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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Homemade Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello

I love making homemade liqueurs. It's not always cheaper than buying them in the liquor store, but it is lots of fun, and you can make them to your own taste, in the amounts you need. 

This homemade Limoncello is bracingly strong and tart, and not too sweet.   

lemon in cheesecloth

I used this method to make Limoncello by suspending a whole lemon wrapped in cheesecloth over vodka to vaporize the lemon oils without muddying the flavour. 

homemade limoncello

I used a high-proof vodka, but you can use any clean-flavoured vodka you enjoy.  I don't believe there's a lot of taste difference between top-shelf and lower-end vodkas, so use what you like. 

I'm not usually terribly picky about using organic produce, but for this I highly recommend finding organic lemons. Everything in the lemon skin will go into the liqueur, including any pesticides lingering there.  If you can't get organic, scrub them very well before using. 

Bundle the lemon into cheesecloth and tie it with a length of twine, leaving a long string to suspend the lemon over the vodka.

homemade limoncello

I used only a cup of vodka to make about 375mL of liqueur, but you can easily double the recipe using two lemons if you have a large enough jar to suspend them without touching the vodka.  

Pour the vodka into a wide-mouth jar, suspend the lemon above and wrap the string around the mouth of the jar until it holds on its own.  Then put a lid on the jar. 

homemade limoncello

Label it! Then put it in a cool cupboard for a month.  

When a month has passed, you'll see condensation on the jar.  That's the alcohol drawing out the flavour from the lemon peel.

homemade limoncello

Remove the lemon in cheesecloth and discard it.  Make a simple syrup by heating water and sugar.  Once the sugar is dissolved, add the zest of one new, fresh organic lemon and let it steep for 15 minutes.

homemade limoncello

Mix the syrup and lemon peel with the vodka and let it sit for another 30 minutes.

homemade limoncello

Strain the liqueur into a bottle and discard the lemon peels. I used an old gin bottle and my awesome husband made this cute label for the bottle.

Homemade Limoncello is great to give as a gift, and there's still enough time to make a batch before Christmas! 

It is great served over ice, mixed with prosecco, or in a cocktail. 

Here's the recipe.  Cheers!

2 organic lemons
1 cup (250mL) vodka
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

large wide-mouth jar with lid
peeler or paring knife to peel lemon

Place vodka in a large, wide-mouth jar.
Wrap 1 lemon in cheesecloth and tie string around the top to secure it. Wrap the string around the mouth of the bottle to suspend the lemon over the vodka.  Make sure the lemon doesn't touch the vodka. 
Put the lid on the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks.
Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan. Peel the second lemon, avoiding the white pith.  Once the sugar has dissolved in the water, add the lemon peel to the syrup and let cool for 15 minutes. 
Mix the lemon syrup with the vodka and let sit for 30 minutes.
Strain the Limoncello and keep, refrigerated in a pretty bottle or give as a gift. 

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