Limoncello

Preparation: 4 - 6 weeks
Yield: 1 1/2 litres (6 cups) per batch

     

If you're making lemon curd, why not make some Limoncello using the excess peel! This lemon-flavoured liqueur needs to sit for a good 4 to 6 weeks before it is ready, so perhaps think of making a few extra bottles for gifts :(^_^): When making liqueur, the "base" or starting alcohol determines how you store your final liqueur:

* Base 195 proof (very high alcohol content) ie Everclear - store Limoncello on shelf or in refrigerator or freezer.

* Base 100 proof ie Smirnoff 57 - store Limoncello (about 60 proof) in refrigerator or freezer.
* Base 80 proof ie regular vodka - store Limoncello (about 50 proof) in refrigerator (may freeze partially due to lower alcohol level in the liqueur). May also need to infuse for an extra week or two compared to using a higher alcohol-content base. For all of these bases, when infusing you store them in a cool, dry dark place ie pantry - then store in the pantry/fridge/freezer depending on the base used. Enjoy!
     
Sterilise jar/s

For each batch, you'll want 1 x quart (950ml) jar that has been sterilised by covering in boiling water and boiling for 10 minutes. Remove from water and rest for a few minutes on a tea towel-covered surface to cool.        
Pour vodka into jar

Use a funnel to reduce spillage of the vodka as you pour them into your jar.
  

Prepare lemon peel

Wash lemons and pat dry using paper towel or a clean tea towel. Gently peel lemons, using pieces that are not discoloured/marked until you have about 1 1/2 cups of loosely packed peel pieces. Cut away the white pith using a small knife - I didn't peel my lemons very carefully so had to remove the pith from nearly every piece of peel! You don't want the pith as it will give a bitter or bland flavour to the alcohol.

     
Add peel, shake jar

Add lemon peel to jar, wipe rim and add seal. Screw band on to fingertip-tight, tighten and shake for a few seconds to combine.
   
Storage
Store in a cool, dark dry place (like your pantry) for 4 - 6 weeks. Shake once or twice a week. Check after 4 weeks and see if the flavour is strong enough - if not, leave for another week or two. If your base is a lower proof (lower alcohol content) you may need to leave it for the full 6 weeks. Peels should lose colour when it is almost ready.
        

4 - 6 WEEKS LATER ...

Prepare sugar syrup
Over medium-low heat, combine sugar and water in a pan, stir until sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature.
   
Strain infused vodka
Pour through a sieve/several layers of cheesecloth to remove peel.
      
Add sugar syrup
Combine room-temperature sugar syrup with infused vodka and (optional) food colouring, shake to combine. Taste, adding extra syrup if required. This liqueur has extra sugar compared to my other liqueur recipes as lemons taste nicer with a little extra sugar - but adjust to your personal taste :)

      
Storage
Pour into a nice liqueur bottle with an air-tight lid to prevent evaporation. Seal and store. Storage method may vary depending on the base alcohol you used:
* Base 195 proof (very high alcohol content) ie Everclear - store Limoncello on shelf or in refrigerator or freezer.
* Base 100 proof ie Smirnoff 57 - store Limoncello (about 60 proof) in refrigerator or freezer.
* Base 80 proof ie regular vodka - store Limoncello (about 50 proof) in refrigerator (may freeze partially due to lower alcohol level in the liqueur).         

  
Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups (loosely packed) lemon peel (I used about 10 lemons)
1 bottle (about 3 cups) of vodka
2 cups white sugar
3 cups water
2-3 drops yellow food colouring, optional (I omitted)
      

When you add the yellow food colouring, it will change the liqueur colour from a pale yellow to a rich yellow colour. Totally up to you - I will be leaving it out of mine but it will be a pale yellow colour when it's ready. How do you enjoy Limoncello? The most popular way is poured over ice and enjoyed as a delicious liqueur after dinner, or added into your favourite cocktail. If you have stored it at room temperature or in the refrigerator, pop into the freezer until very cold and ready to serve. 
   
Why not try making your own limoncello, it makes a delicious liqueur to enjoy ice cold and would make a lovely gift, too! :(^_^):

   
LEFT to RIGHT:
Vanilla Bean Liqueur, after 6 days
Orange Liqueur, after 3 days
Limoncello, after 1 hour

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