Ever feel like you’re swimming through all the cold spots in an otherwise hot-tub ocean? Recently three friends e-mailed me asking when I was going to post again. My husband asked the same question, in person, and weathered a huffy response. My sister e-mailed me with the subject line, “quiet out there” and this note:
We are in a Mercury retrograde if you are into such things, and boy, what a sucky time August is turning out to be. Hope you are faring well.
I’m stuck in the cold spots. I’ve got lemons.
Mercury Retrograde, you dingbat, quit it with the photo-bombing. Enough! And stop boiling my words into gelatinous blobs of bland…blandness…blandosity. Truce. Blanditos. Seriously, stop it.
I don’t follow such things but I’m happy to hear about them. I need a scapegoat and I can see Mercury Retrograde over there chewing on my furniture. Sucky moments can give you another perspective. You can take what you have and change it.
I’ve been wanting to make limoncello. Let’s do it. We’ll sip our ice cold, citrus elixir on Christmas or whatever holiday you get wound up about as long as it’s at least eighty days from now.
I used 21 organic lemons, 1.75 liters of 100 proof Vodka and a large Le Parfait jar with an airtight, resealable lid. I chose the grasshopper route and peeled all 21 of these sour sisters by hand with a freshly honed paring knife.
A mindful, slow, steady draw of the blade works best. When you see a hint of the blade’s metal through the lemon’s skin you should be removing the peel without taking the pith. Pith is the white layer and it’ll make limoncello bitter. If you see white on the peel then simply slice or scrape it off. Peeling 21 lemons by hand and meticulously removing all traces of pith will improve your knife skills. Or you can opt for a very sharp vegetable peeler. Either way I say: set a scene for yourself. Peeling these lemons will take some time and when you drink Limoncello 2011 you’ll probably remember the day you made it. Make it pretty.
I wanted to chill, change the vibe, sit outside in the sun and think about people I’ll share some of this Limoncello with in 3 months. By then the oil from these 21 lemon peels will have infused the vodka to golden-yellow, persistent as the summer sun; lit from within.
We want Limoncello 2011 to become full-bodied and silky. We want it to rouse us with bright taste and dense lemony aroma, mesmerize with its velvety feel and soothe with a sweet finish. Poetry better fall from our lips and kerplunk on the floor when we sip this limoncello.
I’ll let you know how Limoncello 2011 invokes my summer day of grasshopper knife training in the garden. If you make some let me know! Who’re you gonna share a freezer-cold, lemon-bright, creamy, dreamy Limoncello with?
Here’s how I’m making Limoncello 2011:
Summary: The peels from twenty-one lemons will infuse vodka with a golden-yellow, persistent as the summer sun; lit from within.
- 21 organic lemons
- 1.75 liters of 100 proof Vodka or Everclear (I used Monarch Vodka)
- 4-6 cups water
- 4-5 cups sugar
- Wash the lemons well in warm water.
- Peel the lemons with a paring knife or a very sharp vegetable peeler.
- Add lemon peels to an airtight, resealable jar.
- Add the vodka to the jar.
- Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for 10-40 days. The lemon infusion will become more intense as it sits so try to leave it alone for 40 days.
- Strain lemon peels from mixture and return the liquid to the jar.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Add sugar and let it dissolve.
- Let the water and sugar mixture (which is called heavy sugar or simple syrup) cool.
- Add the heavy sugar to your lemon infused alcohol. Taste it. If it needs more sweetness then make a little more heavy sugar and add it.
- Reseal the jar and let it rest for 10-40 days.
- When you’re ready to drink your limoncello place it in the freezer till it gets icy cold. Drink. Enjoy! Rebottle it and get crafty with your own labels if you like. I will!
Some people stick to only Everclear. If you’re using Vodka use one that is 100 proof.
Culinary tradition: Italian
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Recipe by fat pig.
Microformatting by hRecipe.