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Making Limoncello

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435 replies to this topic

#121 slkinsey

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 08:04 AM

I think you're better off, for the sake of versatility, adding the simple syrup to taste as you drink the stuff. That way you could have a sweet kaffir lime leaf cordial by mixing it with some simple syrup, but you could also make a kaffir lime leaf cocktail that wouldn't taste like drinking maple syrup out of the can.
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#122 SushiCat

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 07:31 PM

Kaffir Limes / Kaffir lime rind is also available, so you could make kaffir-cello if you want in this way.

I'm a die hard limoncello fan - my gioia luisa from last trip to Italy is gone - glad I looked on the gullet - always a good place to find these interesting tidbits. I'm thinking of starting two batches at once, lemon and blood orange. I'll report - don't worry, I will!

#123 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 12:13 PM

Reporting back from the front lines of the bergamocello operation:

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The zest infusing in the 100-proof vodka. (I used Absolut, since it was the only brand on offer at our crappy state store.) This is shown at approximately the 2-week mark; I wish I had taken pictures earlier in the process to give you a comparison, but I didn't.

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Here's the infusion with the zest filtered out, the 750ml of 80-proof vodka (again, Absolut), and the 1:1 simple syrup.

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This is the vodka, simple syrup, and infusion, poured into the big bottles before blending. I though it was pretty like this. :cool:

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The mixed bergamocello, in its flasks. (I need to get some more!)

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...and a finished flask with the label. (I couldn't get a clear enough shot of the label, but it says "January 2004 -- Bergamocello -- Bergamot digistivo"

The finished product is really interesting and good. Not too sweet, reminiscent of grapefruit with hints of spice and spicy herbs. It's almost middle-eastern or indian in flavor: cardamom, nigella, coriander. It's definitely similar to, but distinctly different from, the flavors in the bergamot juice. I wish I could upload a glass for you all to try!

I'm pretty happy with the first effort.
~Anita
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#124 jess mebane

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 10:25 PM

Tis the season to zest your limones
Fa lalalala
lalalaLoeb
Grab a handful of yellow cajones
Fa lalalala
lalalaLoeb
Clean we now our deco glassware
Fa lalalalalalalala!
Pick your favy Russian to pair
Falalalala
la
la Limoncello

The winter fades; don't get caught this summer without a decent batch of the cloudy stuff :smile:

#125 KatieLoeb

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 11:13 PM

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

This is just about the funniest thing I've ever read. I would never have expected to end up in song. Too funny! This has absolutely made my evening!

More importantly, the Bergamotcello is a success. So how cool is that? Yet another well thought out experiment goes good.

I just love it when that happens! :smile:

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#126 SushiCat

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 02:26 PM

Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread, just completed my first home-made batch of Limoncello. Well actually it was yesterday, but then I had to get myself to a dinner event ...

Taste is very very good and effort is very small, so of course I will do this again. The only thing missing is the classic cloudy pale yellow color. My limoncello turned out very clear and almost an amber color. I wonder what I did wrong, if anyone has advice, let me know. Meanwhile we will be happily drinking it and sharing with our lucky friends!

#127 LindyCat

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 08:46 AM

I just made my first batch (thanks Katie!), and I wondered if there is an optimum amount of aging time on the finished product? And does this stuff ever go bad?

SushiCat, if you want cloudy limoncello, just add the sugar syrup while it is still warm. It's considered a fault, but a lot of people think it's pretty that way. I'm going to make my next batch cloudy, too.

#128 SushiCat

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 07:46 PM

Oh LindyCat, thanks for the cloudy info! Who knew us cats are all sitting around sipping limoncello! I keep mine in the freezer so I don't think it will ever go bad. Our last batch (not homemade) was kept for quite some time - months, no over a year, I believe.

#129 helenjp

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 04:25 AM

My limoncello turned out very clear and almost an amber color


Mine too, quite clear, and bright yellow. Looks good enough to make an old gal cry. Tastes OK too.

#130 eje

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 10:13 AM

Hi,

Put down my first attempt at limoncello last night. I'm using the method from the foodtv Batali recipe.

