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Mulcahy

Making Limoncello

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For a limited time, Ben Mazzola's ebook on making limoncello is free at Amazon. Get yours before then end of the week---it stops being free on Nov 19th. Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0090VOVT6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0090VOVT6&linkCode=as2&tag=comparisonsho-20

Ben is the guy behind the Limoncello Quest website... http://limoncelloquest.com/

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....

And here's my question: most of y'all show off cloudy, sunshiney Limoncellos. What's the trick? Did I need to add the simple syrup while it was still warm?

I've made half a dozen or so batches and all have looked like yours. Some have been more bright and yellow, others more golden. I've used lemons from the farmer's market, from the grocery store and, most recently, from my own tree. Never a cloudy batch yet but they have all been very tasty!

I have now completed my 6th batch using lemons from my tree and recently from Costco and all batches have been cloudy. I let my neighbor taste some and he went out and bought lemons to make a batch himself which came out clear.

First of all, I used way more lemons than the recipe called for and went through multiple filtering. My neighbor, used the same recommended number of lemons but, added 3 bottles of 150 proof Everclear and his came out clear.

I think that the amount of zest to alcohol ratio influences a percipitation that causes the cloudy appearance. To test my theory, I will add another bottle of Everclear to my cloudy batch and see if it clears up.

Does anybody else have an explanation for the cloudy/uncloudy appearance?

Jack

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I use 100% grain alcohol (so what's that, about 190 proof?) and stuff it more than right full with lemon zest, and I always get a clear result. However, I allow much longer for infusion than most (2-3 months is normal) before triple-filtering and adjusting. I am on my 20th or so batch now (my friends can't get enough of the stuff!) and all have been clear.

The almighty internets have an answer for us!

Homemade limoncello contains terpenes, a class of volatile organic compounds that are soluble in 30% ethanol or higher mixtures. Once you dilute the solution to less than 30% alcohol, they fall out of solution - what you see as "cloudy" is the precipitate.
- from http://ask.metafilter.com/182844/I-wanna-come-down-from-this-cloud

This makes sense - I keep my limoncello around 50% alcohol, so the terpenes never precipitate out. Now I'm really tempted to try a "light" batch, adding water and simple until I do get clouding.

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I use 100% grain alcohol (so what's that, about 190 proof?) and stuff it more than right full with lemon zest, and I always get a clear result. However, I allow much longer for infusion than most (2-3 months is normal) before triple-filtering and adjusting. I am on my 20th or so batch now (my friends can't get enough of the stuff!) and all have been clear.

The almighty internets have an answer for us!

Homemade limoncello contains terpenes, a class of volatile organic compounds that are soluble in 30% ethanol or higher mixtures. Once you dilute the solution to less than 30% alcohol, they fall out of solution - what you see as "cloudy" is the precipitate.

- from http://ask.metafilter.com/182844/I-wanna-come-down-from-this-cloud

This makes sense - I keep my limoncello around 50% alcohol, so the terpenes never precipitate out. Now I'm really tempted to try a "light" batch, adding water and simple until I do get clouding.

another variable causing the haze could be pectin. i'm not so sure that terpenes will make the spirit cloudy if the alcohol content goes below 30% so much as separate as an insoluble oil at the top. but it could take a long time to separate so maybe it just starts as cloudy.

joseph merory in his book "food flavorings" describes his terpene separator which is just a large conical separator. i'll have to check and see what exactly he does with it. commercial distilled triple-secs go through terpene separation even though they are above 30% in alcohol. i think they do it to make the aroma consistent and stable.

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it turns out that limoncello is economically significant enough that a few chemists have studied it in depth. I found two papers on the subject and put some bullet point summaries of the good bits on my blog.

the research unfortunately doesn't give suggestions or systematically explore the best way to make it, they just observe what is already on the market, but that is still useful.

there is definitely no terpene removal in limoncello production because terpenes are a major feature of the product. the papers unfortunately do not touch upon pectin in the peels and I suspect all it really takes to avoid pectin is removing all the pith from the peels.

the second paper discovers that many of the syrups producers are using to sugar their products have significant microbiological activity going on... gross!

