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Making Limoncello

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#91 KatieLoeb

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 09:07 AM

It is worthy of pointing out, of course, that commercial makers of limoncello use high proof neutral spirits.

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Is it likely though, that the stuff that's commercially available can't be found by an avid amateur? I'm certain the high proof neutral spirits that are used for commercial preparations are meant to be smoother in the first place. If there were a big enough market for smoother high proof neutral spirits (read: an organized lobby of home Limoncello makers) rather than the clientele that currently exists for the product (read: Frat boys making Hairy Buffalo Punch in trash cans and not caring about how harsh it is because Kool-Aid covers a lot of flaws) then things might be different.

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#92 slkinsey

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 09:50 AM

That's a good point. I wonder if there are any decent high proof neutral spirits available?
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#93 KatieLoeb

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 09:53 AM

That's a good point.  I wonder if there are any decent high proof neutral spirits available?

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Sam:

If you find such a thing please report back. There's no doubt that the higher proof spirits really make for a far better infusion. The stronger alcohol really pulls the flavored oils and color out of the peels better. Unfortunately it's at the expense of the finished product, IMO.

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#94 slkinsey

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 10:11 AM

I wonder about a really high proof grappa... but that might be too expensive to be worth it.
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#95 andiesenji

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 03:24 PM

That's a good point.  I wonder if there are any decent high proof neutral spirits available?

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Sam:

If you find such a thing please report back. There's no doubt that the higher proof spirits really make for a far better infusion. The stronger alcohol really pulls the flavored oils and color out of the peels better. Unfortunately it's at the expense of the finished product, IMO.

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If you are in a state where EverClear is legal, it is ideal for extracting flavors. I use it, have to drive to Nevada to buy it since online vendors cannot ship to California.
It is the best I have found in my 40-some years of making my own flavorings.
At one time we had a great laboratory supply place across the street from our old office but they became enbroiled in a crackdown by the L.A. county district attorney because, inadvertantly, they had sold some equipment that ended up in an illegal drug lab - though their sale was ligitmate, so closed up shop. I could, with a prescription from my boss, buy grain alcohol from them and it is exactly the same as EverClear.

Online EverClear vendor.

Unfortunately it looks like they don't ship to PA, either. However if you know someone in an adjacent state who can order it for you................
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#96 KatieLoeb

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 03:30 PM

Actually Andie, Everclear is what I've used in the past. It's available in "neighboring states", shall I say, and it works great but still has a harshness that'll singe the lining of your esophagus like nothing you've ever had, even diluted down to vodka strength.

One past batch of limoncello was made with Everclear to start (just enough to cover the peels in the jar by about 1/2") and then diluted down with spring water, simple syrup and regular vodka. That was a bit better and not nearly as "hot" as an all Everclear batch.

Katie M. Loeb
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#97 andiesenji

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 04:12 PM

I can believe it. I haven't used it for making liquers, just for flavorings. I would think that using just enough to extract the flavors, then diluting it with, as you say, spring or purified water, or with less strong liquors, would be best.

I use it to make coffee extract and it works better than any of the other things I have tried. It makes a far stronger extract than the commercial varieties and I know what goes into it.

I don't drink myself, as I have a severe allergy to alcohol except when it has been cooked to death. However I have helped other people make liquers.

My neighbors wanted something with the flavor of prickly pear, which has a very distinct flavor.
I crushed the fruit and macerated it in just a little Everclear for about three or four weeks. Then cooked it for a few minutes, (carefully, on the induction burner - won't heat this near an open flame). I then strained it and mixed the remaining liquid, about 3/4 cup, with a bottle of Lago Azul, a very mild and very sweet tequila. They thought it was delicious.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#98 KatieLoeb

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 05:13 PM

I can believe it.  I haven't used it for making liquers, just for flavorings.  I would think that using just enough to extract the flavors, then diluting it with, as you say, spring or purified water, or with less strong liquors, would be best.

I use it to make coffee extract and it works better than any of the other things I have tried.  It makes a far stronger extract than the commercial varieties and I know what goes into it. 

I don't drink myself, as I have a severe allergy to alcohol except when it has been cooked to death.  However I have helped other people make liquers. 

My neighbors wanted something with the flavor of prickly pear, which has a very distinct flavor. 
I crushed the fruit and macerated it in just a little Everclear for about three or four weeks.  Then cooked it for a few minutes, (carefully, on the induction burner - won't heat this near an open flame).  I then strained it and mixed the remaining liquid, about 3/4 cup, with a bottle of Lago Azul, a very mild and very sweet tequila.  They thought it was delicious.

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The small amount of flavoring used wouldn't reveal the coughing and tearing you'd experience actually drinking a full measure of the stuff, believe me. Besides, an extract is usually cooked in some way and part of a whole lot of other ingredients. It's just not as obviously harsh as a shot of the stuff could be.

