Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Highly Anticipated Homemade Limoncello Post!


Limoncello, the Italian digestive that is sure to allure you with its sweet, lemony goodness and then knock you on your butt with its strength of alcohol content.  Commonly made in Italian homes, each family perfects their own recipe to share as an after-dinner drink.

Truth be told, I started working on my limoncello a year and a half ago.  In the beginning it was a fun activity for Lisa and I to try out while we did one of our famous 24 hour cook-offs, since dubbed: GNI (girls night in).  It could have been ready sooner, but I wasn't ready to mess with it yet.  I was still perfecting how I wanted it to taste.

In addition, we are in the height of Meyer lemon season (Nov-March)-so now is the best time to buy your lemons and begin this project-as it will be ready just in time for Spring!  And there is nothing better than sipping the ice cold nectar on your front porch swinging on the swing.

Limoncello
Makes approx 2 gallons

1 750ml bottle Vodka (I recommend picking a mid-range vodka)
1 750 btl of Everclear (this helps prevent the Limoncello from freezing)
25 lemons (without the waxy shine is best)

What you need:
-vegetable scrubber
-vegetable peeler
-juicer or any kind (manual or electric)
-large airtight jug
-smaller jug for the lemon juice
-distilled white vinegar

Step 1:  soak lemons in sink of water with 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar added.  Allow to soak for 1 hour.

Step 2: Scrub all lemons with vegetable peeler and dry (the goal is to remove as much wax as possible) and roll around on the counter, pressing down with your hand to soften the juices inside.

Step 3: With the vegetable peeler, carefully peel the yellow peel off of the lemon in large chunks.  Avoid taking the pith (the white part) up with the peel as that will make your limoncello bitter.  All yellow peel
pieces should be put into the large jug.

Step 4 (optional): juice the remaining lemons for lemon curd or freeze for later use.

Step 5: pour contents of vodka and Everclear into large jug with the lemon peels.  Cap (be sure its airtight) and store out of direct sunlight for 3 months-shaking bottle to incorporate the ingredients every day.  You will see the liquid turn yellow and cloudy, thats ok-it will pass soon.

After 3 Months:

This is when your preference comes into play.  If you want a stronger, more bitter limoncello-you will want to make less simple syrup (sugar water).  If you want a sweeter limoncello, I recommend using more simple syrup.

Ingredients:
-boiling water
-Sugar

Materials:
-more airtight and freezer safe containers to store limoncello (wine bottles with screw-tops work great)
-funnel
-large stock pot

Step 1: take equal parts sugar and boiling water, mix together until sugar dissolves (Start with abt 64 oz of simple syrup).  Let the syrup cool completely

Step 2: Once syrup is dissolved, pour lemon mixture into a large stockpot, carefully removing any lemon pieces.

Step 3: Mix 1/2 of the syrup into limoncello.  Mix and take a very small sample (careful, this is pretty potent stuff!).  Keep adding syrup until you get the desired flavor.

Step 4: Once desired flavor is reached, bottle and keep in the freezer! 

I love giving limoncello to friends as a gift or breaking it out at a dinner party as a surprise after-dinner drink! 

Enjoy!
~Carmen

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