Saturday, December 24, 2011

Limoncello Part Three

Beautiful bottles of limoncello
My dad is the most difficult person to get a Christmas gift for. Each year we all brainstorm and try to figure out what to get dad. This year I may actually have a great gift. My dad loves lemons. He also loves limoncello. Actually, he likes any Italian liqueur. So this year I am making him homemade limoncello.  He liked my last two batches and I think he will really like this one. I am applying the lessons I learned from the last two batches to make this the best batch yet. I used organic lemons and oranges. You don't want to make a pesticide limoncello. I washed and scrubbed them (several times). This is important because you are using the zest.  I also opted for vodka instead of Everclear. I think vodka makes a smoother limoncello. Also I just don't want that much alcohol. The downside of using vodka instead of pure grain alcohol is not as much lemony flavor is extracted from the zest. I decided to add lemon juice to the simple syrup to add more lemony flavor.

So it is time to zest the lemons.......

The beginnings of limoncello


12-14 Lemons
1 Orange
1 Bottle (750 ml) of Vodka

Carefully zest the lemons and orange.

 Place the zest in a one quart mason jar.

Lots of zest

Pour the vodka into the mason jar (and over the zester to get the last bits of zest). Store in a dark cool place for 2-3 weeks shaking the jar every couple of days.
Vodka plus zest
Lessons learned- a quart mason jar works great. I sterilized it before I used it. Small lemons equals hand cramps (ouch!). It is much more difficult to zest a small lemon than a large one. Next time I will look for larger lemons.
The vodka after two weeks 
Lemony Simple Syrup 

Did I mention my dad loves lemons? One of the comments to a previous limoncello recommended adding lemon juice to the simple syrup (thanks for the idea)! I thought that was a great idea so here it goes.

5 Cups (1.18 L) of Water
4 Cups (800 g) of Sugar
1 Cup (240 ml) of Lemon Juice, Strained

In a medium saucepan heat the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Let the simple syrup cool completely. Add the lemon juice.
Adding the strained lemon juice
Making the Limoncello

Strain the vodka (discard the zest) and add the lemon simple syrup. Pour into sterilized bottles.

The bottom line: will I make this again? Yes. It was fantastic; it had a wonderful lemony flavor. It had more lemon flavor than most limoncellos. It still has a bit of the limoncello bite but not as much as one made with Everclear. It is so drinkable like a cold lemonade on a hot summer day.  Did dad like it? Yes he did. Guess what he will be getting for Christmas next year?

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