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Making Limoncello


Mulcahy
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They definitely aren't Meyers - they're too flavourful for that, and Meyers are only rarely grown down here (probably for the very reason that they lack flavour). I'd place bets on them being a Spanish type, perhaps Villafranca, which are also quite large. The flavour is comparable to Sorrento lemons, which are rarely grown here (but which I buy whenever I see them.) I'll give it a shot with 6 of them and see what happens - my friend tells me that as long as at least one lemon pie comes his way per dozen lemons, he's happy to continue picking them and giving them to me. I've also got some limes the size of my fist, one of which will be zested and added as per Katie's instructions.

I could tell they're not Meyers, primarily because you mentioned them as having thick skins, as opposed to Meyers, which, in my experience anyway, are thin-skinned.

I only mentioned them as an illustration that the size of the lemons doesn't necessarily translate into the strength of the oils in the zest, so that makes it a little harder to "guestimate" how many you should use.

I'll only caution again that you're better off to overdo than underdo.

And yes, Katie's suggestion to add the zest of one lime was something I had not heard of until I read it here. And it's made a big difference in the quality of my final product.

So let me add my thanks to Katie.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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As an FYI, there is a fairly long thread on this (an OT thread) on pizzamaking.com, that has been active lately as well. I made some using their suggestions and it tastes good to me, but I have never had the real deal, so not sure re authenticity. I used Smirnoff 100 proof vodka because you can't buy Everclear here in VA.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17731.0.html

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Jaymes, you are most welcome.

Honestly, the one lime trick is the secret from my source of the recipe. He says it's the only thing that mimics the true flavor of Sorrento lemons which we can't readily get. He can't even get them in Germany and he was a lot closer to the source...

Meyer lemon JUICE is the prize of those lemons. The peels don't seem to work very well for limoncello, so I'm told by several folks that thought it would be a cool idea. :shrug: I can't explain it, but know that I won't waste money on those expensive lemons since others have already sailed that ship and sank.

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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Jaymes, you are most welcome.

Honestly, the one lime trick is the secret from my source of the recipe. He says it's the only thing that mimics the true flavor of Sorrento lemons which we can't readily get. He can't even get them in Germany and he was a lot closer to the source...

Meyer lemon JUICE is the prize of those lemons. The peels don't seem to work very well for limoncello, so I'm told by several folks that thought it would be a cool idea. :shrug: I can't explain it, but know that I won't waste money on those expensive lemons since others have already sailed that ship and sank.

I have grown Meyer's Lemon trees in pots for quite a number of years, even hauling them around with me from state to state, as I kept relocating. They produce great numbers of lemons, which I really love in many applications, but it's clear that they're not as strongly-flavored as "regular" lemons. I was told some years back that Meyer's are not "true lemons." I never did any research into exactly what that means, but even when I use them in baking, I add extra juice.

I'm not surprised that they're not particularly wonderful for limoncello.

I have wondered, though, about calamansi/calamondon oranges as I have several pots of those also and they produce a lot of fruit. Other than the fact they're so small and would be quite the royal pain to zest, I'm curious as to how that would turn out.

It's probably a long shot to ask here if anybody has tried them, but you never know... eGulleteers are always a surprising lot.

So, has anyone ever tried making "calamancello"?

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I've never done neutral spirits extraction with calamondins, but I have extracted them into cognac and the result was breathtakingly good. I imagine that in a 'cello presentation you'd end up with something similar to Gran Marnier or other complex orange liqueurs.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Last year a couple friends and I had a limoncelloff where we pit our various limoncello methods against each other. I used Meyer lemons (alcohol portions Katie's recipe), as I have a tree, and the others were a regular Smirnoff with supermarket lemons, store bought (easily identified as the loser), and lemons grown in the Central Valley (CA) steeped in very high proof home-distilled "rum" (which I have tried straight and detect little flavor).

The grocery store/Smirnoff was the winner by an edge, with the Central Valley version a close second. As others noted above the Meyer lemons didn't have enough 'lemon-ness' to pull it off. I went with all Meyers out of curiosity about the comparison I knew was upcoming, and also because I've always thought their peel was their strength. To me it has always tasted lemony plus "herbal". And if I had to name an herb, it would be rosemary, which can definitely be described as woody. I've always been disappointed in their insides, which don't have the acidity I'm looking for in a lemon, but have found the zest fantastic in lemon curds or vegetable dressings, as the herbal plus lemon character seems more interesting than pure lemon.

