Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Limoncello.......Part I

Mmmm.........Limoncello. For those not in the know Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur that is consumed after a meal. The drink services not only as a digestif but as a pleasant end to any meal. In addition to its qualities as a digestion aid it also provides a killer buzz and has been proven to jump start debates and deep thoughts. If that wasn't enough it has a great taste to boot. Limoncello is made with lemon peels that are combined with high proof alcohol and the resulting mixture being combined with simple syrup. The end result is a potion that is bright, sweet, lemony, and potent but not sour as it is not made with lemon juice. The flavor and color are achieved by the interaction of the lemon peel with the alcohol. Limoncello is deceptively easy to make and delicious. I encourage everyone to try this recipe once and impress both your friends and neighbors. As always, I must give credit where credit is due. I originally learned this recipe from my aunt Amy Miller who not only is a culinary talent in her own right but lived in Italy for several years. I have adapted the recipe to tone down the sweetness slightly but hers is my inspiration (and we share a birthday!). This liqueur has developed a mini-cult following at my work due to an incident at last year's holiday party where many people were first introduced to Limocello and were later found howling at the moon. How was I to know?!?!?

Aunt Amy......Culinary giant, Limocello artist, and Ava Gabor impersonator

Without further adieu, here it comes.

1.75 liter + 750 ml Everclear

22 Lemons

Remove the peels from the lemons and combine with Everclear in a container with a lid. I use a peeler to remove the lemons. You want to be careful and remove as little of the "white" part of the lemon as possible. This is called the pith and it is very bitter. The Limoncello will get its bright color and lemon flavor from the essential oils in the peel. The alcohol interacts with the peel drawing out the oils; this process is called macerating. You can use just about any glass or plastic container that you want, just make sure it has a lid. I use a round plastic storage jar with a gripping lid. The alcohol and peel mixture must now sit for 7 days. Place the container in a cool (room temperature is ok) and dark place and practice being patient. As you check the mixture each day you will see that the liquid starts to turn yellow and the peels start to turn white. The magic has begun!

This is how your peels should look.

These lemons is naked!

Concoction combined correctly = Good JuJu!

See you in a week............................


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