• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Mulcahy

Making Limoncello

448 posts in this topic

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.


Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hoo-wee!  Lookie what I found stumbling through the Luxardo website:

Limoncello Cocktail Recipes

Yay!!  clap.gif

I am in the process of making Orangecello. I am one of those whom likes his cello much sweeter than the tradtional variety. Perhaps it's the American in me. Anyway..

For a 750ml bottle of grain, most recipes would suggest a 2 cup water/ 2 cup sugar simple syrup. I needed 4 cups of each to get it to the sweetness I desired.

But that came with one not so desired effect, ice.

As it froze, ice crystals formed inside the drink. Obviously, 4 cups of water was a little too much for this sized bottle.

This go around I was considering going with a 2 cup water/ 3 cup sugar ratio. Do you forsee any problems with doing this? Have you ever tried this yourself?

This is my first batch of Blood Orange Cello and am quite optimistic. So I don't want to screw it up..


Edited by crusio's (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For a 750ml bottle of grain, most recipes would suggest a 2 cup water/ 2 cup sugar simple syrup.  I needed 4 cups of each to get it to the sweetness I desired.

But that came with one not so desired effect, ice. 

Just use 2 parts sugar to one part water for your simple syrup. Should get you where you want to go.

I read somewhere that the magic number is somwhere a little above 30%/60 proof for the alcohol concentration to prevent ice crystals in most home freezers.*

* I think it was this LA Times article, "In the case of 50-proof limoncello, you may see some of the water freeze and form ice crystals on the walls of the bottle at that temperature; the part that remains liquid will be closer to 60 proof....A bottle of 60-proof limoncello will not show any freezing of this sort unless the temperature falls below 0 Fahrenheit."

edit - add LA Times article link.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For a 750ml bottle of grain, most recipes would suggest a 2 cup water/ 2 cup sugar simple syrup.  I needed 4 cups of each to get it to the sweetness I desired.

But that came with one not so desired effect, ice. 

Just use 2 parts sugar to one part water for your simple syrup. Should get you where you want to go.

I read somewhere that the magic number is somwhere a little above 30%/60 proof for the alcohol concentration to prevent ice crystals in most home freezers.*

* I think it was this LA Times article, "In the case of 50-proof limoncello, you may see some of the water freeze and form ice crystals on the walls of the bottle at that temperature; the part that remains liquid will be closer to 60 proof....A bottle of 60-proof limoncello will not show any freezing of this sort unless the temperature falls below 0 Fahrenheit."

edit - add LA Times article link.

Hummmm Really. OK I will give the 2 to 1 a go then.

I was just thinking that perhaps such a sugar-heavy simple syrup might be TOO syrupy and change the consistency of the cello too much.

But the only way to find out for sure is to give it a try. Thanks.

The rinds should be ready by the weekend. I'll report back then.


Edited by crusio's (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hummmm Really.  OK I will give the 2 to 1 a go then. 

I was just thinking that perhaps such a sugar-heavy simple syrup might be TOO syrupy and change the consistency of the cello too much. 

But the only way to find out for sure is to give it a try.  Thanks. 

Though, I am a bit confused about alcohol percentages.

If you started with a 750ml bottle of 190 proof grain alcohol and added another 4-5 cups of liquid, you should have been somewhere around 80-90 proof. Nowhere near the 50 proof ice crystal forming zone.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm...

I seem to have an odd problem with this batch.

I steeped the microplaned zest of 12 lisbon lemons and two satsuma mandarins in 4 cups of 80 proof vodka for a couple weeks.

I've now squeezed it through cheesecloth, added simple syrup, and topped it off with vodka to fill a 1.5 liter jar.

However, it appears I have over expressed the citrus oils. I have about 1/4 inch of lemon oil floating at the top of my jar.

Should I split it into two jars and add more vodka in the hopes that adding more alcohol will allow more of the lemon oils to dissolve?

Or siphon off the lemon oil and use it for something else?

-Erik


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmmm...

I seem to have an odd problem with this batch.

I steeped the microplaned zest of 12 lisbon lemons and two satsuma mandarins in 4 cups of 80 proof vodka for a couple weeks.

I've now squeezed it through cheesecloth, added simple syrup, and topped it off with vodka to fill a 1.5 liter jar.

However, it appears I have over expressed the citrus oils.  I have about 1/4 inch of lemon oil floating at the top of my jar.

Should I split it into two jars and add more vodka in the hopes that adding more alcohol will allow more of the lemon oils to dissolve?

Or siphon off the lemon oil and use it for something else?

-Erik

That's interesting. I've never had this happen to me before. I wonder if it's because I use the 100 proof vodka?? Could it be that it has more "solvent" action with the citrus oils?

