Limoncello, August 2016
Limoncello is a lemon flavored liqueur … and it’s easy to make! There’s only three ingredients!
- 5 lbs lemons
- 2x 1.5 liter bottles vodka
- Simple Sugar Syrup
First prepare the limoncello base. This is nothing more than lemon-flavored vodka. Select only good looking lemons with bright yellow skin. Ensure the fruit is ripe and free of bad spots. Wash the lemons in cold water.
Note: The coffee is not essential to this recipe, but it is essential to the cook.
Using a sharp vegetable peeler, remove the zest from all lemons. Don’t dig deeply — only the outer zest is desired, not the white pith inside.
Put the zest into a gallon jug with a screw cap. Gallon jug wine (like Gallo) works perfectly.
Pour the two bottles of vodka into the gallon jug. Cap it tightly and shake.
Shake the jug daily for one week, then weekly for three (3) to six (6) months. The vodka will change from clear to a light yellow, to eventually a bright yellow.
When is it done? When the color is bright, the smell is strongly of lemon, and it does not appear to get any stronger during weekly checks. In the past 3 months is the minimum time I use, and I’ve let it set for 6 months. I’ve also added more lemon zest during the steeping period if I didn’t think the color and smell was developing enough.
These instructions will be continued as the limoncello base progresses. I’ll probably post daily photos for the first week, then weekly after that.
Next question — what to do with 5 lbs of naked lemons???
I run them through a juice machine, producing very strong flavored lemon juice. Note that my machine lets very fine pith through, making the juice milky looking. I’ve tried filtering it with coffee filters, but it’s thick enough that it doesn’t work.
My next attempt will be to use about 5 layers of cheese cloth to see if that works. The juice is fine, but I want less chunks.
Stay tuned for further developments in this recipe!
20 August 2016
I needed more lemon juice, so I purchased another 5 lb bag of lemons at Costco. My son Patrick and I zested them and I added the zest to the limoncello-base jug.
This is totally unnecessary, 5 lbs of lemons (zest) is sufficient … but more doesn’t hurt. I also topped the jug up to the brim with more vodka.
I expect this batch to sit for another 4 or 5 months, then on to the next step.
Since I did this for more juice, I juiced the naked lemons. This time I did what I have done in the past — I strained the juice through a fine straining bag I have for beer making. This doesn’t clear the fine bits, but it greatly reduces the larger particles.
I still don’t have cheese cloth, lot of places don’t carry it and Harris Teeter has not restocked it. When I get some, I’m going to strain the juice again.
Stay tuned in a few months for the filtering of the limoncello base and assembly of the final product!