If you haven’t noticed I tend to do some odd things. I’ve made cheese for instance. It was good too. So it shouldn’t surprise you to know that I’ve started my first batch of booze. Ok, technically I’m just flavoring already made booze but if the Italians can do it so can I.
Limoncello is its name. Think lemon flavored vodka but sweeter and divine at super cold temperatures.
At the base of this recipe is lemon peel. Just the peel. Not that white pith under the beautiful yellow peel. After reading about several methods on how to attain such a thing I decided to ditch the “veggie peeler then take a sharp knife to gently remove any white pieces” along with the “remove the peel by using a plainer” methods and go with the apple peeler device. I had previously purchased one of these things at a garage sale a few years ago (sucker for anything Pampered Chef at a huge discount) for about $5 and have yet to use it. I had read a post written by a guy that used one of these and said that the peeler took off just the yellow peel and none of the white pith that makes the finished liqueur bitter. This is the part where I should have heard the voice inside my head shouting “Stupid! It cores and slices apples! It will do the same to a lemon and make a huge sour mess of your kitchen counter!” But I didn’t. Lesson learned. Be prepared with lots of towels for lots of juice. But the plus side is that my garbage disposal smells nice.
The recipe that I used called for half vodka and half Everclear. Having not been to any high school parties involving Everclear I had no idea what I was looking for. I know it’s super high-proof grain alcohol but past that I don’t know what it is. Enter the friendly people at the store. I had my jug-o-vodka in hand and walked up to the register. Feeling the need to preface my question I announced, “I’m making limoncello and it calls for Everclear. Is that still legal in this state?” Because apparently in some places Everclear has been outlawed. Yah, I’m dangerous like that.
Three bags of lemons for three large mason jars sounds easy enough. I set up the first lemon to be peeled and it starts out really well. Until I notice that the peeler contraption is also coring and making a long spiral out of the lemon flesh. Uh oh. I quickly call my sister. Why my sister? Because she is the queen of apple pies and uses one of the peeler contraptions regularly. Surely she will know how to set it up for only peeling a piece of fruit. Bless her heart she laughs at me. She tells me that it will cut and core fruit the only option is to have it peel it as well. Hmmm damn. I continue through all three bags of fruit making sure to mop up the juices after every lemon dies.
After all the lemons have died and their long stringy skins are in the jars I add the vodka and Everclear. Replace the lids and forget the jars for as long as I can. The recipe says that at least two weeks is good but the longer these sit the better. I’m aiming for October. Then I get to remove the peels and add some simple sugar to the mix and let it chill for a few more months. Just in time for gift giving… since I don’t like lemons.