Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Limoncello Experiment (parte due)

If you read the post about The Limoncello Experiment, then you know that I have embarked on a journey to find a decent homemade limoncello recipe. However, I am not a fan of the super sweet kinds that are sold in our local liquor store in NC. I imagine limoncello is not high in demand amongst Southerners. 

As I mentioned in my first post, we were disappointed about the turnout of the first batch. It was lacking in a strong lemon flavor and it wasn't sweet enough. I added more sugar syrup to the first batch and revisited last night, finding it to be better, but still lacking in the strong lemon flavor that takes your senses straight to Italy and beyond! 

The Limoncello Experiment |

Needless to say, I started over with a new batch, but did some things differently:

  1. I used regular organic lemons instead of meyer lemons
  2. I used a different type of vodka - this is very important. If you don't like the vodka to begin with, then you probably won't like it with lemon and sugar in it either. I switched to Stoli vodka, which is my favorite. 
  3. I grated the lemons instead of cutting off pieces of peel. My thinking here is that the lemon flavor will be more potent from the zest than slices.
  4. I kept the same amount of sugar syrup as with the first batch (after revised).
Now the waiting game begins...again. I am only going to wait about 30 days this time instead of 45 - mostly because I am impatient and am craving limoncello!

Homemade Limoncello

Prep time: 30 minutes + 1 month + 2 weeks
I large container

8 organic lemons, washed well
1 750 ml bottle Stoli vodka (80 proof or higher)
1 cup sugar
2 cups water

First, thoroughly wash and scrub any residue and waxes from your citrus.

Zest the lemons. You’ll want to zest just to the white pith, but no further. If you do zest any pith, it will taste funky.

The Limoncello Experiment |

Add the lemon zest to a large airtight glass container (I use a mason jar while the liqueur sits, but then transfer to a nice bottle for drinking). Pour in the vodka, seal tightly, and let sit for at least one week, preferably longer! (Ideally, give it one to two months.) I usually put this in the back of my pantry...out of site, out of mind!

you've let your limoncello cure for your preferred length of time, prepare the simple syrup.

To make the simple syrup, simmer the water and the sugar over a low heat just long enough to dissolve the sugar. Do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature.

When cool, add the simple syrup to the limoncello, tasting as you go. Allow it to rest for another 10-14 days.

Finally, strain the limoncello using cheesecloth or a coffee filter. It is recommended to do this several times, but I only did once and it turned out fine. Place the container or bottle in the freezer and served chilled.

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