Tales From The Top Shelf: Villa Massa Limoncello

I won't hurt you.
I won't hurt you.
Photo by Kate McLean
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Some people love limoncello— some are terrified of it, and for good reason. Unfortunately, there is a lot of limoncello both homemade and retail that are either sickingly sweet or reminiscent of lemon Pledge. With a recipe that dates back to 1890, and devoid of artificial coloring and ingredients, Villa Massa is the best ‘cello on the market, and totally clutch to have on hand in the freezer—right next to the lemon sorbetto. Sgroppino anyone?

To begin, Villa Massa uses only the best lemons when making this quintessential Italian sipper. The PGI-protected “limone di Sorrento,” is hand-picked, ripe and juicy, in sunny Sorrento. The prized citrus is then finely peeled using razor sharp kiwi peelers imported from New Zealand. Perfect shavings sans bitter, white pith. To make limoncello, a neutral grain spirit is essential, but really, one with a high alcohol content, like, gulp, Everclear. The strength of the alcohol is what pulls the color and oils from the lemon zest.

After a few months of infusing, the alcohol is finely strained and mixed with water and sugar.  Because Villa Massa uses all natural ingredients, it's best to consume within a year of bottling.  Lot's of producers use artificial coloring that results in a neon yellow product; because Villa Massa is authentic, the color is more of a muted yellow, which is why the bottle is frosted.

Back to Sgroppino—this icy-cold, hand mixed treat is insane.  Lemon sorbetto and limoncello whisked together and finally topped off with a little Prosecco. Like, wow. Villa Massa can be found at most liquor stores and usually runs about $26 a bottle. 

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.