Don't know what to tell you other than to perhaps add a splash of grain alcohol or something to raise the proof of the entire batch and then shake it up and see if it doesn't separate again. You can always lower the overall proof again when you dilute it with simple syrup and perhaps some bottled water.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the same has happened to me using 100 proof. I usually load up on the orange zest. Adding some 100 proof should do the trick. If not save it for another use, filter using a coffee filter or just leave it in. It will still be quite tasty, especially after 4-5 days in the freezer.

On the luxardo website the Refreshing with gin and tonic is my favorite. I've been maing them with tangueray since my first batch. I guess great minds think alike. I tried it and it works well with even just a splash of the cello. It also adds something special to margaritas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's interesting.  I've never had this happen to me before.  I wonder if it's because I use the 100 proof vodka??  Could it be that it has more "solvent" action with the citrus oils?

Thanks for the replies Katie and Moto!

Not a chemist, so not sure how the whole oils dissolving in an alcohol solution works.

There must be some point beyond which no more oil can dissolve in the alcohol and water solution (vodka). Oils don't really dissolve in water at all, so I would guess the larger the percentage of alcohol you have, the more oil you can dissolve. Probably there are nasty, complicated equations involving molecular weight and other gnarly variables.

Last year I used more or less the same recipe and it didn't happen. This year I did use a microplane and might have steeped the zest for a bit longer. It makes sense to me that the finer zest of the microplane would allow you to extract more of the citrus oils from the peels.

Following your recipe, I probably do need to add a couple more cups of vodka. I'll have to pick up a bottle of some 100 proof this weekend and see if I can get some more of the oil to dissolve. Hate to see them go to waste!

My homemade Limoncello has proved to be quite popular with my friends, so having more to give away isn't really a problem...


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My homemade Limoncello has proved to be quite popular with my friends, so having more to give away isn't really a problem...

This seems to be universally true. :smile:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My homemade Limoncello has proved to be quite popular with my friends, so having more to give away isn't really a problem...

This seems to be universally true. :smile:

I forgot to post this. In lancaster there is a new bakery run by an Italian family who moved from Long Island. The daughters own and run it. Their father bakes bread for them. At Christmas I too them a bottle of Limoncello from the famous Loeb receipe. You'd have thought I gave them a million dollars. Dad, in particular, was thrilled. Everytime I go in and he sees me he comes out and talks to me and tells me how wonderful it was. It does make a great gift

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My homemade Limoncello has proved to be quite popular with my friends, so having more to give away isn't really a problem...

This seems to be universally true. :smile:

I forgot to post this. In lancaster there is a new bakery run by an Italian family who moved from Long Island. The daughters own and run it. Their father bakes bread for them. At Christmas I too them a bottle of Limoncello from the famous Loeb receipe. You'd have thought I gave them a million dollars. Dad, in particular, was thrilled. Everytime I go in and he sees me he comes out and talks to me and tells me how wonderful it was. It does make a great gift

:blush:

The "Famous Loeb Recipe" gets it's own tweak from everyone that tries it, but thanks for the compliment!

It remains universally true that there's never too much to give away.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Katie,

I'm Eilen--new here to egullet and I stumbled across this great thread. I wanted to let you know that I just now finished my first jar of limoncello. I found some ok-looking org. lemons, some with green on them and used 100 proof Smirnoff. I'll report back when it looks like it's ready.

One question--have you found any brand/type of sugar that you prefer? Or do you just use whatever's on hand?

Thanks a bunch for the great idea. Here's hoping it turns out!

Eilen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My homemade Limoncello has proved to be quite popular with my friends, so having more to give away isn't really a problem...

This seems to be universally true. :smile:

I forgot to post this. In lancaster there is a new bakery run by an Italian family who moved from Long Island. The daughters own and run it. Their father bakes bread for them. At Christmas I too them a bottle of Limoncello from the famous Loeb receipe. You'd have thought I gave them a million dollars. Dad, in particular, was thrilled. Everytime I go in and he sees me he comes out and talks to me and tells me how wonderful it was. It does make a great gift

:blush:

The "Famous Loeb Recipe" gets it's own tweak from everyone that tries it, but thanks for the compliment!

It remains universally true that there's never too much to give away.

i gave a bottle to my parents last year when i made it (i don't know if you remember, but the batch was too sweet and not lemony enough for me, because i had fewer lemons in my drawer than i had thought). anyway, they don't drink all that much, so they had some left and recently had a tasting with a commercial limoncello that friends had brought over, and they said mine was definitely the clearcut winner.

i said, is that because we like sweet stuff here in america? and my dad said actually that mine was less sweet and more lemony than the other.

this recipe is a real winner. i'm actually thinking of making some kumquatcello...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My homemade Limoncello has proved to be quite popular with my friends, so having more to give away isn't really a problem...