The surprise, however, came when we mixed the supermarket lemon winner with the Meyer loser (besides the poor, commercial brand sold at Trader Joe's) and the mixture became the overall winner of the night. The Pledge-y quality of the lemony winner was toned down and enhanced by the herbal qualities of the Meyer lemon version. So maybe mixing in a few Meyers could enhance the mix, though Meyer only is not nearly lemony enough.

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According to the font of knowledge, Wikipedia, Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange, so I'm not surprised you don't get what you are after for limoncello.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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I've never done neutral spirits extraction with calamondins, but I have extracted them into cognac and the result was breathtakingly good. I imagine that in a 'cello presentation you'd end up with something similar to Gran Marnier or other complex orange liqueurs.

I'm curious as to how you did this. Did you zest those little calamansi? And then what with the cognac? "Breathtakingly good" makes it sound pretty compelling. I think I might give it a go, either with the cognac, or with vodka.

But, interestingly enough, the peel of the calamansi is actually sweeter than the meat. I used to have two large bushes flanking each side of our garage, and my sons would eat those calamansi whole while playing basketball in the driveway.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I cheated, actually. I cut the Calmanasi in half (the way one would slice a grapefruit) then used my handy runcible spoon to remove the meat and connective tissues (which I smooshed up and boiled up with a bit of grapefruit rind and some herbs in the process of making my own citrus bitters), then cut the rind into strips and that's what went into the cognac in a large clear glass jar in the sunshine of my kitchen windowledge for a couple of weeks. Cognac is naturally a bit sweet (or at least the Remy XO I used was) and it complemented the Calmanasi rather well. I tested the jar every other day or so (a teaspoon at a time) until I was happy with the extraction, then I filtered it and squirreled it away in a brown-glass bottle. I had about 1 L of it, and it lasted about three months (by which time it was all gone).

Then I took those lovely chunks of cognac'd rind and covered them in the darkest chocolate I had on hand, which was a 78% Amazonian gran cru if memory serves.

Edit - I am an atrocious typist today. Fixed typos and grammar problems.

Edited by Panaderia Canadiense (log)

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I cheated, actually. I cut the Calmanasi in half (the way one would slice a grapefruit) then used my handy runcible spoon to remove the meat and connective tissues (which I smooshed up and boiled up with a bit of grapefruit rind and some herbs in the process of making my own citrus bitters), then cut the rind into strips and that's what went into the cognac in a large clear glass jar in the sunshine of my kitchen windowledge for a couple of weeks. Cognac is naturally a bit sweet (or at least the Remy XO I used was) and it complemented the Calmanasi rather well. I tested the jar every other day or so (a teaspoon at a time) until I was happy with the extraction, then I filtered it and squirreled it away in a brown-glass bottle. I had about 1 L of it, and it lasted about three months (by which time it was all gone).

Then I took those lovely chunks of cognac'd rind and covered them in the darkest chocolate I had on hand, which was a 78% Amazonian gran cru if memory serves.

Wow. Just wow.

Especially the bit where you covered the rinds with the "darkest chocolate" you had on hand.

Are they (calamansi/calamondon oranges) native to Ecuador? Are they hard to find down there?

We lived in the Philippines for several years and they grow wild there and are ubiquitous in the Filipino cuisine. I've always grown them in pots in the US, but most folks here have never heard of them.

I definitely think I might try to make some "calamancello" following Katie's recipe, but subbing the calamansi rinds.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I only do Calamansignac when a friend of mine (who has trees) gives me some of her crop; otherwise Kumquats and Mandalimes are much more common small citrusses than the Calamansi is. BTW, citrus is an Old-World plant and everything here was brought over by the Spanish. On the upside, though, I can get Valencia and Sevilla oranges year-round here.... Actually, it's much more common to find 7 or 8 varieties of limes and lemons, some of which are orange inside, than it is to find a "true" orange.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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We lived in the Philippines for several years and they grow wild there and are ubiquitous in the Filipino cuisine. I've always grown them in pots in the US, but most folks here have never heard of them.

Well, I thought I should come back here and correct myself...

I did a little googling just out of curiosity and, according to Wiki, Calamondin/Calamansi are a hybrid that are "unknown in the wild," so I guess I was wrong when I said that they grew wild in the Philippines. But it certainly seemed to me like they did, since they were everywhere, including along the sides of the roads.

And, it appears that they are so ancient that nobody knows for sure where they originated, but that most folks think it was probably China.

