Creating this lemon liqueur takes time, but the tasty payoff makes it worth the wait.

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I was introduced to Limoncello at a very young age. I downright demanded that my parents allow me to taste the lemon liqueur in my tender years. After just a thimble full, I was turned off of alcohol altogether for another eight or so years. I remember it vividly. It’s almost astringent citron taste, something that so many artificially flavored liquors try to nail, is perfume like.

Limoncello is the ubiquitous drinking spirit of anywhere south of Rome, where lemon groves grow wild and drape their dramatically fragranced leaves everywhere. The mind wanders to how ideal these conditions must be for cannabis cultivation, with Italy’s similarity to California climate.

Cannabis Limoncello

Makes 12 ounces; 5 mg THC per shot

Zest of 10 lemons

10 ounces unflavored high-proof vodka or Everclear

2 teaspoons Cannabis glycerin tincture*

⅛ cup sugar

⅛ cup water

Lemons almost always waxes and coatings to keep them fresh, so you have to wash them well. You can also dip in boiling water for 5 seconds and wipe with a towel.

To zest up your lemons you can grate the skin, if you are careful not to grate too much bitter pith. I prefer to skin them with a knife or vegetable peeler. Collect in a large clean jar, and pour over your spirits.

After 2-3 weeks, you’ll see the peels start to give up their color, and the fragrance oils embedded in the skin will also be released.

You can now strain out the peels and make the syrup that will sweeten it to a palatable degree (and take down the alcohol content a bit if you used Everclear to make the infusion).

(Danielle Guercio photo)
(Danielle Guercio photo)

To make the syrup, boil some water and mix equal parts with ⅛ cup sugar until it’s dissolved. Add the glycerin tincture, pour into the bottle with the lemon spirit and shake well. Serve neat in a shot glass or tiny aperitif glass with a lemon peel for garnish.

*Cannabis Glycerin Tincture: In an oven-safe container double-sealed with foil, decarboxylate 3.5 grams finely ground cannabis at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Put cannabis in a mason jar or vacuum-sealed bag, pour over two ounces vegetable glycerin and seal tightly. Place in a water bath at just under boiling for one hour. Strain and keep contents in a sterilized container. Stores indefinitely in freezer.


This recipe is courtesy of The Fresh Toast, a lifestyle/entertainment site with a side of cannabis. The Seattle Times is running occasional light lifestyle items from this site. For related recipes, news, features and pop culture, visit The Fresh Toast.