How To Make Homemade Lemon Liquor

Lemon Liquor Nalevka
  • Prep Time
    10 Mins
  • Cook Time
    10 Mins
  • Serving
  • Ready In
    1 week

I got this homemade lemon liquor nalevka recipe from my brother after a great party with this drink as a delicious refreshing ice-breaker. As with any fruit schnapps I was mentally preparing for months of idle time waiting for fruits to ferment in a dark place of a cellar. Surprisingly the recipe was super simple (now that I think of my brother it makes sense) and took only few days to be ready to go!

What is Nalewka? 

Nalevka is a traditional Polish liquor made from infused alcohol. Ingredients used for flavouring it range from herbs, fruits through nuts, flowers or even fudge candy. The distinct feature of nalevkas is that they are usually aged to get the deep flavour out of the ingredients and have much smoother taste than e.g. schnapps. In this case you will notice the nalevka has not much time to age but still gets the silky taste of honey and lemon 🙂 

Once you look into the ingredients you’ll notice a scary product called “spirytus”. Spirytus is nothing else but high-percentage neutral alcohol and no, you don’t get blind from it. The stronger the alcohol used the more flavour and aroma you will get out of your fruit over time. If you can’t find it anywhere in the store or feel uncomfortable using powerful alcohol, vodka will do too. In that case I would not add water after combining the infused vodka with honey.

How to make Limoncello?

What else is limoncello if not a homemade lemon liquor nalevka from Italy 😀 The truth be told once you serve the drink many will ask if it is limoncello. From my limited experience I can say the Italian version tasted to me much stronger. The key I believe sits in honey and I encourage you to stick to this ingredient and not replace it with sugar or any other sweetening substitute.
For lemons make sure you wash them well or rinse in a boiled water before splitting and juicing. Some recipes recommend peeling the lemon and using only the peel to avoid bitter aftertaste coming from white lemon skin. I never peel the lemons.

Prepare Lemon Infusion 

I squeeze out the juice and keep the leftover skins as base for alcohol. The key is in the timeline. A week is 7 days and the drink will be still good if you take it out earlier (after 4th day) but not longer than 7 days. Unless of course you’re a big fan of campari bitter savoury tastes.

After putting the juice and lemon-infused alcohol in two separate containers, put them both in the fridge and let rest for a week. When opening the alcohol container afterwards you will notice that lemon skins turned hard like a shell. That is normal. Using a spoon you can squeeze out the remaining alcohol by swirling the spoon inside of the lemon halves. You won’t need them afterwards and can throw them out.

In the next step filter out the pits from the juice / infused alcohol. Don’t worry about some flesh (unless you’re extremely sensitive to this type of stuff). Use a sieve or spoon depending on the amount of pits. 

Now. Mix the juice and alcohol together. Add honey and mix with a whisk until well combined. If you have the feeling that the honey is too firm and some bits and pieces didn’t get fully dissolved you have two options:

  1.  Wait 10 minutes and whisk again. This time you should be able to get it mixed completely 
  2. Mix the honey and alcohol with juice in a warm pot on the stove (very low heat). 
You should avoid heating up the alcohol as it evaporates much faster than water. You don’t want to end up with a lemonade.

Last touch
Once it’s all combined and you’ve used spirytus I would suggest to add some mineral or cooked water to get a milder result and have more drinks to serve.
Nalevka can be still too powerful even with juice and honey reducing the 95% baseline.
After you reach your desired taste distribute your liquor into bottles. Remember to clean the bottles properly prior (in a dishwasher or boiled water). Just like you would do it with e.g. jars for preserves. The Nalevka is ready to drink right away. If you notice sediment settling at the bottom of the bottle, don’t worry, it’s a normal result after filtering. Simply shake the bottle and it’s ready to go. Na zdrowie!



    It takes a week to make this lemon liquor but no worries, the most time is needed for the lemons to marinade in the alcohol.

    Lemon Liquor Nalevka

    Wash the lemons, split in halves and squeeze out the juice. Set the skins aside and transfer the juice into a jar or small container. Keep in the fridge.


    Place lemon skins in a container and fill it with alcohol. Lock the container and put it in the fridge for a week.


    After a week remove the lemon skins. You can squeeze out the remaining alcohol and throw them out. The alcohol will have a light yellow colour. Combine it with honey using a whisk. If your honey is too firm combine both ingredients on the stove (very low heat).


    Start adding water to your combo (up to 0.5 l) to reach the desired taste. The liquor can be served right away.

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