Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Aug 18, 2006 11:57 PM

Limoncino or Limoncello?

Having just returned from yet another (Ho Hum) trip to Italy, I have a question...Are Limoncino and Limoncello the same products?
I've had Limoncello before but recently had Limoncino. The Limoncino had a pronounced lemon taste and did not seem overly "alcoholic".

It could have been that they are the same thing but that this particular Limoncino was extraordinarily tasty.

Any opinions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. As far as I know they are the same thing. Sweetened lemon zest liquor. Sometimes called Limonetto as well.

    1. I'm wondering if the difference in the name is a regional dialect thing maybe? And I would guess, like any liquor or wine, the taste and quality can vary greatly...

      1. I brought home a bottle of diCastello brand Limoncino from northern Italy in April and it was delicious. I bought a bottle of Italian Lemoncello here in Washington State recently and it's not nearly as good as the Limoncino so the two are completely different products it seems. If anyone knows how I can this brand of Limoncino in the US please let me know!

        1 Reply
        1. re: grantpat

          Just curious, what the brand was you bought in Washington State? Is there any brand that is sort of the "standard"?

        2. Googling around it seems to be a regional thing. In Northern Italy it is limoncino, in Southern Italy it is limoncello.

          Other than the name, all bets are off of what is in the bottle. This really good article from Capri magazine discusses the origin, differences between artisan and industrial versions and the importance of the different types of lemon ... I think this is translated from the Italian version, so the language translation is just slightly stilted and off, be patient because it is a good article ...

          “ the lemon makes the difference ... Femminiellofrom Massa Lubrense (oval in shape, smooth skin, very juicy) and Sfusatofrom Amalfi (tapered shape, large with a thick, yellow peel and almost no seeds) are ... characterized by the intense aroma of essential oils that it inherits from the environment. The unique nature of these fruits depends on the microclimate, the proximity of the sea and protection from the cold winds thanks to the use of traditional pagliarelle(straw matting) covering the groves and held up with chestnut poles”

          Then it depends on when the lemons used are picked. The first blossoming lemons, picked at dawn have the most concentrated flavors. There is the syrup / alcohol ratio too.

          This particular maker, uses grappa as the liquor.

          They say ...

          "Distilleria Bottega produces the LIMONCINO, but if the traditional Limoncello liqueur is made from alcohol, the Limoncino is made of grappa of prosecco, with added skin of Sicilian lemons. The skin has a high content of oils, and the product doesn't need other aromas and colours to add."

          This wiki article also mentions the differences in the varieties of lemons and alcohol

          So, however it is spelled, every bottle is different.

          Thanks for asking the question. I never knew all that before.

          I wonder what the best brands are. Anyone tried VillaMasa? It seems from their website that they put a lot of love in their product down to describing how high the chestnut poles used are and that the lemons are hand picked and a certified to come from a specific variety.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rworange

            I've enjoyed Massa in Italian restaurants as well as in Italy, and brought Piemme home with me from the Amalfi coast. Both are good; I prefer Piemme slightly.

            1. re: rworange

              I have had Villa Massa Limoncello, I liked it and would reccomend it.

            2. Had "Meletti" limoncello the other night at Pasta D'Arte in Chicago. Very lemony. Unfortunately, it's only available through a wholesale distributor at this point in time.

              4 Replies
              1. re: twodales

                Hi I'm a lemon farmer in Turkey (Meditterranean area). We produce high quality interdonato lemons in our citrus plantation; I was just wondering if our lemons could be used in the making of Limoncello. All replies are welcome

                1. re: urgenc

                  I have had them both in Italy and North America. As much as I prefer the Italian ones, the Bottega brand is the best I have found around here, apart from making it at home. Which, is actually very simple and easy it just has to sit and rest for a few weeks.

                  1. re: urgenc

                    It's easy to make. I just made my first batch from Meyer Lemons (and am about to finish some from Rangpur Limes). Each commercial limoncello I've had has been distinct, and mine is even more different, but quite good.

                    Since you have great fruit to start with, I'm sure the resulting product will be good. Instead of trying to be like someone else's version, make it to best highlight your fruit. It's near the end that you add the sugar (simple syrup) and dilute the infusion by adding more alcohol, so you can easily experiment and find the best balance of components.

                    1. re: urgenc

                      Hello. Sorry I just found this post after so many months. I am sure your lemons could be used to make limoncello. Perhaps you could come up with a Turkish name instead of calling it limoncello? There are many recipes for it on the web. What is the Turkish name for lemon? Best of luck!