That Prickly Pear tequila sounds very intriguing! :wub:

Katie M. Loeb
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Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#99 viva

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 05:44 PM

In January Seville Oranges hit the shops in the UK. I was going to experiment with making 'Orancello'. Has anyone experimented with this??

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I did "tangerine-cello". It's yummy. Good sub for cointreau or triple sec.
...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

#100 His Nibs

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 08:54 PM

Well.... my first batch of limoncello is filtering as I type (thanks for the recipe, Katie). The product looked kind of cloudy so I called upon the knowledge of having a year of O-Chemistry lab and used a whatman filter paper. Forgot that I used to have vacuum filtration available in lab but not at home, ended up doing it via gravity filtration. The resulting filtrate (before addition of simple syrup and additional vodka) did turn out a darker yellow than the villa massa I have currently in my bar. I wonder is it because of that 1 lime zest the recipe calls for? Anyway, to filter 375ml of limoncello is prolly gonna take the entire night and probably the whole of tomorrow :angry:

Taking 7.1 s per drop :lol:

Edited by His Nibs, 23 October 2004 - 11:35 PM.


#101 skyflyer3

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Posted 27 November 2004 - 11:04 PM

This thread is awesome! I have to wonder, has anyone tried pommelo-cello? I love the scent of pommelos when I break one open - it's a beautifully complex citrus. If I were a drinker, I'd definitely be making some up right now.

#102 divina

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 11:34 AM

Me again..
I live in italy, and only use Everclear to make my limoncello and other homemade liquore's.
I like that it only takes 3 days to leach out the lemon.. and it is very smooth... I found my vodka one tasted like Vodka...

I am making my Clementino-cello tonight..
I also like when my limoncello is cloudy and not clear.
I think when you make it with the simple syurp being too hot.. it becomes clear and to me looks too commercial!

then of course there is the Crema di limoncello.. which I need to try enxt, which probably is like Bailey's and you would use evaported milk to the recipe!

Buon Natale! Limoncello Eggnog anyone????

#103 DaleJ

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 12:51 PM

Buon Natale, Judy. My limoncello is always cloudy. And all the while I thought it was a fault. Hooray!

#104 JAZ

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 10:16 PM

Katie's recipe for limoncello (or, more precisely, one from the LA Times based on Katie's recipe) just tied for first place in the LA Times article on the Ten Best Recipes of 2004.

Way to go, Katie!

#105 KatieLoeb

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 04:41 PM

Well alrighty then! I'm as surprised as anyone by this turn of events and am delighted to be the driving force behind so many new limoncello hangovers from coast to coast. :biggrin:

This is very a very cool thing though and I'm really happy everyone liked the recipe so much. I am duly humbled :blush:

Katie M. Loeb
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Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#106 tisch

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 05:25 PM

Congrats Katie and your limoncello sounds like a 'must try' concoction!

I have another question for egullet's limoncello expert: I have read a number of recipes for of liqueurs where the whole citrus fruit is macerated in both alcohol and sugar, presumably because the sugar also has extractive powers. Have you
(or has anyone) tried adding the sugar earlier in a limoncello recipe?

#107 KatieLoeb

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 10:15 PM

Congrats Katie and your limoncello sounds like a 'must try' concoction! 

I have another question for egullet's limoncello expert:  I have read a number of recipes for of liqueurs where the whole citrus fruit is macerated in both alcohol and sugar, presumably because the sugar also has extractive powers.  Have you
(or has anyone) tried adding the sugar earlier in a limoncello recipe?

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tisch:

Not so sure about that. Since with the Limoncello your only trying to get the essential oils from the peels I don't think the sugar would help, in fact I think it would dilute the power of the alcohol to most effectively extract those oils. Certainly sugar works well to extract juices from fruit (i.e. macerating berries in sugar prior to eating them, etc.), but I think leaving the piths attached to the peels if you were to say, cut the citrus into wedges, would lead to a bitter end result. I think the sugar + alcohol mix would work better with "pulpier/juicier" fruits than it would with citrus.

Of course if you try this method, please report back on your findings.

And my thanks for the congrats. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#108 BTR

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 08:53 PM

Would it be possible to cheat and use something like Boyajian's citrus oils for infusing? I think someone in this thread said that using grapefruit peel would yield a bitters-like result but they've got grapefruit oil for sale... Has anyone tried this as a shortcut?

#109 KatieLoeb

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 09:31 PM

Would it be possible to cheat and use something like Boyajian's citrus oils for infusing?  I think someone in this thread said that using grapefruit peel would yield a bitters-like result but they've got grapefruit oil for sale...  Has anyone tried this as a shortcut?

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You could do this, but it's sort of like using vanilla extract instead of scraping out a real pod to make vanilla ice cream. The end result is always better if you have the patience to do things the "hard" way. In this case I'm also not sure if the oils would mix with the alcohol as effectively as it does when it's infused over time.

Sometimes the journey is as much a part of the end result as the result, Grasshopper. :wink:

Katie M. Loeb
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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#110 helenjp

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 03:29 AM

I made a sugarless batch a few months back. It's now a great little chaser to full-bodied winter beers. :smile:

It would need sweetness drunk alone, but in this combo, the dryness piggybacks nicely on the mellow beer.

