Posted 28 October 2002 - 06:46 PM
A FEW INGREDIENTS AND PLENTY OF TIME
The ingredients for limoncello are simple and few, and making a batch doesn't require much work, but you'll need some time. Limoncello must steep for eighty days; start making it now so that it's ready to drink in the hot months to come.
To begin, you'll need a large glass jar - at least four quarts - with a lid. Or divide the recipe into smaller batches. Choose thick-skinned lemons because they're easier to zest. You'll need about 15 medium to large fruits. Wash the lemons well with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any residue of pesticides or wax. Pat the lemons dry and remove the zest. A vegetable peeler does the job best; it gives you long, wide strips of zest and hardly any of the bitter white pith. If You do get some of the pith with the zest, carefully scrape it away with the tip of a knife. Fill the jar with one bottle of the vodka and, as you remove the zest, add it to the jar.
Limoncello should taste like fresh lemons, not poor quality vodka. Use 100-proof Vodka, which has less flavor than a lower proof one. Also, the higher alcohol level will ensure that the limoncello won't turn to ice in the freezer.
MIX THE INGREDIENTS AND WAIT
After combining the vodka and lemon zest, cover the jar and store it at room temperature in a dark cabinet or cupboard. There's no need to stir; alL you have to do is wait. As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly takes on the flavor and rich yellow hue of the lemon zest. After about forty days, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, and cook until thickened, about five minutes. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the limoncello mixture, along with the other bottle of vodka. cover and return to the cupboard for another forty days. Then simply strain the limoncello into bottles and discard the lemon zest. You can store the bottles in a cupboard, but always keep one in the freezer so it's icy cold when you're ready to drink it.
Start your limoncello now, while lemons are plentiful and inexpensive. By the time it's ready, summer will be here and you'll have a freezer full of the perfect hot-weather refresher.
* 15 thick-skinned lemons
* 2-750 ml bottles 100 proof Vodka
* 4 cups sugar
* 5 cups of water
Yields 3 quarts.
I'm starting my second batch as the first is wonderful....tastes like fresh lemons without the vodka taste. By next summer, I'll have a freezer full of Limoncello for patio sipping!
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