Homemade Arak Limoncello

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, citrus season is here. Juicy lemons, sweet oranges or sour limes, they finally taste like they are supposed to. I love visiting other sites when it’s citrus season. Everybody gets really creative with their recipes, just take a look at THIS beautiful salad or THIS gorgeous dessert, and how about THIS cocktail? All very inspiring.

I am starting this season with a cocktail as well, limoncello. This is not your typical limoncello however, it comes with a twist, it’s made with arak. And what exactly is arak you ask? Well, lets say arak is the Middle Eastern answer to ouzo or pastis. Arak is a strong anise-distilled spirit and is usually mixed with water and ice to serve. I thought it could be fun to make limoncello with arak instead of vodka or other alcohols. 

I loved the outcome. This is the perfect thing to serve at a dinner party, It’s incredibly easy to make (although patience is required). The best way to serve it is  as cold as possible, place it in the freezer for a couple of hours or until it’s really cold. The citrus flavor mixed with the intense anise aroma of arak, makes this cocktail unique, exciting and refreshing. I can already see lots of Summer parties :)


10 lemons

1 bottle (750 ml) arak
4 cups cold water

Simple syrup
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup water

Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler, making sure that none of the white pith is coming with it, if it does, remove it with a knife (the white pith can make the drink bitter). Place the peels in a pitcher and pour the arak over. Cover it very well with plastic wrap and put it away (at room temperature) for a week. After a week, strain it and discard the peels, set aside while you make the simple syrup. To make the syrup, place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir it until sugar is dissolved, let it cool completely. Once cooled, add the syrup to the limoncello and also add the remaining 2 cups of cold water. Stir and cover it and place it in the freezer until is very cold. Serve in small glasses. 

Note: You can also make this with vodka, just skipped the 4 cups of water at the end. Also, replace the lemon peels for orange peels to make arancello or you can even do a combination of both. 


  1. Najwa, what a cool idea to make Limoncello with Arak. I bet the anise and lemon are so good together!
    And I'm with you about citrus - it adds such brightness this time of year.
    xoxo to you and your family,

  2. I hate no idea making limoncello was so easy! And i love that you mixed up the traditional vodka for Arak!

    1. I know, limoncello is one of those things I thought you could only buy. Easy to make and seriously, much better! Thank you!

  3. Oh I have to try this, I love anise flavored liquors like Pastis, I have a feeling I'd love this too.


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