Because who can say no lemons and alcohol? I mean, really????
Back in late winter, we had more lemons than we could think of things to do with them. Until some friends of ours, mentioned that they make their own limoncello, and that it was quite a simple process.
Remember all those lemons!
We used our microplane and grated the rind off of A LOT of lemons and then you put that in alcohol. We went with vodka. Next, you let it sit in a cool, dark place for a couple of months. Yep, just let it sit there. Give the jar a shake every so often, this helps distribute the essential oils from the peel and zest.
Last week, it had been a few more than a couple months…probably at least 6 months…I decided it was time.
The time had come to strain the peels out from the vodka. A few recipes I looked at recommended using cheesecloth, I substituted a coffee filter and fine strainer which worked well. In the meantime, I made a simple syrup – with equal parts water and sugar…and simmering until the sugar has dissolved. Let the simple syrup cool completely.
Once cool, add the simple syrup (ratio of 1:1) to the infused vodka, and pour into clean bottles or jars that will seal tightly. Make sure to leave some head space if you plan on putting the mixture in the freezer. The alcohol content should keep it from freezing solid, but it will still expand.
To take it one step further…you can make a limoncello crema by adding milk to the mixture. I first mixed the vodka with the simple syrup and then added milk to the mixture as well before bottling it. So the ratio is probably 1:3 milk to vodka/syrup. Again, leave plenty of head space in the crema bottles, as this mixture will expand a bit more than the simple limoncello.
Once bottled, place in freezer. You’ll want to let this mellow and marry for at least two weeks before tasting. Typically, limoncello is enjoyed post-meal, ice-cold and in small doses. You may need to let it sit on the counter for five minutes to make sure it is defrosted enough to pour smoothly.
Disclaimer: We have yet to taste this fabulous creation…but we expect nothing but greatness. Also, I may have just read a book which mentions that Meyer lemons should not be used for limoncello as they are not tart enough…oops! We’ll find out soon enough. All things considered…I highly recommend Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It – an amazing book that I am eager to make more recipes from.
Have you made your own limoncello before? Tips, thoughts, ideas…???!!! Comment below. I foresee many more endeavors into the makings of limoncello!