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By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection


This is my variation on limoncello, a sweet and potent lemon liqueur from Italy, which is served cold in small glasses. I call this clemencello after clementine tangerines, but in truth, I use a variety of oranges and tangerines, choosing citrus with the sweetest peels.

Many recipes for homemade limoncello call for 100-proof grain alcohol, such as vodka or Everclear. I like Monopolowa, an 80-proof potato vodka; its neutral flavor takes well to infusing and mixing with other flavors.


10 citrus fruits (a combination of tangerines, clementines, mandarins and Valencia oranges), washed and dried
1 bottle of vodka (750 milliliters, 80 to 100 proof)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water


  1. With a Microplane, zest the surface of the tangerines and oranges, being careful to only take off the top layer; if you scrape too hard, you’ll end up with the pith (the white membrane under the peel), which results in a too-bitter brew. Add the zest to a large clean jar.
  2. Pour the vodka over the zest and seal the container. Let sit undisturbed in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks.
  3. Place 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, then remove the pan from the heat. Let the sugar syrup cool to room temperature.
  4. Add half of the cooled syrup to the orange peel-vodka mixture, stir, and taste. If it’s not sweet enough, continue adding more syrup until you like the taste of it.
  5. Pour the clemencello through a funnel lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a large spouted pitcher. Divide the clemencello among gift bottles and seal.
  6. Store clemencello in the freezer. To serve, pour into small glasses and offer it for dessert with a plate of biscotti and/or chocolate truffles.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 4 comments on this item
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25% recommend this recipe
1. by DawnHeather Simmons on Apr 12, 2009 at 5:25 PM PDT

Maybe this is a dumb question, but it says to store this in the freezer. Does it expand? Do I need to make sure I leave room in the bottle before I stick it in my freezer? Or is not going to expand because of the the alcohol? I don’t know! Thanks!

2. by Carrie Floyd on Apr 13, 2009 at 11:01 AM PDT

I’ve never had a problem storing vodka in the freezer, but then again the bottles are never completely full. To be on the safe side, don’t fill the bottles all the way, leave an inch at the top.

3. by DawnHeather Simmons on Apr 14, 2009 at 5:18 AM PDT

Thank you!

4. by c.virelli on Oct 7, 2009 at 5:10 AM PDT

I also make this using only lemons, and also using only orange citrus fruits. Either or. I use the exact recipe and it is awesome! Love iT! People really enjoy receiving it for all the holidays.

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