This seems to be universally true. :smile:

I forgot to post this. In lancaster there is a new bakery run by an Italian family who moved from Long Island. The daughters own and run it. Their father bakes bread for them. At Christmas I too them a bottle of Limoncello from the famous Loeb receipe. You'd have thought I gave them a million dollars. Dad, in particular, was thrilled. Everytime I go in and he sees me he comes out and talks to me and tells me how wonderful it was. It does make a great gift

:blush:

The "Famous Loeb Recipe" gets it's own tweak from everyone that tries it, but thanks for the compliment!

It remains universally true that there's never too much to give away.

i gave a bottle to my parents last year when i made it (i don't know if you remember, but the batch was too sweet and not lemony enough for me, because i had fewer lemons in my drawer than i had thought). anyway, they don't drink all that much, so they had some left and recently had a tasting with a commercial limoncello that friends had brought over, and they said mine was definitely the clearcut winner.

i said, is that because we like sweet stuff here in america? and my dad said actually that mine was less sweet and more lemony than the other.

this recipe is a real winner. i'm actually thinking of making some kumquatcello...

Too sweet or too tart is in the eye of the beholder, or perhaps in their taste buds. I like my limoncello somewhat sweet and fairly strong, but that's me. One of the joys of making it oneself is balancing it just the way we like it. This recipe definitely makes a better end result than the commercial products I've tried.

One question--have you found any brand/type of sugar that you prefer? Or do you just use whatever's on hand?

I just use regular refined white sugar. I think Demerara would give the end product too much color and too much of a "molasses-ey" flavor. Limoncello should be bright yellow and taste like a vodka-tinged lemon lollipop, IMO.

Welcome Eilen!


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used ordinary vodka because it's all I could find on short notice, but it seems to have done all right -- a few months ago I made a *cello with a mystery citrus fruit I found in an Asian market (unlabeled except for price). They look a bit like small limes -- round like an orange, smooth skin, deep green tinged with yellow -- with greenish-yellow flesh and a fair number of seeds. Sweet all the way through, like a kumquat -- no bitterness at all unless you accidentally crunch a seed -- but tastes like a tarter tangerine. I thought they might be limequats, but there's no lime flavor at all.

Anyway, with half of them I made that *cello, because I thought it would be the best way not only to bring all those citrus flavors out instead of burying them in a stir-fry or something, but to keep the flavor around for a long time.

For a friend's birthday this weekend, I've combined some of that *cello with glace syrup -- one part syrup from candying more of the mystery fruits, the other from candied strawberries and blood oranges -- until it's almost cordial-sweet. She tends to like sweet drinks, and I figure this will dilute well with some club soda and tequila or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trader Joe's actually sells an absurdly cheap grappa---absurdly cheap for grappa, that is. I assume it wouldn't be all that great straight but maybe it would make for an interesting substitute for vodka as the base for a batch of limoncello.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Trader Joe's actually sells an absurdly cheap grappa---absurdly cheap for grappa, that is.  I assume it wouldn't be all that great straight but maybe it would make for an interesting substitute for vodka as the base for a batch of limoncello.

in lidia bastianich's book lidia's italian table she has a bunch of recipes for infused grappas. maybe the TJ grappa would be good for that. limoncello grappa isn't one of them, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had a home-made lemon liquor mellowed by the addition of a couple of peppercorns. This may be something to experiment with for the limoncello crowd. Since I do not like sweet drinks, I just add lemon peels and 2 peppercorns to a bottle of vodka and let it sit in the sun for months or until I can't stand it anymore. It is smooth going down. I will also try Katie's recipe with the addition of peppercorns to see what happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just add lemon peels and 2 peppercorns to a bottle of vodka and let it sit in the sun for months or until I can't stand it anymore. 

Oh, is it supposed to be in the sunlight? Because I've had mine in the cupboard for almost a week. Should I take it out?

Thanks, Eilen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By shain
      Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 
       
      50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
      80 g honey 
      120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 
      2 eggs
      2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 
      230 g flour 
      1 teaspoon salt 
      1 teaspoon baking powder 
      75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
      50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) 
      Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
      Optional: more olive oil for brushing
       
      Heat oven to 170 deg C.
      In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. 
      Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. 
      Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. 
      Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. 
      On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. 
      With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. 
      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
       
        
    • By JoNorvelleWalker
      Steve Sando had a nice write up in the Times:
       
      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/dining/marcella-hazan-rancho-gordo-beans.html?ref=dining
       
       
      According to FedEx tracking my Marcella beans (and others) are due to arrive tomorrow.
    • By Suzi Edwards
      i made some pesto on saturday and was wondering how long people would keep it for in the fridge. my partner is happy to scrape mould off stuff (bleurgh) and he says it will keep until saturday. i don't believe him...
      any ideas?
    • By Hermann Morr
      Ever seen this cooking technique ?
       

       
      A reference with pictures in italian language. Could'nt find any in english.
       
      http://cheprofumino.blogspot.it/2009/02/la-nostra-pizzasenza-forno.html
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.