Limoncello, Part 1

Lemons!

We recently finished the last of the limoncello brought back from our previous Italian adventure. This was a fairly sad occasion, but did give me something to do with the bags of lemons brought down by my father when he came for the wine bottling: make a replacement! (When life gives you lemons, and all that…) I’m sort of following two recipes: one from Rick Steves, and one from Saving the Season. In truth, I haven’t really followed any recipes at all yet, because I’ve only done the first part.

Peeling the lemons

To make limoncello, there are two steps: extracting the flavors from the peel, and mixing the extract with sugar water to make a drink. I’ve done the first. Rather than stick with any particular recipe, I decided just to put in the skins of all the lemons I had (ten or so) into a jar with all of the 750 ml bottle of everclear (151 proof) I picked up at the local BevMo. You’re supposed to be very careful to only get the yellow part of the skins (the zest), as the white stuff (the pith) is bitter.

Lemon peel

It’s been sitting in a cabinet since the second week of April, and has turned quite yellow. I haven’t decided yet how to dilute it–once I figure out what strength I want the final product to be I’ll add water and an appropriate amount of sugar. And then it will probably age for another couple weeks after that.  Updates to follow in part 2.

Lemon peels in alcohol

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2 thoughts on “Limoncello, Part 1

  1. The best thing about traveling with John Ivey is when someone gives us free alcohol, I get two. Our last night in Sicily we had an hour and a half wait at a pizza place, and to make up for it the crazy Italian man running the joint gave us free limoncello shots. That is, he gave me free limoncello shots.

  2. I’m not an Italian, but I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to shoot them. But I could be wrong. This week I’m going to finish the production (though it will still have to age). Also if you ever go through Naples I’ll give you a place to get some excellent limoncello. And lots of other excellent places, too.

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