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Limoncello brewing

March 2, 2010

Way back in November during a birthday party, my girlfriend Jen passed along two bottles of her homemade Limoncello. They were crafted using organic Meyer’s lemons. Bottle#1 was just the straight stuff while bottle#2 was rosemary infused. Yummy!

Around the end of December/beginning of January I decided to try my hand at this amazing elixir.  Nothing fancy, just the basic stuff. After perusing the web for a variety of recipes I finally settled on the SlowTravel Italy site. Please visit the Slow Travel Italy site for the complete recipe. Below is how I approached it:

Part 1

1 bottle (750 ml) Everclear (95% alcohol 190 proof)

1 bottle (750 ml) good but not premium vodka (40% alcohol 80 proof)

15 large organic lemons (w/out scars or flaws… kind of tough to find organics that way) from First Alternative!

Part 2

3 cups filtered tap water

4 cups sugar

With part 1, pour your bottles of hooch into a very clean 1 gallon jar w/ lid. Clean your lemons well to remove pesticides and other icky stuff. Dry lemons. Use a sharp paring knife to remove several long strips of skin without the white pith on the back. These strips will be your testers. Finish the remaining 14+ lemons using a micro-plane zester to remove the yellow skin. Place skins/zesting into the jar w/ alcohol. Cover and place in cool dark place for the magic to happen.

I did all these steps and placed the jar in a lower cabinet for the next 40+ days. Supposedly the batch is to be stirred every week… but I never did. After about 50 days I checked the long strip of peel for flexibility. It was supposed to “break like a potato chip”. I was thinking it would be super crisp, but not so. When I bent it, it eventually broke with a snap but nothing like breaking a chip. If it just kept bending, then the batch would not be ready. Maybe I should have waited longer… but 50 days seemed to be good enough!

Part 2 involves straining the liquid through many filters and adding a sugar solution for final curing. Sugar is combined with the water and boiled for 5 minutes then allowed to cool (I placed it in the fridge overnight). You can see from the photo below the basic straining process. I placed #4 coffee filters into a funnel and poured in the alcohol/lemon infusion. The process does clog the filters so make sure you have many on hand (used 6 total for my batch).  After you strain the entire jar, clean the original jar and do a second filtration back to the original container. Probably allow around an hour for this straining process.

After the goods have been put through the second filtration, add in the cooled sugar solution. The mixture goes from looking like pee to a cloudy lemon sauce. Stir and put the lid back on.

I didn’t like my original container and split the batch between two containers. Now it just hast to sit for another 40+ days back in the dark cabinet.  Think it might be a hard wait!

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