January is citrus season, and beyond my experiments with marmalade, I'm venturing to make a few other things with the great organic citrus that seems so abundant. I've wanted to make Limoncello for a while, but for some reason, kept thinking of it as a summer beverage, and only recently realized that it'd be best to make it NOW (when, as I said, citrus is abundant), so it can have a few months to age before we consume it.
I've made infused liquor exactly once--soaking blueberries in vodka for a few months, then mixing with a simple syrup and allowing the mixture to mellow. At the time that I made it, it was only half-intentional--we had too many blueberries for me to know what to do with (at the time), and a bottle of vodka sitting around; thus, the liquor was born. And because we only had a quart of it, it's been carefully
rationed--in fact, we still have some sitting around on the bottom of a jar in our liquor cabinet.
Most limoncello recipes are pretty basic: zest or peel (organic) lemons, put the zest into a glass container with (some kind of) grain alcohol, and wait. Then strain the mixture, mix with simple syrup, and allow to age/mellow for a few months before consuming. Usually, the ratio of simple syrup to alcohol is 1:1; usually, the zest is allowed to infuse for at least two weeks. Otherwise, the limoncello recipes vary little--some people swear by a fine zest, while others insist that peeling the lemons in wide strips produces a clearer limoncello. Most people will recommend a higher proof alcohol (the highest you can find, really), as it extracts more of the lemon essence. For our batch, I mostly peeled the lemons, after realizing that our old zester is getting dull, and put the peels into containers with 190 proof Everclear. I think that after thirty days, or so, it'll be ready for the next step of the process.
After peeling a dozen or so lemons, I was left with...well, the lemons. I looked at them for a minute or so, and decided that there was no better way to use them than to make a lemonade mix (or lemon syrup). I combined 2.5 cups of lemon juice with 4.5 cups of sugar, brought it just to boiling, ladled into jars, and now am a proud owner of two and a half pints of lemon syrup! The syrup will be good to have on hand for many things, especially when summer comes around; we usually end up buying a few bottles of good organic lemonade at the store because it looks so tempting, and the syrup will be a good substitute.