#111 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 15 January 2005 - 06:09 PM

I bought a dozen Bergamots today at Whole Foods, and my test-batch of Bergamocello is steeping happily on the counter, while I sip a Friday After Five cocktail made from the juice. I'm a happy girl. :D

~A
Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

#112 KatieLoeb

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Posted 15 January 2005 - 10:08 PM

I bought a dozen Bergamots today at Whole Foods, and my test-batch of Bergamocello is steeping happily on the counter, while I sip a Friday After Five cocktail made from the juice. I'm a happy girl. :D

~A

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Very nice! A full report of your findings are expected at the end of the experiment, Doctor! :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#113 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 16 January 2005 - 10:37 AM

Very nice!  A full report of your findings are expected at the end of the experiment, Doctor!  :biggrin:

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Absolutely! 'Tis the least I can do.

~Anita
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#114 Chef Metcalf

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Posted 16 January 2005 - 11:49 AM

Ahhh.....limoncello on a hot day, one of our favourites along with Limoncello Tiramisu.

I have been discussing kaffir lime leaf uses on another thread and I'm wondering if you could make kaffir limecello?

Think it would work with the leaves or would you need the rind also?

Has anyone ever tried it?

#115 slkinsey

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 09:31 AM

Ahhh.....limoncello on a hot day, one of our favourites along with Limoncello Tiramisu.

I have been discussing kaffir lime leaf uses on another thread and I'm wondering if you could make kaffir limecello?

Think it would work with the leaves or would you need the rind also?

Has anyone ever tried it?

I'm not sure it would really be a "-cello" were it flavored by anything other than the zest of a citrus fruit. Vodka infused with kaffir lime leaf would be simply kaffir lime leaf vodka (or a kaffir lime leaf cordial after you sweetened it). Which is not to say that it wouldn't be tasty! Kaffir lime leaf vodka is very good.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#116 kguetzow

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 11:42 AM

Would using a commercial citrus infused vodka as the second bottle in your recipe be worthwhile? Or is that going to to stomp on some delicate complexity? Always lookin for the overkill route.

#117 Chef Metcalf

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 10:06 PM

Ahhh.....limoncello on a hot day, one of our favourites along with Limoncello Tiramisu.

I have been discussing kaffir lime leaf uses on another thread and I'm wondering if you could make kaffir limecello?

Think it would work with the leaves or would you need the rind also?

Has anyone ever tried it?

I'm not sure it would really be a "-cello" were it flavored by anything other than the zest of a citrus fruit. Vodka infused with kaffir lime leaf would be simply kaffir lime leaf vodka (or a kaffir lime leaf cordial after you sweetened it). Which is not to say that it wouldn't be tasty! Kaffir lime leaf vodka is very good.

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slkinsey, did you make your own KLL Vodka or purchase it?
If you made it, could you give a brief description of the process.
Thanks :biggrin:

#118 His Nibs

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Posted 25 January 2005 - 10:40 AM

Bah.... if I was back home in s'pore, Kalamansi-cello! That would be interesting :biggrin:
Anyway, wonder if the Kaffir lime leaf (that i see for USD 20.00 a pound) is fresh. They looked kinda spotty at my local viet supermart.

Still haven't added the simple solution to my lemon infused vodka yet. Just wondering about how much to add. Do I add the remaining 375 ml of vodka to it prior to adding the simple syrup or vice versa.

#119 slkinsey

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Posted 25 January 2005 - 03:00 PM

slkinsey, did you make your own KLL Vodka or purchase it?
If you made it, could you give a brief description of the process.
Thanks :biggrin:

I've only had the commercial kind, but I've made tons of infused alcohols over the years. Couldn't be easier: Get 1.5 liter bottle of good vodka. Pour out several ounces into a jar. Stuff in a whole lot of fresh kaffir lime leaves. Top off with vodka from jar. Test a teaspoon or so every day until vodka reaches desired intensity of flavor. Remove kaffir lime leaves. Voila! Kaffir lime leaf vodka.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#120 Chef Metcalf

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Posted 25 January 2005 - 10:09 PM

slkinsey, did you make your own KLL Vodka or purchase it?
If you made it, could you give a brief description of the process.
Thanks :biggrin:

I've only had the commercial kind, but I've made tons of infused alcohols over the years. Couldn't be easier: Get 1.5 liter bottle of good vodka. Pour out several ounces into a jar. Stuff in a whole lot of fresh kaffir lime leaves. Top off with vodka from jar. Test a teaspoon or so every day until vodka reaches desired intensity of flavor. Remove kaffir lime leaves. Voila! Kaffir lime leaf vodka.

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Thanks for the info slkinsey!
I don't drink martini's anymore but that sure would make a nice one.
I could add in some simple syrup I suppose and make it into a cello (or sweet like limoncello)?
What do you think?
Frances





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