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cave girl... interesting story. One of Terra's clients owns his own Italian restaurant near our house... a great BYO. At any rate, on our first visit there, we had about 1 glass of wine left (I can't remember what is was... probably an Altesino Rosso di Altesino), that we left for him to enjoy the rest of the evening. As he brings our check, he asks if we like "limoncello", but his accent is so thick, I thought he said Montalcino. So I said how I loved the stuff (thinking he was talking about Brunello). As he leaves to get us some, Terra asks "When have you had limoncello?" I asked her what she was talking about, so she informed me what he really said. Smile At any rate, he comes to the table with these shot glasses of his homoemade limoncello... and it was fantastic. He gave us a bottle as a gift (which is in our feezer, but about half gone), but I also asked him how to make it. Here's what I remember...

15-20 lemons (depending on the size)
1.5 liters vodka (try to find 100 proof)
5 cups water
4 cups sugar

Wash and zest all the lemons, but be careful NOT to get any white. All you want it the yellow peel.

Pour 1/2 of the vodka and all the zest into a mason jar, and store it in a cool dark place until the zest is white, and the vodka is yellow (he said this could take up to 5 weeks!!!). Also, the longer is sits, the better it is.

Next, make simple syrup with the sugar and water, and let completely cool.

Add cooled syrup and remaining vodka to mason jar and let stand the same amount of time it took for step 1.

Strain and store in the freezer.

A perfect summer-time after dinner drink.
Funny.......I was just thinking about this yesterday. Temps were in the 70's and our pink lemon tree is full of lemons. We visited Italy for 12 days this past Fall and experienced limoncello for the 1st time. Very refreshing after dinner drink.....so much as we purchased a couple of btls and brought back to the states. You need to serve "ice cold"! I plan on making a batch or 2 and will report at a leter time. It takes 80 days to complete the progress according to the people we spoke with in Italy? Hmmm, start now and it should be ready by Sping. Cavegirl, perhaps a homemade limoncello off-line is in order Cool?
Here is a recipe Limoncello
sps
Last edited by sps
Funny that you ask - I'm currently in the process of making some now. Here is the recipe I got from somewhere - forget where.

Limoncello

True Limoncello is made in Sorrento, from lemons whose trees overlook the Mediterranean. However, if you have good lemons where you live (I'd want organically grown here), you can get pretty close. It's not difficult.

INGREDIENTS:
- 15 thick-skinned lemons (Eureka, Lisbon or Citron if you're in the US)
- 2 bottles (750 ml each) of the best 100 proof Vodka or a 750 ml bottle of 190-proof alcohol (Everclear)
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
- 5 cups water if you use vodka, or 8 if you use grain alcohol

PREPARATION:
Wash the lemons in hot water before you start. Remove the peel with a vegetable peeler, removing all white pith on the back of the peel by scraping with a knife, and put the peels in a 4-quart Mason jar.

Add 1 bottle of Vodka, or half the alcohol, and stir. Cover the jar, date it, and put it to rest in a dark cabinet at room temperature.

After 40 days, take out the lemon-Vodka mixture. In a sauce pan set over high heat, stir the sugar and water together and boil for 5 minutes. Let the sugar syrup cool completely in the pan, about 10 minutes. Add the sugar syrup to the lemon-Vodka mixture along with the second bottle of Vodka or the remaining alcohol.

Stir well to combine. Replace the cover on the jar and note the finish date. Return it to the dark cabinet and store for 40 more days.

At day 80, remove the limoncello from the cabinet. Strain the mixture and discard the lemon peel.

Pour into clean, unused bottles with caps or decorative corked bottles. Store the bottles in the pantry, but put one bottle at a time in the freezer until ready to use.

Makes approximately 3 quarts.

Erratta

You can also make similar liqueurs using other citrus fruits. "Lime-cello" is wonderfully flavorful and would be terrific in cocktails and cooking. The orange version is more appealing than triple sec. In winter, there are still more citrus fruits to choose from, such as mandarins, blood oranges, Meyer lemons and citrons, which would make good liqueurs, particularly the fabulously aromatic Buddha's hand citron.

Notes: I used Everclear for my version, mostly for the economic value (why use good Vodka if you're going to be flavoring it) and also because high alcohol is better for leaching out the lemon oils. If Buddha's Hand lemons were available I would try those - I saw some once at a market in the area and they smelled great - at the time I couldn't figure out what someone would use one for - they're kind-of shaped like a little starfish.

Good luck.
While living in Italy I used to make it frequently, however I cannot remember how much sugar I used. You can make it as strong as you like, but you want at least 40% alcohol so it doesn't freeze (store it in the freezer).

I used 190 proof grain alcohol. Zest the lemons to only get the yellow peel (the white will make it bitter). Soak the zest in the alcohol. I used to use the zest from 15-20 large lemons (I'm talking Sorrento or Capri size lemons), let it soak for about three days and shake it all up. After about a week all the yellow is gone from the zest. I'm not sure what soaking for any longer would do, by this point all the oil is out of the zest, they are white, and actually crunchy by this point.

This is where I would zest another 15-20 lemons and add this to the same alcohol, soaking for a week. Strain the alcohol through cheesecloth to get all the particles out. Boil the same amount of water as alcohol used (if using 190 proof) and sugar (amount forgotten/experiment), until sugar is dissolved. Let cool then mix with alcohol and pour into whatever glass containers you want to store it in in the freezer.

I've still got two original 2-liter alcohol bottles filled with Limoncello and several fancy gourmet type bottles with corks filled, that I brought back from Italy, sitting in the freezer. That's some potent liquor.
Hmmm...back in college, we used to make "yucca." I'm not sure why it was called that, but it was a frat boy's equivalent to limoncello Wink , it appears. In a gallon sized mason jar, stuff 8 lemons and 8 limes (cut in half and squeezed) into a jar. Add a fifth of vodka (the cheaper the better) and a cup of sugar. Pack the rest of the space as tightly as possible with ice. Wrap the jar in a towel and begin shaking vigorously. When your arms tire, pass the jar to the person sitting closest until their arms get tired and repeat.

The "limoncello" MUST be shaken for a full 30 minutes and then drunk immediately. The person shaking at the 30 minute mark has the initial honors. When you're drinkign from the jar, but MUST pass as soon as you take it away from your mouth. Nobody stops until it's gone.

Man, I'm glad I'm not in college anymore... Roll Eyes Big Grin
Tsunami-San is correct. If the lemons are not right you won't get the real thing. I don't even buy the store made ones. A friend has family there and they bring homemade limoncello twice a year. I dont' mean to undermine your enthusiasm, but there is little reason to bother with making your own without proper lemons. Make preserved lemons instead, then throw a killer tajine and hooka parteé.(by using the word "killer" I mean no offense to muslim winos worldwide). Booga-booga, hushy-hushy, kildook ogly.
...as usual, you guys are right. Why bother to make it when I can search for some great limoncello from Italy. Years ago my husband and I were in a little town on the coast of Italy called Vieste. We were with my husbands cousin who lives in Trento but has a condo on the coast. We went into a little bar and our cousin asked the bartender for limoncello. He started to take a bottle off of the shelf and our cousin asked for the limoncello that the old women in the village make. He reaches under the bar and pulls out a big jug and pours 4 little glasses. It was the best I have had to this date. It wasn't real thick like alot of the limoncellos you buy. It was perfect. So, instead of making it and being unhappy with it, I will just keep searching for the good stuff.

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