380g Water

● 132g Sugar

We’ll begin by peeling our citrus, and something you can use when peeling oranges, especially for garnishes, is a cheese slicer. While this option is safe on the hands it also adds a bit too much of the pith, so I’m using a thin peeler. So be mindful of your fingers, but once they’re nicely chopped, they’ll go in the mason jar along with the neutral grain alcohol. While some traditional recipes infuse the peels for several weeks, I found that with high proof alcohol does the trick in 2 days.

Remember to shake the jars a few times during the three two days, and that’s really the most work you need to do. So afterwards strain out the peels, which are now visibly more pale, and give them a gentle squeeze to get the last drops of flavor out. I’ll then measure out 200mL (6.66oz) of this infused spirit, based on the total amount of the liqueur we’re aiming for. This now needs dilution and sugar, which I’ll combine first using a magnetic stirrer, followed by our infusion

Now do the same for each of our infusions, and as with most of our DIY liqueurs, you’ll find the Cocktail Calculators here so that you can adjust the amounts based on how much liqueur you want. Regardless, these will all be 30% ABV, which is similar to commercially available Limoncellos, but keep in mind that the freshness, type and variety of each citrus fruit can also contain different amounts of essential oils. So if you see any separation, you can shake the bottle and it will be good to give it a try!


We made three easy-to-sip, well-rounded liqueurs, that are perfect for a digestivo, but I’m sure will work nicely in cocktails as well. I’m really happy with the vibrant color we got in all three, but even if you’d be blindfolded, you’d easily be able to separate lemon, orange, and lime based on the aroma. On the palate their citrus freshness is nicely paired with the right amount of sweetness, but now let’s try them in a cocktail to see which one’s the best.

You could pair them with different spirits - for example whiskey with Limoncello, rum with Limecello and cognac with Orancell, but I think Tequila should work with all three. So to compare them against each other, I’ll make a version of the Margarita… the Margaricello!

The Margaricello

● 45mL · 1.5oz Limoncello, Limecello or Orancello

● 30mL · 1oz  Magenta Blanco Tequila

● 22.5mL · 0.75oz Lime Super Juice

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

So the start is the same for all three: chill the shaker then add the first ingredient. All three cocktails also get saline solution, because salt enhances all flavors, and you can’t have a Margarita twist without salt. Then add plenty of ice for each of the cocktails, seal the shakers, and get two friends to help you shake the cocktails… that’s what friends are for, right? Then double strain the cocktails into chilled coupe glasses, express essential oils from lemon, orange, and lime for the appropriate Margaricello, drop it in the cocktails, and let’s give them a try. 

Thanks to the expressed essential oils they all have a really strong aroma, to let you know what liqueur we used. Limecello gives the Margarita a boosted lime note, while Limoncello and Orancello add interesting notes of lemon and orange that pair really well - and with orange liqueur being in the classic recipe that’s not all that surprising. Mijenta works as a great backbone and mixed with either Lime-, Oran- or Limon-cello you’ll get a refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for this upcoming summer. 

We’re at the end of the episode, but I made sure not to reach The Bottom of The Glass, so I can still toast with Robi & Sašo. That’s because we’re celebrating 4 years since we started the channel! Your support helps us make this show and to come up with recipes - and the ones you see in the end aren’t even all the variations I went through in the R&D process - so thanks to our patrons, subscribers and the viewers. for making this possible.

More than 200 shooting days, probably twice as many cocktails, and countless hours of coming up with recipes, writing, and editing. All of that, so each week we can raise a glass with so many of you watching around the world and say... cheers, Friends of Cocktails! 


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