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Making Limoncello


Mulcahy
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Tim:

Sadly, I don't know the answer. I think orange peels may be inherently more bitter than lemon, or maybe the simple syrup should be sweetened slightly above a 1:1 ratio for this.

And I really don't know a thing about the Brita trick. I choose to use decent 100 proof vodka (Smirnoff) and that's always worked out well for me.

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

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Tim:

Sadly, I don't know the answer.  I think orange peels may be inherently more bitter than lemon, or maybe the simple syrup should be sweetened slightly above a 1:1 ratio for this.

And I really don't know a thing about the Brita trick.  I choose to use decent 100 proof vodka (Smirnoff) and that's always worked out well for me.

Katie,

Thank you for your thoughts on the bitterness of the orangecello.

The Brita Trick was first posted by Shalmanese on May 18 as a way of filtering cheap vodka to remove impurities. I have since spotted the following from Mythbusters.

The Myth of Filtering Cheap Vodka

Tim

Edit: Fixed Link

Edited by tim (log)
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Tim:

I knew what you were talking about with the Brita trick, I just meant I had no idea whether it worked or not. I don't own a Brita pitcher. No room in the fridge for it. :raz: That link to Mythbusters didn't work for me, but I'll warrant it says what I've suspected all along. :rolleyes:

I stand by my original assertion that Everclear is not meant for human consumption, whether filtered or not. It's fine for sterilizing lab equipment but it's much too harsh, no matter how much you sweeten it up or thin it down. It's just nasty! Use the 100 proof vodka. You'll thank me later.

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

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For my bachelor party, my friend Eric made about two gallons of quick limoncello made by soaking a bunch of quartered lemons in grain for just two days, then squeezing out the juice, filtering it all through cheesecloth, adding sugar and water and filling into Gatorade bottles for quick consumption. Not as silky or syrupy as Dad's version made with Meyer lemons from my aunt's yard in Arizona — but still good.

Today, facing a sack of about 20 leftover lemons (the store-bought variety), I decided to make an improvised version. I am soaking them, quartered, in vodka and grain (I also threw in a grapefruit that was getting lonely) for a long period of time, maybe three weeks. Then I was planning on squeezing the juice out of the quarters, straining and adding simple syrup to taste.

With this method, will the pith left on the rinds make it too bitter? Is there a problem with also using the juice of the lemons in addition to the oil from the zest?

Also, both Dad and I have a lot of lemongrass to harvest and find something to do with before first frost (when it gets mushy and unusable). Does anyone have experience soaking lemongrass (I was thinking grassy top and all — it's still lemony up there) in vodka?

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[...]

Also, both Dad and I have a lot of lemongrass to harvest and find something to do with before first frost (when it gets mushy and unusable). Does anyone have experience soaking lemongrass (I was thinking grassy top and all — it's still lemony up there) in vodka?

Haven't tried lemon grass in alcohol; but, I do find lemon grass infused simple syrup loses its lemoney-ness rather quickly, even when kept refrigerated. To me, the syrup becomes rather vegetal and somewhat bitter in a week or so.

---

Also meant also to say, I didn't mean to be discouraging. You never know what complex aromatics like this are going to do in the long term, until you try. I just wouldn't make too big a batch the first time.

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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So no input on why quartered lemons (with juice) wouldn't produce as good a product as simply lemon zest? I mashed the fruits down today and added a little more vodka as they seem to have "drank" a good bit of the liquor. I'll be squeezing every last drop out of them later...

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So no input on why quartered lemons (with juice) wouldn't produce as good a product as simply lemon zest? I mashed the fruits down today and added a little more vodka as they seem to have "drank" a good bit of the liquor. I'll be squeezing every last drop out of them later...

Oh, hey chappie.

Tradition maintains that the white pith adds a bitter element to the limoncello.

Also, whole fruit is not usually used.

If you use whole fruit, (spices, etcetera,) you're taking it in the direction of ratafia or a shrub(b), more than a limoncello. You also run more of a risk of things growing in it, so you should be more careful with sanitation.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yes, yes, the hooch thread that would not die.....Just thought I'd give it a bump to mention the folks are on a cruise around the Boot, and Motherdear has discovered our little liquer, or as Da refers to it in email, "Lemondello".

Apparently she's having it after every meal, incl. breakfast. Amazing how the grand circle of hooch goes 'round, no? :raz:

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Yes, yes, the hooch thread that would not die.....Just thought I'd give it a bump to mention the folks are on a cruise around the Boot, and Motherdear has discovered our little liquer, or as Da refers to it in email, "Lemondello".

Apparently she's having it after every meal, incl. breakfast. Amazing how the grand circle of hooch goes 'round, no? :raz:

:laugh: "Limoncello - Breakfast of Champions!"

