Monday, January 31, 2011

Limoncello




I'm not much of a drinker. BUT, I love a great challenge/test kitchen.
LIMONCELLO. I love the name, it sounds so refreshing and delicious. I don't remember having any in Italy, but I may very well have and not remember. My mother has been talking about this home-made limoncello she had at a small family owned Italian restaurant in Philly, and I have been meaning to make her a batch.
Just like any new recipes I try, I first read many different recipes and pick one that fits my needs. this recipe called for :

750 ml EverClear
750 ml Vodka
peels from 15 lemons
4 cups distilled water
3-4 cups of sugar
(if you want it on the sweeter side, you can go up to 4 cups of sugar)

Almost all the recipes I checked out had all those ingredients. just slightly different in their measurement... maybe. on the first day, you only need the liquor and lemons!


★Day one of my Limoncello: I peeled all of my lemons with a peeler. I was lucky enough to have a peeler that peels thinly. So as you can see, there's no pith on my lemon peels. Having pith will make your limoncello less clear and bitter.


Those are the liquor choices I made. over all, the alcohol cost me about 35 bucks, but I did not want to buy the really low-grade stuff and get bad end product. Besides, with this amount, I can make another batch and then some.


The above picture was taken 2 minutes after the liquor was poured onto the lemon peels. it's still fizzy :) I had asked my mother to stir it every 3 days or so, gently. (I made this at home. I am going to go back home in two weeks). Some recipes will tell you to stir it every day, some will say every week... so I just took the middle. When the lemon peel SNAP when you bend it, it's ready for the syrup addition. We will see if the peels snap in two weeks!

note to self: update in two weeks.



★★★★★★★★★★★★

So, from that point on, I waited about a month to add the simple syrup.

For the Syrup. just bring your sugar and water to a simmer and simmer cook until the sugar is dissolved. just couple of minutes. One thing to remember when you are adding the syrup: wait until it's completely cooled!

Notice the bigger container. Since the amount will nearly double, you will need something bigger or just start with big enough jar.


Then I waited about about 2-3 weeks for everyone's consumption. I strained all the lemon peels and as some blogs suggested, ran the whole bottle through a coffee filter. This took FOREVER. So I don't know if I will do it again, but if not a coffee filter, I would use some thick layers of cheese cloth. A sieve would not be good enough.


Verdict?? Everyone who's tried it Loved it! I don't drink, but This one is a keeper! INTENSE lemon flavor, and its a great addition to your cocktail too, I think. I liked mine best with a squeeze of lemon (a must!!) and some tonic water! Limoncello is very sweet as is, so I wouldn't mix it with anything sweet.



Do you wonder what you should do with all the skinless lemons? Maybe a TON of lemon curd? I froze mine, as you can see below. I plan to make lemonade all through summer with this lemon juice. I took my lemon juice cubes out into a ziplock bag. From my research, these will be fine in a zip lock bag up to 3 months.


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