Zest of 8 Lisbon Lemons, two oranges, a few sprigs of Lemon Verbena (was pruning and figured what the heck) and one bottle of finlandia vodka. For some reason, I couldn't find 100 proof vodka at the liquor store. I should have asked, maybe they hide the rocket fuel behind the counter. I see Absolut makes one, any other manufacturers?

Batali only steeps the zest in vodka for 4 days before adding syrup. Other more traditional recipes I've found suggest 10-40 days. Maybe a shorter steep is OK, if you are zesting with microplane?

Hoping for some decent organic strawberries at the farmer's market Saturday, for Liquore Di Fragole.

Erik
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#131 Chef Metcalf

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 07:01 PM

Firstly, thanks to everyone for the tips on making lemoncello!

I've just finished the first two batches, one lemon and one kaffir lime.
I used 100 proof Smirnoff with zested organic lemons and kaffir lime leaves for the other batch.

Not very happy with the kaffir lime.
Quite a bitter taste, but the limoncello is wonderful.

We taste tested it against the one we had in the fridge that was store bought and ours won, hands down!
The store bought one almost tastes like it has some sort of weird sweetener in.
Ahh, but the homemade one....lovely!

I added the simple syrup while it was still warm as I like the cloudiness so thanks to Lindycat who posted that.
And of course after it was frozen it's even cloudier.

I see a few other Vancouverites here, perhaps a tasting is in order?

Thanks again for all the info.
Great thread.
Here are a few before and after shots...

Posted Image

Posted Image

#132 slkinsey

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 02:31 PM

That's too bad to hear that the kaffir lime leaf infusion was too bitter. Do you think you over-infused it?
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#133 jayhay

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 02:35 PM

Chef Metcalf, did you get the 100 proof vodka in Vancouver? I haven't made a batch yet, but would like to try if I can find the vodka.

#134 Chef Metcalf

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 02:58 PM

That's too bad to hear that the kaffir lime leaf infusion was too bitter.  Do you think you over-infused it?

View Post


Either over infused or I just plain used too many lime leaves. Not sure.
I think just a scant amount would be better.
Now I'm trying to remember how many I put in there....I think about 10 for a 1/2 bottle of vodka...obviously too much.
We enjoyed the lemon so much though that I don't think I'd bother with making another lime batch.

Jayhay
50% alcohol by volume is 100 proof (or so they told me at the Government Liquor store).
Smirnoff Triple Distilled, blue label.
I purchased it at Park Royal but I'm sure it's in most of the LDB's.

Let us know how it turns out! :smile:

#135 Chef Metcalf

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 05:18 PM

That's too bad to hear that the kaffir lime leaf infusion was too bitter.  Do you think you over-infused it?

View Post


We tried some last night and it seems to be getting better the more it ages.
Actually quite enjoyable now.

cm

#136 lancastermike

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 01:17 PM

After reading this thread for a little more than a year, yesterday I started my own batch using Katie's recipie. I used my microplane and a bottle of 100 proof vodka. I reached down to the bottom shelf and got the cheap kind. I have no pictures but sitting on my wife's Hooier cupboard is a gallon glass crock with my infusinon starting. I am sure by the time it gets hot I will have wonderful stuff. Anything touted by Katie, the co-leader of us Pennsylvanias is always aces.

I will report back how it turns out

Edited by lancastermike, 23 May 2005 - 01:19 PM.


#137 lancastermike

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 04:36 AM

After reading this thread for a little more than a year, yesterday I started my own batch using Katie's recipie. I used my microplane and a bottle of 100 proof vodka.  I reached down to the bottom shelf and got the cheap kind. I have no pictures but sitting on my wife's Hooier cupboard is a gallon glass crock with my infusinon starting.  I am sure by the time it gets hot I will have wonderful stuff.  Anything touted by Katie, the co-leader of us Pennsylvanias is always aces. 

