As we enter the Holiday Season, I thought this might be a good moment to share one of my favorite things. Enjoy!
You may be familiar with that old adage: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Well, that is all well and good, but we have found an improvement.
The hell with the lemonade..... make Limoncello!
It is really a pretty easy process, and there are tons of recipes on the Internet. Just google "Limoncello recipes". I use "Homemade LimoncelloVincent Recipe" for a couple of reasons: it recommends using organic lemons, and 190 proof grain alcohol. Other recipes neglect to mention the fact that the part of the lemon you are using is the 'zest' of the lemon which is where any pesticides used in the process will be found. So I stick with organic lemons, which are a lot more expensive, and also sometimes hard to find. (The local health food store has stopped carrying them since the prices have gone through the roof this year.) I was very surprised to find these in the local Stop and Shop this week. I haven't seen them there in over a year.
The other reason I use this recipe is that it calls for 190 proof grain alcohol. A lot of recipes use vodka instead. Most vodkas are about 40% alcohol, or about 80 proof. So, duh. :)
So here we have the basic ingredients, and we have begun the process of making limoncello. I use a microplane to zest the lemons, since you want to be careful to remove ONLY the zest---- not the white pulpy stuff.
I have zested the lemons.
Oh, yeah. I had to run out to the local liquor store to pick up the magic ingredient: Graves 190 Proof Grain Alcohol. Kickapoo Joy Juice.
WARNING: Do NOT drink the Grain Alcohol straight up under any circumstances. It will kill you. Seriously. Don't do it.
We have placed the lemon zest in a large bowl, and emptied the contents of the 1 Liter bottle of Graves 190 Proof Grain Alcohol.
We now cover it with plastic wrap and let it stand for a week or two, to allow the lemon zest to infuse the grain alcohol. Although this recipe does not mention it, I usually add a vanilla bean to the bowl for some additional flavoring.
From left to right, you can see a pitcher of squeezed organic lemon juice, the bowl with the lemon zest and grain alcohol, and .... ok.... a small bowl with a bunch of lemon seeds. What the heck. I have a 2 year old grandson, and I thought he might enjoy learning about growing a lemon tree. :)
Part I of 'Making Homemade Limoncello' is now complete for the time being. We will continue soon with Part II in a couple of weeks.
So, I have earned my reward: a double espresso 'Italian-style"! Yes, that is a lemon rind from one of the organic lemons. Waste not, want not! :)
Stay tuned for Part II of: When Life Gives You Lemons.... Make Limoncello!