The Art of Darkness

Chasing the Yellow Fairy

February 25th, 2010 by Cobwebs

Lemon CelloI have a tendency–certain members of my family that I happen to be married to would call it “an unfortunate tendency”–when encountering any large quantity of really cheap produce, to buy it and figure out what to do with it later. Not infrequently that seems to involve a good soaking in alcohol. Thus, when I scored a giant bag of lemons a few months ago, I decided to try my hand at limoncello.

There are a number of recipes floating around, including several variations obsessively documented at Limoncello Quest. My approach to the whole undertaking was somewhat more relaxed but it turned out splendidly. It’s pretty hard to truly screw up homemade liqueur, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Ingredients:

  • One 750ml bottle of high-proof grain alcohol, such as Everclear (which is 151 proof). I’ve seen recipes that call for vodka instead, but the much lower alcohol content means that it’ll be pretty low-octane once you dilute it with sugar syrup.
  • A buncha lemons. You can decide how many this is; recipes vary wildly. You should probably use at least 10. In the end, I used about 30 (but not all at once).
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups water

Equipment:

  • A glass jar large enough to hold about six cups of liquid (a bit larger is better), with a tight-fitting lid. I used a big canning jar.
  • Something to remove the peel: A microplane grater is best; I used a regular kitchen grater. You could probably use a vegetable peeler or paring knife in a pinch.
  • A strainer for removing the peel; you could use a slotted spoon in a real pinch, but strainers are cheap.
  • A filter: Coffee filters will remove pretty much all particulate matter; a few layers of cheesecloth is fine.

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