Monday, December 27, 2010

Neapolitan Style Limoncello

A Facebook link to this blog post last month intrigued me.  The post is all about making homemade limoncello, an Italian style lemon liqueur.  With the holiday party season fast approaching, I jumped at the chance to make a tasty libation for sharing.  Booze, lemons, sugar...what's not to love, right?

The limoncello itself is super easy to make.  The only thing you need to have is patience.  It takes about 30 days to steep the lemon peels, and I'd recommend heartily that you give your finished limoncello at least another week to mellow before serving.  There's a noticeable difference in flavor after a week- less hellfire and more lemony sweetness.

The magic all starts with grain alcohol- the revered and feared Everclear.  Everclear is mighty powerful stuff, and although it's diluted by half with sugar syrup, it'll still knock you on your ass if you're not careful.  I dunno if there's a connection, but I served this stuff at a party last weekend and there was very nearly a drunken brawl shortly thereafter.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Anyhoo, on with the show.  Check the link above for the actual recipe.  It turns out I used 750mL of Everclear instead of the 1L called for, but it's so stout, I doubt I'd use a whole liter next time.

Limoncello is delicious as an aperitif or as part of a mixed drink.  Keep a bottle in the freezer, because it tastes best ice cold.  I like mine mixed with Sprite and ice.  I think it might also be good in a champagne cocktail.  Although I can't in good conscience recommend it, it's a fantastic shooter as well.

Removing lemon zest with a vegetable peeler- by far the easiest way.

Don't scrape into the bitter white pith.

Illegal in some states.

Good time to use that glass pickle jar you've been holding on to.  Let the peels soak in the booze for a good month.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  I made a big ass pitcher of lemonade with the juice.  Nothing wasted!

The lemon peels have been seriously dessicated after 30 days in Everclear.

Lemon-tinged Everclear.  A most unappetizing color at this stage.

750 grams of sugar for simple syrup.  Thanks for jacking my pics up, Blogger.

One liter of water for simple syrup.

After boiling the simple syrup, remove from heat, add lemon peels, and let cool.

Mixing the two parts together.  Notice the lovely milky yellow hue.

Grolsch beer bottles work great because of the nifty flip tops, and my husband was kind enough to drink some of his beer for me so I could have them.  I filled four bottles, which are 16 oz. each.

After straining the lemon peels from the simple syrup, I tossed them with sugar and allowed them to dry.  Well, I allowed most of them to dry.  They were so delicious I ate a bunch while they were damp.

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