You'll have to make her a big batch for the holidays. Unless you don't want to be an enabler... :unsure:

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cello - It's not just for summer.

Latest cello experiement - Cinnamoncello

Because of lack of time, I just purchased cinnamon sticks from the spice rack at the grocery store. I used the Spice Islands brand (I know, I shoulda got better). I put most of the spice bottle into half of a bottle of Smirnoff 100 proof vodka back in September. It was supposed to be ready for Halloween, but my Mom got sick and passed after a brief illness on 10/27. Now as life gets back to normal, I took a peek yesterday. MAN, this stuff will blow your socks off. Much nicer than what I remember schnapps to be.

I combined it with 2 cups of simple syrup and then added another cup of pure water. This stuff is gonna be awesome for my posse of Cello addicts come the holiday parties. So easy since there's really no filtering to do - just remove the sticks.

I never got a chance to post, but at our August end-of-summer blow-out, somehow 5 bottles of raspberry, orange and strawberry cello got sucked down. I'm out of stock!

Next experiment - time to try cranberry and see if it's ready for Christmas/New Year's. Happy Celloing all!

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  • 3 weeks later...
Here is my predicament:

I love limoncello, but the yellow sugary syrupy stuff sold at most restaurants in NYC (notable exceptions: Babbo and Girasole) and at liquor stores is totally undrinkable.

Where can I find the good stuff? (I live in NYC, but any recommendation would be appreciated).

Let me also add that I have been too lazy to make my own, but am starting to think that is my only option.

Please, please help me.

I make limoncello for Christmas gifts. Everyone seems to love it. Here is a thread

Limoncello

This the method I use.

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  • 1 month later...

I just finished a batch of Ginger-cello and I gotta tell you, it is very good! I used less sugar to begin with because I wanted it to be hotter and not as sweet. Might try some galangal for an extra flavor note next time. My wife is a big fan of ginger.

Anyone who says I'm hard to shop for doesn't know where to buy beer.

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I just finished a batch of Ginger-cello and I gotta tell you, it is very good! I used less sugar to begin with because I wanted it to be hotter and not as sweet.  Might try some galangal for an extra flavor note next time.  My wife is a big fan of ginger.

How did you make your Ginger-cello?

I've made a few batches of vodka infused with Thai candied ginger that came out pretty good. I use about a half-pound of diced candied ginger to a fifth of vodka (I use Svedka, usually), and let it sit for about a month. It has a fairly strong flavor, and non-ginger fans might think it's too intense, but I like it. It's best served very cold, but it burns a little better at room temperature.

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How did you make your Ginger-cello?

I peeled fresh ginger and grated it with a microplane grater for about two cups. Added that to two cups of vodka and let sit for a couple of weeks. Then strained through a coffee filter and added an equal amount of simple syrup that was two parts water to one part sugar. You could use a more concentrated simple syrup but I did not want it to be super sweet.

I will look for the Thai candied ginger and try that, I like that ginger burn.

Edited by BRM (log)

Anyone who says I'm hard to shop for doesn't know where to buy beer.

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Was browsing through the forums and realized I never followed up here on how my big batch of whole-lemon plus lemongrass ... cello turned out. It's delicious. I also added two grapefruits (compared to probably 25-30 lemons and a massive bunch of lemongrass) and I swear you can just taste the grapefruit early on.

Using the whole fruit makes it slightly different than regular lemoncello -- for instance, it partially freezes -- but I like it. Next time I'll go the traditional route. I was thinking, with so many grocery stores selling clementines in the winter that they might make a good 'cello, but I fear they are shellacked and/or waxed to a great degree. Any way to get rid of this?

Having an abundance of lemongrass, I also slipped some into a bottle of good vodka, and stashed it in the freezer for a month. This demands a repetition.

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How did you make your Ginger-cello?

I peeled fresh ginger and grated it with a microplane grater for about two cups. Added that to two cups of vodka and let sit for a couple of weeks. Then strained through a coffee filter and added an equal amount of simple syrup that was two parts water to one part sugar. You could use a more concentrated simple syrup but I did not want it to be super sweet.

I will look for the Thai candied ginger and try that, I like that ginger burn.

I don't think the Thai ginger I used is much different than any crystalized ginger you might find locally. I just happened to buy mine at a Chinese market and it was labled "Thai Candied Ginger". If you have a Trader Joe's nearby they carry a crystalized ginger that would work.