Calamondin/Calamansi - Wiki

I know that the Filipinos use them for a great many medicinal uses, but was surprised to read this:

Calamondin citrus has found several medicinal uses. When rubbed on insect bites, the juice will relieve the itching and reduce the irritation. It can also be used as a natural acne medicine or taken orally as cough medicine (often mixed with green tea), and is a natural anti-inflammatory. For problems with constipation the juice is warmed and diluted with water. It bleaches freckles and helps to clear up acne vulgaris and pruritus vulvae. In Malaysia, it is used as an antidote for poison, and a poultice of pandanus leaves mixed with salt and the juice of citrus microcarpa, can be used to treat abscesses. In Peninsular Malaysia, it is combined with pepper to help expel phlegm. Its root is used in the Philippines at childbirth.

"Childbirth"? Who knew?

Citrus plants are really quite wonderful, it seems.

:smile:

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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The proper name for orange-cello is, arancello. And it's delicious. The big gigantic thick skinned navel oranges work great for this, and a veggie peeler is fine since the skins are so thick. I've heard tell of tangerinecello and mandarincello though I've never tried myself. I bet grapefruit would be delicious.

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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Anyone ever attempted a riff on the 'format' with, say, grapefruit, lime or orange (even blood orange)? Kumquats?

I've done key lime (never again--it was a real bitch to peel) and blood orange. Both turned out just fine.

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  • 3 months later...

Hello people, I'm new to this site but I have found this thread to be a great sourse of knowledge and experience in the crafting of Limoncello. Since I live in California, I have three lemon trees and one large orange tree. This year after filling the bins of my spare refigerator up with excessive lemons, I decided to try crafting Limoncelle. A month ago I used a microplane to zest 36 Eureka lemons for two batches of Limoncello. I used 2 750ml bottles of 151 proof Everclear for each batch which I filtered throught a Brita filter. After three weeks I filtered the zest from the first batch of Everclear and added a Simple Syrup of 1 cup granulated sugar to 4 cups of filtered water. After cooling I blended the batch which turned cloudy but, with a nice color and fragrance. After a week I tested some and while the flavor was great, the alcohol kick was dangerous! The second batch is still infusing to see if the longer time makes any difference but, I think the next batch will have slightly more sugar and a lot more filtered water. I did buy two commercial brands to compare sugar level and taste and even though my first batch is very strong, it does taste better than the commercial product.P1010013.JPGP1010015.JPG

Edited by jacko9 (log)
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Brainstorm hit me when I was discussing my limoncello recipe with someone down in New Orleans this week. The addition of the one lime is to bring that slightly floral quality that the Sorrento lemons have. So what if I tried pink grapefruit-cello with the addition of one tangerine or clementine to also add that floral element?? Or would this work to vastly improve a straight orange arancello?? I'll be a little busy in the next few weeks to start a test batch of this, but will report back when I get it together...

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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I would like to try adding one or two green unripe Eureka lemons to my recipet for batch four. I was wondering if anybody added one or two Meyer lemons to the recipet?

I also want to go back to Katie's original and add one lime to batch five but, I need to wait for my two trees to give me some more great fruit!

Jack

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  • 3 months later...

Hi

I haven't read through this whole thread although I've been using Katies limoncello recipe for a while now (thanks). I've been thinking would grapefruit work?

To my taste it may lend itself to a great sweet 'n' sour liquer all on its own but not sure if oil levels in the peel are suitable and so how many to use.

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So, I finally got around to filtering and mixing the stuff I put on, oh, what was that? Nearly a year ago? No matter - the long extraction process doesn't seem to have hurt it any, and the peels in the jar have gone to a blah-beige colour, which was unexpected. Here's my finished product:

Limoncello1.jpg

(please ignore the mountain of dishes I haven't put away yet...)

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?

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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!

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Hi

I haven't read through this whole thread although I've been using Katies limoncello recipe for a while now (thanks). I've been thinking would grapefruit work?

To my taste it may lend itself to a great sweet 'n' sour liquer all on its own but not sure if oil levels in the peel are suitable and so how many to use.

I would probably take off the grapefruit zests in thin strips with a very sharp vegetable peeler to get as little bitter pith as possible. Maybe 3 or 4 grapefruits total?? I'm sure it would work, just not sure what it would taste like at the other end. Might have to adjust the sugar levels to account for more bitterness to start. Please do report back! I think this might be an excellent idea and could make for a very interesting cocktail ingredient.

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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