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My recipe for Limoncello (but also Arancello and Mandarinetto, orange and tangerine) Cream Liqueurs:

Ingredients (for the orange cream liqueur):

1 liter of alcohol at 95º
1/2 liter of milk
1 liter of fresh cream
8 oranges
1 cinnamon stick
6 ½ cups of brown sugar
Peel the oranges with a zester or a vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the zests.
Put the orange zests, the cinnamon and the alcohol in an airtight jar.
Let soak for 2 weeks in a cold and dark place.
Filter.
Boil the milk and the fresh cream with the brown sugar, till the sugar is dissolved.
Let cool and filter.
Add to the alcohol and let rest for 2 weeks.
Serve chilled.
To obtain Limoncello (lemon) Cream Liqueur substitute the orange zests with 12 lemon zests and use a vanilla bean instead of the cinnamon stick.
To obtain Mandarinetto (tangerine, THE BEST ONE) Cream Liqueur substitute the orange zests with 12 tangerine zests (6 ripe and 6 green) and use only half cinnamon stick, a clove and a pinch of grated nutmeg.

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Has anyone had much experience with infusing herbs in their 'cellos? I saw Abra's effort upthread to perk up a Meyer 'cello with bay or lavender. I love the combination of citrus and rosemary and have been wanting to try something like that.

I found Thinking-Drinking's recipe for Grapefruit and Rosemary 'Cello and am going to give it a go.

In my experience, herbs usually need only hours to days to infuse full flavor vs. the weeks I usually give to limoncello so I thought I'd infuse the citrus until it's done and then add the rosemary for a shorter time at the end. I'll also use rosemary infused simple to sweeten the 'cello. I want the rosemary flavor to be fresh and piney, but not too woody if that makes any sense. It may be better to just add some rosemary right before serving but I want to bottle some for Christmas gifts so I thought I'd give this a try. Anyone have any advice to share?

And just to add to the collected 'cello experience here: Since moving to a home with several citrus trees, I've been making what I thought was limoncello. I knew the yellow fruits weren't the standard Eureka lemons as the pulp was slightly greenish but assumed they were just another variety of lemon. Turns out I've been making Bearss lime 'cello, using the fully ripe yellow limes!

It's a very nice 'cello and my favorite way to serve it is poured over a small scoop of lemon sorbet and one of vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmm!

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I've been making Katie's limoncello recipe very successfully for a couple of years now, so far always using Meyer lemons. For the latest batch I used Yen Ben, as we have just started getting enough fruit on our tree. Problem is, it is not lemony enough. Not sure if it is the lemon breed or maybe I added slightly more extra vodka than usual. My question is ... can I fix it? The lemons are now finished, but I have plenty of frozen juice and was wondering if I could add a bit of sugar syrup made from the juice. Any help much appreciated - it's OK to drink but not as good as we are used to.

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Most 'cellos are about extracting the oils from the peels. The juice isn't really part of the recipe. You could always infuse more peels in vodka and just add that to boost the flavor in your not-lemony-enough 'cello. As for the juice, make lemonade!! Or lemon curd. Or freeze in an ice cube tray for when you need just a little bit of fresh juice and don't have fresh lemons in the house.

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Thanks. I thought this might be the case. Problem is I need to wait till next season for a new batch of lemons ... Or buy some at the supermarket, which just wouldn't be the same!

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I've used the recipe in the beginning of the thread, I think it was 12 lemons per 75 cl of alcohol, I used 40% vodka (only thing I can get), Ialso used a vegetablepeeler and removed all of the white pith afterwards. Now 45 days later I strained it. It's not that pleasant and fresh as the commercial limoncellos I've had, it's actually a bit bitter. I'll make a new batch soon, but this'll only be marcerating for 2 weeks.
Has anyone else had the same problems that I've had.?

Also I read the tip about adding hot sugarsyrup to the limoncello so it would becom cloudy. Didn't work for me. 

It's a shame, it looked so good. =(

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wow this thread is 10 years old-- so i am making my first batch and i was careful to have un-dyed lemons but my lime was dyed green -- dang it -- i mean who could resist katie's secret ingredient right --

 

so i debated doing it over -- of course i'm making a large batch to give as presents for christmas -- but i wound up adding about a dozen drops of lemon yellow airbrush color and it is definitely yellow now-- has a slightly green cast but once it gets thinned out with the other spirits and simple syrup should be ok -- at least it looks appetizing now -- so i hope the taste will not be affected -- what do you think?

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it's turned/turning a beautiful color -- initially i rubbed some sugar in the zest to release the oils which inadvertently released more of the green dye in there too -- but the dye has been overcome by the bit of yellow food color and the lemons -- it's so pretty -- and i got some pretty glass containers -- looking forward to the simple syrup stage --

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Most 'cellos are about extracting the oils from the peels.  The juice isn't really part of the recipe.  You could always infuse more peels in vodka and just add that to boost the flavor in your not-lemony-enough 'cello.  As for the juice, make lemonade!!  Or lemon curd.  Or freeze in an ice cube tray for when you need just a little bit of fresh juice and don't have fresh lemons in the house.

