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Mulcahy

Making Limoncello

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Katie, your recipe also inspired me to make my first batch of not only limoncello but "orangecello" as well. They're about done infusing, and should be ready for the simple syrup treatment in a couple of days. I can't wait!

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Glad that others like the stuff too! Lemoncello was one of the first things that I made when I learned to cook! - my Mum had an amazing Italian recipe book that covered many regions, local ingredients and specialties, and explained the significance of holiday meals etc. There was a recipe for lemoncello, so I made some and macerated the peel for 2 months!!!! By the time it was ready, I had progressed to baking, so I made some almond biscotti to go with it!!!!!

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Katie, your recipe also inspired me to make my first batch of not only limoncello but "orangecello" as well.  They're about done infusing, and should be ready for the simple syrup treatment in a couple of days.  I can't wait!

I have made "Orangecello" before, although from an old family recipe and not Katie's, and you will be pleased with the results.

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I can't tell all of you how gratifying it is to be the anointed "Limoncello Queen" of eGullet. :biggrin: I just love hearing everyone's stories and new ideas for recipes. This has been such fun and I look forward to continuing to hear about everyone's adventures with infusing their own spirits - be they limoncello or whatever.

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I can't tell all of you how gratifying it is to be the anointed "Limoncello Queen" of eGullet. :biggrin:  I just love hearing everyone's stories and new ideas for recipes.  This has been such fun and I look forward to continuing to hear about everyone's adventures with infusing their own spirits - be they limoncello or whatever.

i've got a bottle of limoncello going right now. 10 lemons and a lime microplaned into a bottle of 100-proof absolut. i did them about a week ago, maybe a week and a half, and i shake it every time i wander by. the shreds are so small from the microplane, though, that i have to wonder at this point how much more infusing is really going on at this point. i'll let it go for a while longer anyways. i wonder how i know when it's ready.

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i've got a bottle of limoncello going right now.  10 lemons and a lime microplaned into a bottle of 100-proof absolut.  i did them about a week ago, maybe a week and a half, and i shake it every time i wander by.  the shreds are so small from the microplane, though, that i have to wonder at this point how much more infusing is really going on at this point.  i'll  let it go for a while longer anyways.  i wonder how i know when it's ready.

James:

You'll know it's ready when all of the color has leeched out of the little shreds of peel and the vodka doesn't seem to be getting any more visibly yellow. When you shake it and the little shreds are dead white, then it's done. Usually takes anywhere from 2-3.5 weeks.

Strain it through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and squeeze the hell out of it to get the last of the oils out of the peels. It might cloud up the end result a little bit, but a lot of flavor is in those last few wringings out of the peels.

Let me know how it turned out!!

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A couple of mentions of limoncello I came across on the web this morning:

- An article on lemon verbena in the Washington Post includes this suggestion:

Speaking of drinking: chop about one-half cup of lemon verbena leaves and steep them in four cups of vodka for an intensely flavored spirit garnished, of course, with a sprig of lemon verbena. Some imbibers add sugar to create a limoncello-like liqueur.

(Unfortunately, my verbena plant is not happy, so no fresh leaves for me. I may try making a small batch using dried to see how they turn out.)

- The blog World On A Plate has a recipe for Torta di Limoncello. Mmm.

[edit: just found another]

- The blog loveSicily has a recipe for Dolce di ricotta al limoncello bianco.


Edited by Lexica (log)

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I was always a big fan of limoncello until one day i tried this grappa called aqua di cedro. I found it alot less syrupy then limoncello.. Have any limoncello fans tried this and what are your comparisons.

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I started a limoncello back in late July using 80-proof vodka (Stoli). I strained it about a month later, and added another bottle and simple syrup, but found it very strong (vodka flavor overpoering the lemon) and decided to let it rest a while longer. This week I added more simple syrup and a bit of water, and it is starting to smooth out, though I was worried about watering it down. A friend suggested that grain alcohol is better to use and imparts a sweeter flavor.

I've had homemade limoncello before and found it much smoother that what I have made. Any thoughts as to which alcohol makes for better limoncello?

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Not sure, but when I make infused spirits Japanese-style, I find that the recommended 3 months maturation is not enough - I usually leave them a year. The less sugar you use, the longer maturation period you need to obtain a smooth flavor.

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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 started a limoncello back in late July using 80-proof vodka (Stoli).  I strained it about a month later, and added another bottle and simple syrup, but found it very strong (vodka flavor overpoering the lemon) and decided to let it rest a while longer.  This week I added more simple syrup and a bit of water, and it is starting to smooth out, though I was worried about watering it down.  A friend suggested that grain alcohol is better to use and imparts a sweeter flavor. 

I've had homemade limoncello before and found it much smoother that what I have made.  Any thoughts as to which alcohol makes for better limoncello?

Grain alcohol will absolutely yield a harsher end result than high proof vodka. No question about it. Even grain alcohol that's diluted with water is harsher than a better filtered vodka. The "sweetness" in Limoncello is from the fruit and the simple syrup. If grain alcohol were so sweet and appealing, people would drink it instead of sterilizing lab equipment with it, no?

I recommend finding a vodka whose flavor and level of smoothness you like before it becomes limoncello. Make sure you use enough fruit to get a deep yellow color in the infusion after several weeks (or even months if you're patient enough) before sweetening and diluting to taste. I also recommend the microplane for removing the zest since you expose more surface area with the little shreds of peel than you do with strips of peel removed with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.

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Thanks Katie & helenj - This is why egullet is so marvelous!

Katie, your comments about grain alcohol make sense, and I have to admit that the grain alcohol option does sound a lot harsher. I might try it anyway as a taste-test.

The microplaning did work very well, and there is a pronounced lemon flavor and color. I think that you might be right about the taste of the alcohol I used - it might not have been the best choice. Perhaps I'll add a bit more lemon peel now to see if that helps offset the vodka's own flavor.

I'll test other vodkas and try again, and in the meantime let my limoncello rest!

Thanks for the tips!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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................

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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.

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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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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.

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:

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

I did "tangerine-cello". It's yummy. Good sub for cointreau or triple sec.

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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 (log)

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