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Making Limoncello July 21, 2013

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Drinks.
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This project was inspired by a trip to the Farmers’ Market, where someone was selling delicious bottles of gin, grappa and limoncello. While I did partake of some samples, I didn’t end up purchasing anything because the prices were rather…prohibitive. While I’m not intending to start making gin any time soon, as we were returning home I remembered that limoncello was apparently fairly easy to make.

While I was looking about for a recipe, I did discover that yes, limoncello did seem pretty simple to make – but there was so much variation in recipes I ended up abandoning them and making my own (which was an average of several of the recipes I’d read).

I thought I’d try by making one bottle, and if it was good, I’d make more. So I started by using my microplane to grate the skin of 5 lemons. This seemed the easiest way of getting the peel into small pieces while ensuring that the bitter white pith was not included. Not having access to random high-proof spirits traditionally used to make limoncello, I instead used vodka. After the lemon zest was ready, I poured out a bit of the vodka and then stuffed in all the zest. It started to go yellow almost immediately, and most of the zest settled in the bottom.

After reading recipes that said it should be left to steep from anywhere from 5 to 45 days, I decided to leave it to steep for a month, and I occasionally shook the bottle to redistribute the zest.

After a month, it was time to filter out all the lemony bits. I used a coffee filter, which worked pretty well.

I was left with some very yellow – and very potent – lemon flavoured vodka.

Next, I made a sugar syrup (not 1:1, more water than sugar) to add to the mixture. Making your own limoncello of course has the advantage that you can make it as sweet as you like – in my case, not very sweet. After mixing the sugar syrup with the lemon mixture, I was rewarded with almost 2 full bottles of lovely limoncello, ready to drink.

I was so happy with how this came out that I immediately started 4 more bottles of the stuff, which are now steeping. This limoncello is super refreshing – very lemony, not very sweet – and is great added to gin and tonics or even to martini-type drinks. It is still quite potent and I think with this next batch I’m making, I’ll add more water to dilute it a bit more, but overall the result is very nice. So I would like to thank the man at the Farmers’ Market for inspiring me to make my own limoncello – although I don’t think I am brave enough to show off what I have made to him!