Does Limoncello go bad?

In this article, we will answer the question “Does Limoncello go bad?”, how can you tell if Limoncello has gone bad, how to store limoncello, what happens if you drink expired limoncello, and how to make limoncello at home.

Does Limoncello go bad?

Limoncello does not go bad unless you help it. The alcohol and the lemon lend this fresh beverage quite a long shelf-life as compared to non-alcoholic beverages. 

Even when the limoncello does go bad, it mostly loses its flavor and strength instead of growing mold. There is a difference between becoming unfit for consumption and not meeting the quality standards. 

Limoncello that has gone bad may not necessarily be unsafe. If stored correctly, limoncello does not become unfit for consumption even after the recommended storage period. But it won’t taste fresh.

How can you tell if Limoncello has gone bad?

Fresh limoncello is a perfect balance of sweet, boozy, and tangy. Italians like to drink their limoncello which has a predominantly boozy taste with zesty notes.

When the limoncello goes bad, it develops an off-odor and an off-flavor. The off-smell is characterized by fermented lemons. The flavor of spoiled limoncello will be too sour to taste. 

Sometimes, these spoilage signs are accompanied by a cloud appearance. If you notice any of these symptoms in your limoncello, it is time to make some fresh limoncello. 

How to store limoncello for an extended shelf-life?

Whether homemade or store-bought, you can prolong the shelf-life of limoncello by storing it correctly. Start by selecting the correct container for storage. Invest in a good-quality glass container that is air-tight and can withstand freezing temperatures.

Refrigeration and freezing are both viable options for storing limoncello. The choice of the storage method depends on how long you want your limoncello to last. 

If you are sure you would finish the limoncello jar in 2-3 months, refrigeration is ideal. If you want to keep the limoncello around for longer, free up space in the freezer. The good thing is that a limoncello having 150 proof alcohol or higher, stays liquid in the freezer.

Limoncello made using 100-proof alcohol will freeze to a slushy texture. In this case, it is best to finish your limoncello within 6 months of storage. After 12 months, it will not taste the best but will remain salvageable. 

What are the repercussions of drinking expired limoncello?

Drinking expired Limoncello is not the same as drinking expired dairy products. Consuming expired limoncello does not cause food poisoning but it sure is an unpleasant experience. 

If the lemons in the expired limoncello have fermented, you may experience an upset stomach or a mild stomach ache and that’s it. 

How to make Limoncello?


  • 12 lemons
  • 3 cups of vodka
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar


  • Colander or bowl
  • Mesh strainer
  • Sharp vegetable peeler
  • A large jar with a lid, at least a quart
  • Paper coffee filter, paper towel, or cheesecloth
  • Bottles or jars for your finished limoncello and parchment paper


  1. Thoroughly wash your lemons. Then rub them with a clean cloth to remove the outer layer. Zest the lemons being mindful of not tasting the pith.
  1. Fill a glass jar with the zested lemon. Pour vodka from the top to submerge the zest in alcohol.
  2. Let the zest infuse into the vodka for 4 days. After the time is over, filter the zest and collect the lemon-infused vodka. To do this, use a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter, paper towel, or a double layer of cheesecloth. 

If you opt for the coffee filter or paper towel, make sure to rinse them with water before using them for filtration. Otherwise, the paper fibers will dissolve in the filtrate lending it an undesirable taste.

  1. Pour water into a saucepan. Then stir in sugar. Dissolve the sugar over medium heat to make syrup. 
  1. Pour half of the sugar syrup into the lemon-infused vodka. Then stir to mix thoroughly. Put a lid or cover over the container and place it in the fridge for about 24 hours.
  1. Taste the limoncello before serving. Add syrup as per need. Remember that adding more syrup will dilute the flavor of the limoncello.
  1. Store your limoncello in the freezer to make it last up to a year. Make sure you leave a headspace of 1 or a ½ inch so that the glass jar or container does not break when the liquid expands.


In this article, we answered the question “Does Limoncello go bad?”, how can you tell if Limoncello has gone bad, how to store limoncello, what happens if you drink expired limoncello, and how to make limoncello at home.

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