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Grapefruit Limoncello

The ingredients and process for limoncello, and in turn grapefruitcello, are simple.  Mix citrus peels, sugar, and high-grain alcohol together and then steep for 4 weeks. However, there is a bit of an art to picking beautiful fruit, knowing when the fruit has macerated long enough ,and then having the patience to not touch for an additional two weeks when it’s ready to chill and serve. The recipe is a two-stage process. You first macerate the citrus peels in alcohol. Secondly, mix all the ingredients in sugar syrup and allow to “brew” for an additional period of time so that the limoncello mellows.

Living in Florida with a grapefruit tree that yields a large crop every year, I have been making grapefruitcello for years.  This makes for many happy Christmas gift recipients.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Maceration Time: 4 weeks

Cook TIme: 15 minutes

Yields: 3 Liters



  • 9 large grapefruits
  • 1 ½ liters (6 ½ cups) 75 - 80 percentage alcohol by volume
  • 6 ⅓ cups water
  • 2 ⅓ pounds white granulated sugar


Peel the grapefruits carefully with a peeler, making sure not to remove the white pith with the peel. Place the peels in a large glass jar with a tight-sealing lid and pour the alcohol over the peels. Place the jar in your cellar, basement or another cool place to macerate for 2 weeks. Resist the urge to open or disturb the jars

After macerating for 2 weeks, remove the peels from the alcohol.

Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Allow to come together as a syrup. Remove from heat and stir the infused alcohol into the syrup.

Strain into glass bottles, and seal each bottle with a cork. Let mixture “brew” for an additional two weeks at room temperature. Taste and determine if it has mellowed to a smooth enough palette.

When ready to enjoy place bottled liqueur into the freezer. When icy cold, serve in chilled cordial glasses or shot glasses.

Rad Remix: To create a limoncello substitute the peels of 12 lemons, for mandarinecello substitute the peels of 14 mandarines, and for meloncello substitute the flesh of one small melon.