      I will report back how it turns out

View Post



No pictures, but I am very happy with how this turned out. I tasted it just after I mixed it and was not real happy. I thought it was not lemony enough. However, after I let it mellowin the freezer a couple of days it was great. Very happy with this and am already thinking of when to start another batch so not as to run out

#138 Ohba

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 02:02 AM

On my second attempt to make Lemoncello, I'm at the halfway stage. As the first didn't go well, I used just half a bottle of vodka this time around. So I've got 350 ml of lemon infused vodka. It's been sitting for around 50 days. Can anyone help with the exact quantities for the second stage, adding the sugar-syrup/vodka? Any advice on how to do this? If you can give metric measurements instead of cups, so much the better.

Thanks!

#139 eje

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 08:57 AM

On my second attempt to make Lemoncello, I'm at the halfway stage. As the first didn't go well, I used just half a bottle of vodka this time around. So I've got 350 ml of lemon infused vodka. It's been sitting for around 50 days. Can anyone help with the exact quantities for the second stage, adding the sugar-syrup/vodka? Any advice on how to do this? If you can give metric measurements instead of cups, so much the better.

Thanks!

View Post

The target proof/percentage for most liqueurs is around 60/30, so depending on the proof of alcohol you started with, you don't want to increase the dilution beyond that point.

Aside from that consideration, make a simple syrup, cool it, filter your limoncello, and mix in the syrup to taste.

I forgot to ask, what went wrong with the last one?

-Erik

edited to add question.

Edited by eje, 08 August 2005 - 08:31 PM.

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#140 Ohba

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:19 PM

Too sweet, among other things. And with my poor maths, I may have converted cups incorrectly to metric. So if anyone can provide idiot's instructions to Step 2 in metric, I'd be really grateful. I used 100 proof, and I've now got 350 ml of lemon infused vodka.

#141 Chef Metcalf

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 12:32 AM

Too sweet, among other things. And with my poor maths, I may have converted cups incorrectly to metric. So if anyone can provide idiot's instructions to Step 2 in metric, I'd be really grateful. I used 100 proof, and I've now got 350 ml of lemon infused vodka.

View Post


Make half the amount of simple syrup as stated in the recipe (as you only used half a bottle of vodka).
When you add the simple syrup to the infused vodka, start with a third of the above amount and then add a little at a time to taste until you go...hmmmm. :biggrin:

Does that make sense?

And...it's supposed to be sweet.
How much suger syrup you add is up to you, but remember it's basically an appertif or dessert sort of drink.

Cheers!

#142 divina

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 01:50 AM

stay metric!
use half as much simple syrup as vodka!
since you can drink 100 proof vodka straight, make a simple syrup using 100ml of water and 100 gr of sugar.

add it a little at at time..tasting for sweetness!
not sweet enough.. make more syrup!

I notice a lot of you use a microplaner for zesting..
I use a potato peeler.. difference?
I live in Italy and have been making limoncello for about 15 years... use whole grain and only 3 days...

#143 eje

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 10:04 AM

Since you started with 100 proof vodka you've got something that is 1/2 "water" and 1/2 "alcohol". You want to end up with something that is around 2/3 "water" and 1/3 "alcohol".

Uh, let's see.

As long as you have added no other liquid to start, you've currently got 187 ml of alcohol and 187 ml of water. By divina's recipe you add another 187 ml of liquid. You end up with 562 ml total, 187 of which is still alcohol. By my math, that is around 33% alcohol or 66 proof. Perfect.

:-)

spelled divina wrong.

Edited by eje, 09 August 2005 - 10:05 AM.

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#144 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 10:33 AM

Following Katie's recipe posted upthread, these are the the ratios used for my bergamocello (also upthread) and my current batch of blood-orangecello:

When diluting the mixture, use the same amount of vodka/everclear that you originally used for steeping. If you're using 100-proof vodka, you'll want to use simple syrup equal to 1/3 the total amount of vodka. For example:

- 750ml of 100-proof vodka for the steep
- 750ml of 100-proof vodka for the dilution
- 500ml of 1:1 simple syrup (or to taste)

If you're using Everclear/grain alcohol for the original steep, you can bring it down to a drinkable level by using 80-proof vodka for the dilution, or making a weaker simple syrup (more water than sugar).

Edited to add: I also use Microplanes for zesting... works much better (and faster) than a peeler or a traditional zester.

