Chris here (we really need to set up proper author accounts so we don’t have to clarify who’s writing all the time…)
So after flipping through a cocktail bible that we have at home I decided I wanted to know what Limoncello is. I looked it up (it’s an Italian Lemon Liqueur) and I figured it seems pretty straightforward, why not try making my own.
The recipes I came across all seemed to be different so I figured I’d just wing it – I also wanted to make a much smaller batch as I’m the only one in our house that likes lemon things that aren’t lemonade and I’m also the only one who likes liqueurs.
Rind of 6 organic lemons
1 1/2(ish) cups of GDANSKI SPIRYTUS VODKA (76% abv grain alcohol) – If you can get a hold of Everclear you should use that as it is 95% abv but it isn’t sold in Ontario.
2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
Patience or, in my case, forgetfulness.
1) Use a grater to remove all the lemon rind from the lemons. Grate as much as you can off but avoid the white pith. You do not want the pith. If you get sick of grating, stick a movie on to distract you; might I recommend ‘I Love You, Man’.
2) Put the rind into a container you can seal well (I used a mason jar). Add the vodka. Store in a dark place.
3) Shake the jar periodically, wait until all the yellow rind has turned white. I don’t know how long this takes (maybe a week but I forgot about mine and it got left for over a month…).
4) When it’s ready, boil some water, add the sugar, and stir ’til it all dissolves. Let this ‘simple syrup’ cool.
5) Strain all the lemon rind out of the vodka (use cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer for this) and then mix the lemony vodka with the simple syrup (it will turn hazy).
6) Bottle it and store it in the freezer for a few days.
After a few days I decided I had to try it and I was pleasantly surprised! The limoncello wasn’t at all bitter and was slightly sweet. I’m glad I did not add more sugar (some recipes seemed to call for a higher sugar to water ratio than 1:1). In my case the limoncello went down smooth; Rach wasn’t so keen.
The finished product, bottled and chilled.
I did not use a full batch of the simple syrup because I spilled some of the lemon vodka. I know, terrible! So I mixed it until the smell of alcohol vapour wasn’t overpowering to the nose. I must have done okay because the limoncello didn’t freeze or turn slushy.
In some of the recipes I read they used 6 lemon rinds for a 750mL (Just over 3 cups) bottle of vodka. So I suppose mine was extra lemony.
Try not to spill. It’s quite sticky…
We have people coming over this weekend. I will forcefeed it to some of them and see how they like it. It’s the perfect season for this refreshing apertif!
Also, wondering what to do all your de-rinded lemons after you make this recipe? Make lemonade! We totally improvised on ours, making it ‘to taste’. Simply juice the lemons, mix some of the juice with cold water in a glass (I’d estimate an ounce or two of lemon juice in an average sized glass of water) and add sugar to taste. Mix, garnish, and enjoy!