Wild Lemon Balm Limoncello

Wild lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis)
Lemon balm leaves
Limoncello is a very popular drink in Italy, especially in the south of Italy where lemons grow easily.
Lots of people make limoncello at home, it's  very easy and a great way to end summer dinners.
Everyone has there own recipe and believes it to be the best. There are also lots of mass produced brands on sale, but usually they are too sweet for my taste.
My Mother-in-Law is very partial to a glass of limoncello. She doesn't make it herself, but some of her friends do. Last summer my recipe caused a bit of a stir.
 A friend of my Mum-in-Law's offered her a glass of her own latest batch and asked her how it was.
She replied that her "nuora"(daughter-in-law) made really good limoncello.
 "Oh really, I didn't know they had lemons in England" came the reply.
 "Ofcourse they don't have lemons there, but she lives here now!"
And so on they bickered for a while.
I felt rather guilty, as if I had insulted "la signora" in person, even if, I'm very proud of my recipe.

10/12 lemons (unwaxed and untreated)
A handful of wild lemon balm (home-grown or shop-bought if not possible)
half a vanilla pod
1 l 90/95 ° alcohol
400g sugar
1 l filtered water

Take 10/12 lemons(depending on their size) as freshly picked as possible,  if they are still green that's great.
Wash and dry them. Peel them with a sharp knife or peeler, being careful to avoid the the white pith.
Put only  the peel in a hermetically sealed glass jar.
 Add a handful of washed and dried lemon balm and half of a vanilla pod.
Add the alcohol. Seal. Store in a dark place for 10/15 days. Agitate gently  every now and then.

After 10/15 days take out the lemon balm and vanilla .
Boil the sugar in the water and allow to cool.
Add to the jar and leave for another week(or two) in a dark place.

It will turn green at first and then yellow
 Filter limoncello with muslim /gauze/ coffee filter / thick kichen paper into bottles and seal.
 Drink straight away or wait a few weeks if you can. It gets better the longer you wait.
 Serve straight from the freezer.(I always keep a bottle in the freezer during the summer months)

Wild lemon Balm Limoncello on Punk  


  1. Ooh, I didn't realize you could use lemon balm in limoncello! I have lemon balm growing in my yard, but I've been at a loss for how to use it--this is a great idea!

    1. Well the purists wouldn't agree, but I find that a handful really enhances the flavour. If you check out my pinterest boards there is one entitled "lemon balm", with lots of links and ideas. Complimenti for your lovely blogs, I especially enjoyed reading about homophones..

  2. and lemon balm has a calming effect as well, to enhance the relaxation of sipping on a summer's evening

  3. I just planted some lemon balm. Good to know I can put it to use!

  4. I have dried lemon balm and a frozen yard. Dried okay?


Thanks for your feedback. Comments are gladly accepted ;)