I always freeze the whole skinned "naked" lemons. Whenever I need juice or slices or whatever, I just grab one. Sure, they look a little weird without their yellow jackets but, for most applications anyway, they work just fine.

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jaymes, i didn't realize you could freeze them like that -- i just made a ton of lemon juice with mine -- now adding it to my tea, etc.

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jaymes, i didn't realize you could freeze them like that -- i just made a ton of lemon juice with mine -- now adding it to my tea, etc.

It works really well. I have a plastic Ziploc freezer bag and I just toss them in there. Now, even my kids know to reach in there and grab one of mom's nudie lemons when they come over and want some juice.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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my kids ...  grab one of mom's nudie lemons when they come over and want some juice.

If your kids are over 1 or 2 years old, that's just wrong.

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If your kids are over 1 or 2 years old, that's just wrong.

Lemons, Darlin'.

Not melons.

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This thread inspired me to stop lurking and actually finally join eGullet after a year or more of lurking.  Thanks all!  :)

 

Up until a month or so ago, I was completely unaware that limoncello even existed.  Suddenly, some friends wanted to get together and make alcohol infusions.  I had noticed that the new Anova app had some alcoholic recipes in it, and one of them happened to be for limoncello.  We tried it, and it came out really good to my uneducated taste:  Super lemony, smooth, yet boozy, and a hit with everyone who tried it.

 

Basically, we took the zest of 10-12 generic supermarket lemons (a combination of long peels cut by sharp knife, and grated, team effort!) and 4 cups of decent 80 proof vodka (Titos), put them together in a ziploc bag, and sous vided it for 2 hours at 135F.  Meanwhile, we made a syrup of 4 cups water and 1.5 cups sugar, then let it cool.  We strained the infused alcohol through a colander (next time I will add cheesecloth or a coffee filter), mixed the filtered alcohol with the syrup, and put into jars.  It was amazing, and I know it can be better!  We didn't even have the patience to let the flavors marry for an hour.

 

I'll be trying the traditional method next time, so i can compare and contrast with the sous vide method.  I will also be a lot more careful about cleaning and zesting the lemons, as I believe some of the cloudiness we experienced may have been due to wax or excess pith from the lemons.  So many gifts will come out of this!  :D

 

Has anyone else played with sous vide limoncello?


Edited by captaincarl (log)
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An attempt using Eldon Browns recipe, 100 proof vodka and 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water for syrup. soak the lemon peel in dark for a week. Results look real good.

IMG_0641.JPG

IMG_0644.JPG


Edited by Jmahl (log)
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Those are very pretty little bottles, @Jmahl!

 

I made a number of  ____-cellos for holiday gifts this year.  Regular lemon with lemons from a friend's tree.  A lime version from my tree and this Grapefruit-Rosemary version:

On July 12, 2013 at 8:22 AM, blue_dolphin said:

Thinking-Drinking's recipe for Grapefruit and Rosemary 'Cello and am going to give it a go

Plus some non-alcoholic lime and cranberry-lime cordials.

I did some last minute tasting and tweaking and bottled them up the other day right before heading out to a party and had to laugh out loud when I came home and surveyed the mess I'd left on the kitchen island.   It was covered with at least 10 empty vodka and wine bottles, small shot glasses that I'd used for tasting and a scattering of measuring beakers and transfer pipettes.  It looked like a mad scientist had gone on a bender!  

 

Time to get those empties washed out so I can get some new batches going!

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Thank you guys for the repices of limoncello, as I was also willing to cook some by myself. I never knew, that adding one lime is that important http://www.cuisinian.com/international/2931-1.html. As for me, lemon and lime have almost the same sour taste to me, so I would never think, that adding a lime is a real secret of truly identical homemade recipe, thank y'all!


Edited by Lila Grant (log)

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Hello to all...

I had a question with regard to how to make Limoncello..  Most of the recipes I've seen call for "peeling" the lemon in strips then scraping off the pith with a knife before putting it in the Vodka, etc..  Wouldn't zesting do the same thing?  I'm thinking it would be much easier, and ultimately get less white pith in the final product..  Thoughts?  

Thanks in advance for any info you can provide....

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Hello, Skyclad, and welcome to eGullet!  I can't answer your question, but if nobody comes along quickly to help, you may find the answer in this topic on Making Limoncello.

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