Edited by ScorchedPalate, 09 August 2005 - 11:00 AM.

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#145 KatieLoeb

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 12:23 PM

I notice a lot of you use a microplaner for zesting..
I use a potato peeler.. difference?

View Post


Divina:

The microplane is superior because it removes the yellow part of the peel only, with no white pith at all to turn the mixture bitter. It also cuts the yellow-only peel into little tiny shreds that infuse better because far more surface area is exposed to the alcohol. More surface area = more oils in the finished alcohol.

I live in Italy and have been making limoncello for about 15 years... use whole grain and only 3 days...


I talked about this upthread. I prefer the 100 proof vodka because it gives a smoother end result. I've found the grain alcohol is just too harsh (for me) in the final product, no matter how dilute. It's just "hot" and unpleasant to drink. This is my opinion only, and of course others' mileage with grain alcohol may vary. I also do as ScorchedPalate suggests and dilute with "regular" 80 proof vodka after infusing. Just my preference.

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


#146 slkinsey

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 04:11 PM

I wonder if it's simply the case that all the 97% alcohol available for sale is simply crap quality. Of course, even vodka of the very best quality starts out life as ~97% pure alcohol and is diluted to bottle proof. So it should theoretically be possible to make a "not harsh" 97% alcohol. Since all the commercial limoncello producers use 97% pure alcohol to do their infusions, and these aren't generally perceived as harsh, some pretty decent high proof neutral spirits must exist.

Personally, I like the idea of using a high proof, relatively neutral grappa for limoncello.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#147 KatieLoeb

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:20 PM

I wonder if it's simply the case that all the 97% alcohol available for sale is simply crap quality.  Of course, even vodka of the very best quality starts out life as ~97% pure alcohol and is diluted to bottle proof.  So it should theoretically be possible to make a "not harsh" 97% alcohol.  Since all the commercial limoncello producers use 97% pure alcohol to do their infusions, and these aren't generally perceived as harsh, some pretty decent high proof neutral spirits must exist.

Personally, I like the idea of using a high proof, relatively neutral grappa for limoncello.

View Post


Sam:

I think we discussed this before too. It's all about the target market for "consumer" vs. commercial neutral spirits. Frat boys dont care how harsh the Everclear is because well, sugary powdered drink mixes can mask a lot of evil. If there were more of a demand for high quality consumer available grain alcohol, it would undoubtedly be available. Why not make the buck on something so cheap and readily available?

I love the idea of using a pomace based grappa rather than grain, but the end result would definitely be different. Just as Charbay vodka has that lovely underlying fruitiness from being produced from grapes, I suspect the end taste result from any infusion using grappa would be similarly influenced.

Actually, many times in the production of distilled spirits, the "heads" and "tails" of the run are discarded. I wonder if such a thing is rebottled during the production of fine grappa and sold much the same way as pure grain alcohol is sold here in the US?

Research required....

Katie M. Loeb
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Cheers!
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Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#148 Ohba

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 02:24 AM

Thanks very much for the replies. I'll be looking forward to this second batch.

#149 Dan Ryan

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 03:03 AM

Made a very successful arancello (with Moro blood oranges and a little lime, finished with mild cinnamon syrup) using 95% Nardini. I didn't think the end result was too harsh, and it wasn't over sweetened either. The infusion was done for two weeks, plenty in my book.

I'm currently infusing with a 60% grappa. Got some limes on the go (as well as a strange attempt to make peach bitters). I'll report back.

All in all, I'd say the 95% gave a very good result, but the Italian stuff might be a lot better than Everclear.

#150 alphaiii

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 01:23 PM

I'd like to make some orange liqueur to use in margaritas. I was planning to follow the Katie's "recipe" used to make Orangecello, but using both sweet and bitter oranges.

I plan to use Seville oranges for bitterness, if I can find them.

As for sweet oranges, I could use suggestions. My favorite for eating are Minneola Tangelos. What other types would work well - Blood, Naval, Clemetine, Dancy Tangerine?

Naval and Tangelos are easiest for me to find, at least right now - I gather that Blood oranges, Clementines, and tangerines aren't in season right now.

So what have you had the most success with?





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