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Making Limoncello

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#151 alphaiii

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 01:41 PM

Well I may need to reevaluate this idea a little since if I just add simple syrup after the infusion it will cut the proof down.

#152 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 02:08 PM

I made a blood-orangello a few months back that was OK, but nothing special. My bergamocello (made with bergamot oranges) is one of the most amazing things have ever tasted (she said modestly). Details and photos are over on the limoncello thread.

I'm doing a buddha's hand infusion right now, which I may or may not turns into a 'cello.

In general, I would say that you want oranges with interesting-smelling skin (preferably as soon off the tree as possible), rather than those with good-tasting fruit.

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#153 KatieLoeb

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 02:13 PM

I made a blood-orangello a few months back that was OK, but nothing special. My bergamocello (made with bergamot oranges) is one of the most amazing things  have ever tasted (she said modestly). Details and photos are over on the limoncello thread.

I'm doing a buddha's hand infusion right now, which I may or may not turns into a 'cello.

In general, I would say that you want oranges with interesting-smelling skin (preferably as soon off the tree as possible), rather than those with good-tasting fruit.

~A

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This is what I was thinking. The flavor in a "-cello" is from the zest, not the juice, so I'm not so sure how something like Blood Orange would translate, given that the flavor is in the fruit.

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#154 Jason Perlow

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 02:15 PM

I want to make Esrog-cello.
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#155 eje

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 03:32 PM

I made a blood orange ratafia based on a Clementine Ratafia recipe I found on the web. It was quite nice and very attractively colored. A little Star Anise is a really nice flavor combination with the flavors of the blood oranges.

However, it went off rather quickly after making, so I don't think I got the alcohol where it needed to be or perhaps wasn't careful enough in my sterilization.

Vin d'orange, also where you use the juice of the fruit, might be interesting with Blood Oranges.

The skins of Meyer Lemons are interestingly scented. Kind of musky and thyme-like. I may try a limoncello with them this year.

-Erik
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#156 KatieLoeb

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 04:33 PM

I made a blood orange ratafia based on a Clementine Ratafia recipe I found on the web.  It was quite nice and very attractively colored.  A little Star Anise is a really nice flavor combination with the flavors of the blood oranges.

However, it went off rather quickly after making, so I don't think I got the alcohol where it needed to be or perhaps wasn't careful enough in my sterilization.

Vin d'orange, also where you use the juice of the fruit, might be interesting with Blood Oranges.

The skins of Meyer Lemons are interestingly scented.  Kind of musky and thyme-like.  I may try a limoncello with them this year.

-Erik

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What is ratafia? Sounds interesting.

And please report back in the Limoncello thread on your results with the Meyer lemons. I'm quite curious how that would turn out.

Katie M. Loeb
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#157 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 05:32 PM

I'd go with some variety of mandarin or seville.

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#158 eje

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 10:23 PM

What is ratafia?  Sounds interesting.

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Liqueur traditions are so confusing.

For me one of the big distinctions are those that sweeten while infusing and those that sweeten after.

French, English, and American liqueurs almost always add sugar during the fruit infusion process, while Italian liqueurs almost always do not.

Ratafias fall among those that are sweetened while infusing. They are whole fruit liqueurs which are sweetened during the infusion process and are usually spiced.

So a typical citrus ratafia would be citrus juice, citrus zest, alcohol, sugar, and spices macerated for a couple months, filtered and then bottled.

If you search for Clementine Ratafia on the internet you will certainly come up with the recipe I found.
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#159 carswell

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 06:24 PM

All other things being equal, organic is preferable for preparations that involve zests or unpeeled fruit.

Edited by carswell, 14 September 2005 - 12:52 PM.


#160 Steven Blaski

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 09:48 PM

Sorry to join this thread so late, but I'm rather new to eGullet and just found this discussion.... Anyway, I wanted to share some information that perhaps sheds light on the reason for the inclusion of the lime in Katie's recipe.

In Arthur Schwartz's excellent book, "Naples at Tables," he offers a recipe for limoncello; here is an excerpt from the headnote:

"Campanian recipes usually call for a couple or a few green lemons (not limes) along with the yellow, as the greener lemons are the most fragrant, while the yellow the most flavorful. In the United States, it's difficult to find still-green lemons, but mottled green and yellow ones are often in the supermarket bins. Choose them."

So perhaps Katie's lime is there both for its appearance -- to simulate the color of the green lemons -- and for its fragrance, which is perhaps more akin to the green lemons.

If anyone can find some green or mottled green lemons, it would be interesting to see how they affect the flavor.

As for Schwartz's own recipe, he calls for 2 pounds of lemons (peeled with a swivel-bladed peeler) a quart of grain alcohol, and a sugar syrup from 6 c water + 2.5 c sugar. (On the page previous to this recipe he gives a recipe for Liquore di Fragole -- Strawberry Liqueur -- that sounds delicious!)

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#161 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 12:26 PM

A little Star Anise is a really nice flavor combination with the flavors of the blood oranges.

