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Make delicious limoncello liqueur using rhubarb or fruits

Strawberry, cherry, rhubarb (Cancler)
The intensely flavored Italian limoncello liqueur recipe is made in Sorrento from lemons. However, the recipe adapts to many other fruits, such as strawberry and cherry, as well as rhubarb. All of these liqueurs are easily homemade in the same way as limoncello. First, you simply soak chopped fruit in vodka. Then, make a simple syrup (see easy recipe below) and combine with the fruit-infused vodka. Use rhubarb if you like a sweet-tart liqueur and use cherry or strawberry for a sweeter adult beverage.  Drink “cello” icy cold and straight-up as they do in Sorrento, or use it to make refreshing cocktails (recipe for these are also below).

Strawberry Liqueur Recipe (Fragole Cello)

Makes about 3 cups


  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved
  • 1½ cups 100 proof Vodka (375 ml bottle or 12 fluid ounces)
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¾ lb. (1½ cups) granulated sugar


  1. Combine the fruit and vodka in a clean and sterilized one-quart glass jar. Cover, place in a cool location and let stand 4 days or up to 30 days. Strain and reserve the infused vodka. (Discard the macerated fruit, or use to make upside down cake.)
  2. While vodka is infusing, in a medium saucepan, stir together water and sugar. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and cool syrup to room temperature. Store syrup in a bottle in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. Combine strained fruit-infused vodka and simple syrup in a sterilized one-quart glass bottle or jar. Store in the refrigerator. Keeps indefinitely.


Rhubarb Liqueur Recipe (Rabarbarcello )

Substitute for the strawberries, 1 pound fresh rhubarb, washed, stemmed, and sliced.

Cherry Liqueur Recipe (Cigliegiolo)

Substitute for the strawberries, 1 pint fresh cherries, washed, stemmed, and halved, but not pitted.

Cocktail Recipes

Enjoy the liqueur cold, served up straight in a shot glass, or use in cocktails:

  • Highball Cocktail: Pour 2 ounces liqueur over ice in a tall glass, top with club soda, and garnish with a sprig of mint.
  • Southside (Mint) Cocktail: Place ¾ ounce vodka, ¾ ounce liqueur, the juice of ½ lime, and 10 mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Add 5 to 7 ice cubes and shake 20 times or until the sides of the shaker get cold and frosty. Strain cocktail into a martini glass and garnish with a fresh strawberry or cherry.

For more food preservation methods, including over 300 delicious recipes like this one, get the book The Home Preserving Bible by Carole Cancler, available from booksellers everywhere.

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