Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Make Your Own Booze - Limoncello

I've been reading a few books about Italy (living there, cooking there, etc...) and man does it sound lovely. And with several 95+ degree days in LA this week, I keep dreaming about that tasty, frosty Italian liqueur known as limoncello.

Limoncello is damned fine and, if I remembered the recipe I'd read a while back in the LA Times, damned easy to make. And I did have several Meyer lemons sitting around, just waiting to be used up...

So Saturday I did some internet recon, then some liquor store recon, then some microplane zesting and now I am only weeks away from enjoying my own frosty Italian liqueur. Which may or may not be served to some select guests at Craig & Sharra's baby shower.
You don't add the simple syrup until the second step of the process (which takes place two weeks after the initial zest 'n dump) and I'm considering experimenting a little. In addition to a straight up simple syrup, I was thinking of making one that's infused with basil and another that's infused with lavender and making two smaller limoncello batches with each. There's enough stuff for 2+ bottles of limoncello, so I'd probably split the second bottle and mix the flavored syrups with them. The guys at the Carmela Ice Cream & Sorbet stand inspired the first mix, my super awesome imagination inspired the second.

In the mean time, I have the juice of 12 Meyer lemons sitting in the fridge just begging me to make sorbet or something with them. Which would be a good thing in this heat.

Meyer Limoncello
from The LA Times

12 lemons
2 (750-ml) bottles 100-proof vodka, divided [*I used regular 80 proof vodka, which is fine, too]
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

1. Remove the yellow part of the lemon peel with a sharp peeler or fine grater, carefully avoiding the bitter white pith. If any pith remains on the back of a strip of peel, scrape it off.

2. Put the yellow peels in a jar or bottle, add 1 bottle vodka and seal tightly. Leave the bottle to steep until the peels lose their color, at least 2 weeks.

3. Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and boil until it turns clear. Let the syrup cool.

4. Strain the vodka from the peels and mix it with the remaining bottle of vodka and the syrup. Put the liqueur in bottles, seal tightly and let the components marry for at least 1 week before using. For drinking straight, store the limoncello in the freezer.

No comments: