Saturday, April 13, 2013

Limoncello :: When life gives you lemons, add alcohol

This past Christmas, I wanted to give something to all the family that we go around an visit. Being on a tight budget, you want to give something cool to everyone, but don't want to break the bank, so when I came about this recipe I thought it would be great to try this year.

First I waited for an awesome sale on the bottles that I decided to use. Turns out, with free shipping and a sale, Crate & Barrel turned out to be the best deal I could find. I ended up getting them for about $5 per bottle.

Chad gladly took the job of peeling.
We used a large pot that Chad's brother typically uses for making beer.

Peeling all those lemons got a bit tiresome.

We bought a couple bags of lemons. I believe it was about 50 in total. I didn't realize the recipe only calls for the rinds, so we decided to make lemonade as well. Good thing we did - we only managed to get about 5-6 bottles of limoncello. The rest we made into fresh lemonade. That actually worked out better because you really can't drink too much limoncello. We ended up opening a bottle wherever we went, and it was shared and enjoyed!

Here was my station/job - juicing all the lemons.

We went with a nicer vodka because it was on sale for the holiday; win-win!

This job also got a bit tiresome, but I really loved using the juicer.

Don't do what we did - we had a funnel that didn't fit inside the bottles. It made for a lot slower and inefficient pouring. I recommend hitting up the dollar store for a cheap funnel if you don't have one. Also, for both the lemonade and the limoncello we went lighter on the sugar. The lemonade was just water, lemon juice, and sugar.

I had fun making the labels. I wanted them to be simple. Also, I put a recipe for a cocktail mix on the back of the tag for those who don't like the drink on it's own (including me.) It sure is pretty looking, but it's not really my favorite thing to drink. I know a lot of other people really enjoy it.

Here is our recipe for Limoncello:
(we based this recipe off of Giada's recipe)

2 bottles of 1.75 sky vodka
Rind of 50 lemons
8 cups sugar (more if desired to taste)
14 cups of water

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

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