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OK, that's kinda creepy. Did I mention that I added a very quick infusion of star anise to my blood-orangecello in an effort to give it some oomph? I agree, it's a nice combo.

~A
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#162 eje

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 07:55 PM

OK, that's kinda creepy. Did I mention that I added a very quick infusion of star anise to my blood-orangecello in an effort to give it some oomph? I agree, it's a nice combo.
~A

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Well, as long as you don't tell me you started sugar plum and dapple dandy pluot liqueurs this summer, I will just chalk it up to great minds thinking alike.

:raz:

I know you also did a Nocino or Vin de Noix.

We might have to have a neighborhood home made liqueur taste off!

Pomegranates just started showing up last week, so that is my next target...Gotta get some more jars, though.

-Erik
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#163 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 07:43 AM

Currently infusing: Nocino, buddha's hand 'cello, and a small batch of plum brandy. :biggrin:

(I can claim prior impetus, as I also made the plums last year.... :smile:)
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#164 miccha81

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 04:50 PM

Just started a batch using absolut 100 proof vodka, 10 lemons and 2 limes. I didn't have organic fruit, so I soaked them for an hour and scrubbed them. Hopefully it'll be ok. The wait to find out will suck.

What am i gonna do with all these zestless lemons?

#165 BTR

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 05:10 PM

What am i gonna do with all these zestless lemons?

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Make a syrup with the juice and add some ginger liqueur. Mix smallish quantities of the result with tonic water. (I used 1 cup juice : 2/3 cup sugar : 1/2 cup liqueur when I did this.)

#166 eje

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 06:11 PM

What am i gonna do with all these zestless lemons?

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Off the top of my head:

Lemonade, Aviation cocktails, Lemon Drop cocktails, Sidecar cocktails, marinades, salad dressing, tabouleh...

-Erik
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#167 onehsancare

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 08:05 AM

I juice them and freeze the juice in ice cube trays, so I've always got a couple of tablespoonsful when I need them.
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#168 LindaJ

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 06:12 PM

My experimental orangecello (using Katie's recipe) has been a huge hit.

I'm planning on making up more, plus limecello and maybe grapefruitcello to see how that works out. I'm planning on buying 375ml bottles from my local home brew store and give them out as Christmas/hostess gifts. Maybe even in sets of three for people I really life with funky labels and bows!

I feel vaguely like an alcoholic Martha Stewart.

#169 Moto

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 07:31 PM

check out sunday's new york times magazine. Two articles on 'cello making. Amanda hesser writes up a limoncello recipe in the NYT mag and in the Style magazine there is a blood orange liquer recipe. Anything with Blood orange has got to be good

#170 maggiethecat

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 07:41 PM

What am i gonna do with all these zestless lemons?

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Off the top of my head:

Lemonade, Aviation cocktails, Lemon Drop cocktails, Sidecar cocktails, marinades, salad dressing, tabouleh...

-Erik

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Defy tradition and add the juice of one lemon to your 'cello. It doesn't make it too tart, but it adds lovely lemoniness. Without the juice I find 'cello too sweet.

We're picking the last of the Asian Pears from the tree in the back yard and are considering a maceration in brandy. That's the great thing about these infusions -- it's All Good.

Did mandarin orange 'cello last year. Yum.

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#171 susiew

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 07:59 PM

I want to make Esrog-cello.

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I'm friend's with a California citron grower (the only one in the US I believe). If you decide to go commercial with your Esrog-cello and want a connection let me know. :)

#172 Jason Perlow

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 01:52 PM

Given the rather large amount of Louisiana satsuma mandarins I currently have in my possession, I have sacrifced a number of them to the infusion gods, and am in the process of making a Satsuma Vodka -- which I will turn into a 'cello, and a Satsuma Rum.

I figure in 2 weeks I will have some really nice stuff for Chanukah and New Years Eve imbibing.

The Vodka infusion I have used the fruit and the rind, and in the rum, I have used just the fruit wedges, to start off. We'll see how it comes out. In a few days over the course of eating more satsumas I may just throw some peel into the rum as well.

I'm chancing using the entire peel as opposed to just the zest because the pith layer in satsuma peels is very thin, and a small amount of bitterness probably won't be bad.
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#173 KatieLoeb

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 11:35 PM

Given the rather large amount of Louisiana satsuma mandarins I currently have in my possession, I have sacrifced a number of them to the infusion gods, and am in the process of making a Satsuma Vodka -- which I will turn into a 'cello, and a Satsuma Rum.

I figure in 2 weeks I will have some really nice stuff for Chanukah and New Years Eve imbibing.

The Vodka infusion I have used the fruit and the rind, and in the rum, I have used just the fruit wedges, to start off. We'll see how it comes out. In a few days over the course of eating more satsumas I may just throw some peel into the rum as well.

I'm chancing using the entire peel as opposed to just the zest because the pith layer in satsuma peels is very thin, and a small amount of bitterness probably won't be bad.

