Jessica learns how to make limoncello with Ciao Chow Bambina food blogger Annie Sageer

California Cooking

Annie Sageer grew up in an Italian American family and has very fond memories of the delicious homemade dishes that her grandparents and mom would cook up.

She wanted to translate those cozy and warm memories from her childhood into recipes for her food blog, Ciao Chow Bambina.

There, she shares meals and drinks for every occasion.

Especially comforting during the holidays is a nice, homemade limoncello. Annie recently showed Jessica how to make the traditional Italian dessert drink, along with an accompanying martini.

For more information about Annie and her amazing recipes, check out her website and Instagram page.

This segment aired on California Cooking with Jessica Holmes Episode 87.

Limoncello, courtesy of Ciao Chow Bambina

*You will need a large glass jar to fit about 3 liters of liquid and several days to prepare (for one batch)

Ingredients for one batch

  • Zest of 7 large organic lemons
  • 1 liter of pure grain alcohol or vodka (I use grain alcohol)
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 cups of granulated sugar


  1. On the first day, peel the zest from the lemons with a vegetable peeler and place them in a large glass jar. Try to avoid the bitter white pith of the lemon skin.
  2. Add the alcohol to the jar with the zest.
  3. Cover the jar with plastic wrap and store in a cool dry place for 7 days.
  4. On the sixth day, make the sugar syrup: boil the 5 cups water and add the 3 cups sugar to the boiling water.
  5. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Let the sugar syrup cool overnight.
  6. On the seventh day, strain the peels from the alcohol and discard the peels. Pour the sugar syrup into the glass jar with the alcohol. Stir well.
  7. Serve chilled from the fridge or freezer.

You can also make batches of orangecello by switching out the peel.


  • If you like a sweeter drink, adjust the sugar to 4 cups.
  • The limoncello will keep for one to two years. Store it in bottles with a cap or cork, in your bar or cellar.
  • This recipe makes 6 to 7 (375 ml) bottles.

Limoncello Martini

Equal parts limoncello, vodka, juice from 1/2 lemon, granulated sugar for the rim, lemon slice for garnish.

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