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Fee's lemon bitters so much (which also uses lemongrass)

Whoa! Fee's makes Lemon Bitters? :huh: I absolutely love their Peach bitters so I'm going to have to check this out!

edited to add:

I just looked on the Fee Brother's site and only see the Old Fashioned, Orange, Peach and Mint bitters. I've had all the rest and they're delicious except for the Mint Bitters. Those taste like spoiled toothpaste. icon8.gif

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

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Whoa!  Fee's makes Lemon Bitters?  :huh:  I absolutely love their Peach bitters so I'm going to have to check this out!

edited to add:

I just looked on the Fee Brother's site and only see the Old Fashioned, Orange, Peach and Mint bitters.  I've had all the rest and they're delicious except for the Mint Bitters.  Those taste like spoiled toothpaste. icon8.gif

Yeah, I dunno why it's not on the website. :huh:

Folks who were at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans last year got an early sample of them, and so I started looking. They finally came to LeNell's in Brooklyn late last year, so I grabbed up a bottle.

Looks like you can order online.

Michael Dietsch

adashofbitters.com

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I think the real lesson from this is that Meyer lemons don't make a very lemony cello, and it's probably better not to use them unless one wishes to add some other flavor, like bay leaf.

When I was at my parent's house in Florida over Christmas, the Meyer lemon tree was loaded, and we were trying to come up with ideas, so I started some limoncello. Mine is in the "mellowing" stage right now, but I've tasted it and it both smells and tastes strongly like sweet, drunken, Meyer lemons. I'm wondering what we did differently.

I went out to the tree, picked the lemons, washed them, and zested them with a vegetable peeler. I was worried a microplane would send the oils all over the place and not into my jar. The lemons were smallish for Meyers, somewhere between the size of a Valencia and a Navel orange. I used twelve lemons and one lime to 750 ml of 100 proof vodka. After I put it in the jar, I read to the end of the thread and saw that yours had not turned out like you wanted. I got worried that I had wasted time/lemons/hooch, so I left the peel in the alcohol for six weeks. Like yours, the peel never turned white, just sort of tan/grayish. The liquid was that same "urine" color. Last week I filtered it, added 350 ml of 1:1 simple syrup and 500 ml of 100 proof vodka. When I tasted it and the lemon flavor was still really strong, I added to make a total of 500 ml of syrup and 750 ml of vodka - so, basically the original recipe posted by Katie (many thanks to Katie for that). After a week of sitting with the sugar, it's really lemony with that distinct Meyer complexity, very sweet, but still with a bit of alcohol harshness. Granted, I didn't taste it cold, just out of the jar on the counter.

So I'm curious what the difference might be. I thought it could be a freshness factor, but you said your lemons were really fragrant. Could it be steeping time? Quantity of peel maybe? I have a picture of it steeping that shows how much peel I used, I've never done the photo thing, but I'll give it a shot. -L

Edited to add image.

gallery_21520_4182_214327.jpg

Edited by lperry (log)
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  • 4 months later...

I have started KatieLoeb's version of limoncello, using a microplane to zest the lemons (and lime). After four days, the zest seems like it has given all it can. Should I strain it now, or is there no harm in leaving it to sit? I need it a week from tomorrow.

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Let it sit for about a week, then strain well and push all you can through the strainer out of the last bits of peels. This tastes better as it sits, but if you mix it with the simple syrup and more vodka/water to taste it should be fine after a few days.

The microplaning seems to expose so much more surface area of peel to the vodka that the infusing goes relatively quickly. Still, I think letting it sit for a week at minimum is good practice. Shake it up every day if it makes you feel like you're doing something. The little shreds of peel should be absolutely drained of color and dead white by the time you strain everything.

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

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  • 1 month later...

So (for my first post, nonetheless) I've had two bottles of vodka sitting filled with microplaned lemon peels for the past 20+ days and I'm going to be starting the next steps fairly soon. I do have a question though.

Further diluting the solution with an extra 750ml of vodka? At the point where I'm at now, having the peels saturate into the liquid, it seems like there will be quite the concentrated lemon flavor, and diluting it will just bring that down. Is the dilution of extra vodka really neccessary, and would the limoncello just be too strong without diluting?

1043692895_57098f009d.jpg

Edited by mrRed (log)
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So (for my first post, nonetheless) I've had two bottles of vodka sitting filled with microplaned lemon peels for the past 20+ days and I'm going to be starting the next steps fairly soon. I do have a question though.

Further diluting the solution with an extra 750ml of vodka?  At the point where I'm at now, having the peels saturate into the liquid, it seems like there will be quite the concentrated lemon flavor, and diluting it will just bring that down.  Is the dilution of extra vodka really neccessary, and would the limoncello just be too strong without diluting?

Welcome to eGullet and the wonderful world of limoncello, mrRed!

You're not diluting the solution with the extra vodka. You're bringing it back up to proof or strength to taste after diluting it with simple syrup. Limoncello isn't just lemon flavored vodka. It's a liqueur that incorporates a significant amount of sugar (in the form of simple syrup) for sweetness and viscosity.

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

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