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I'm looking forward to the report on how this turns out, Jason! Especially any batches that use the full peel.

Katie M. Loeb
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#174 alacarte

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 01:21 PM

This week's Washington post food section has an article on limoncello.

...as usual these days, the WP is a bit behind the curve, following a month after the NYT article....

#175 eje

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 10:55 PM

Figured I'd bump this thread since we are now heading into prime citrus season.

Pomelo's were so beautiful and fragrant this last week at the farmers' market, I had to grab one and start an infusion for a pom-cello. Just from the smell of the house when I was zesting, I think this will be tasty.

Also need to start a double batch of eureka or lisbon lemons for limoncello.

It's funny, now every time I use a lemon or other citrus without zesting it first, I get this twinge, like I'm wasting something.

Anyone else got anything macerating?

-Erik
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#176 stevea

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 08:23 AM

I've really enjoyed reading this thread. Thanks for the tips and inspiration. I've got a half batch of lemoncello (Katie's recipe) ready to strain. I'm really looking forward to trying it.

A question though. I'm a lazy guy, and I'd rather do one step than two. Instead of diluting the resulting lemon-infused vodka with unflavored vodka, why couldn't one infuse all of the vodka with the lemon (i.e. twice as much vodka to start)? Any advantages/disadvantages? I guess if you mixed 100 proof with 80 proof, the result would be 90 proof, and therefore not as good at infusing. But it would free up a bottle to use.

Also, a friend of mine recently came back from a trip to Denmark and introduced me to Danish schnapps. There's a Danish Schnapps website out there that has a bunch of recipes. I've got a Christmas schnapps almost ready to taste (orange peel, bay leaf, vanilla bean, honey, cloves) and some apple schnapps and pear schnapps infusing.
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#177 KatieLoeb

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 02:33 PM

Steve:

Thanks for that Danish recipe link! I'll have to play with a few of those now...

I think the reasoning behind the dilution is that you get a stronger lemon flavor in the one bottle of vodka you infuse into. That can then be diluted both with the plain vodka as well as the simple syrup to taste. Some folks like a stronger lemon flavor and less sweetness, some like it sweeter, some might even wish to use a little bit of filtered water if they don't want such a high octane end result. If you started with twice as much vodka you'd get a more dilute infusion. There's only a finite amount of lemon oil in the peels of one dozen lemons and one lime, so the larger the volume of alcohol you start with, the weaker the end result will be and the less able you are to tweak it the way you like it.

Make sense?

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#178 stevea

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:13 PM

Thanks Katie. Your explanation does make sense, especially in light of how my lemoncello turned out. Instead of doing what one logically should do, add vodka and simple syrup by taste, I followed the recipe slavishly and dumped everything together. The result, to my taste, was a bit too sweet and not quite tart enough.

This is not an easy problem to remedy. However, if I make a lemoncello "martini" and add a tablespoon or so of lemon juice, the resulting drink is outstanding.

So, the question now is, can I just add lemon juice to my bottle of lemoncello? Will it keep without going bad? Will it lose the tartness over time? Or would it be better to just add fresh juice every time I make a drink?

BTW: If anyone has guts enough to make the horseradish schnapps, I'd love to hear about the results.

Edited by stevea, 25 January 2006 - 12:15 PM.

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#179 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:57 PM

Erik: I've got a triple-batch of bergamocello steeping as we speak. It's looking -very- golden already. I saw a ton of interesting citrus at Berkeley Bowl on Monday... made me wonder what a Sweet Lime-cello would be like. They even had esrog citrons, so of course I thought of Perlow's comment upthread. :raz:

Steve: I would add fresh lemon juice to your drink every time. The juice probably won't go bad, but it might discolor.

You could also make a second lemon infusion, then add enough of the resulting infused vodka to your over-sweet batch to fix it, and then use the rest either as flavored vodka, or another batch of limoncello.

Horseradish schnapps would make a kick-ass Bloody Mary! Hmm...


~A

Edited by ScorchedPalate, 25 January 2006 - 12:58 PM.

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#180 KatieLoeb

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 03:31 PM

So, the question now is, can I just add lemon juice to my bottle of lemoncello? Will it keep without going bad? Will it lose the tartness over time? Or would it be better to just add fresh juice every time I make a drink?


I'd definitely add the fresh juice to each drink. The lemon oils from the peels are well preserved by the alcohol and sugar, but I suspect fresh juice might be just enough to give bacteria something to feast on. No reason to chance it.

Next time follow the recipe as written. It's actually pretty fool proof that way, as simplistic as that may seem.

BTW: If anyone has guts enough to make the horseradish schnapps, I'd love to hear about the results.


I used to make horseradish infused vodka when I was the GM at a restaurant specializing in oysters. We served it as a shot with an oyster and a tiny dollop of cocktail sauce in it! And it does indeed make an ass-kicking Bloody Mary. Counterintuitively, the horseradish actually seemed to make the vodka taste smoother rather than harsher. It was actually quite tasty, even on its own.

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

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