Saturday, March 3, 2012

Booze of the Week 2: Límon, or Lemon Liqueur

For mad scientists who keep brains in jars, here's a tip: why not add a slice of lemon to each jar, for freshness? – Jack Handy

Límon Liqueur, the best lemonade you'll ever have...
First I want to state that this is not limoncello. It has only about 2/3 the alcohol content, but it doesn’t make it any less delicious, or dangerous…

This is the lemon drained from the infusion before
making the simple syrup.
Limoncello is an Italian liqueur commercially produced in the south of that country, although it is now made at home in all parts of the world. The making of limoncello has been done for at least a century, if not longer.

Limoncello is traditionally made by extracting the essential oils from lemon rind in spirits. For home producers, vodka is the alcohol of choice. The alcohol content of real limoncello hovers somewhere around 30% alc. vol. and is always served chilled.

Our local liquor distributor sells two brands here in Nova Scotia, Luxardo and Rossi d'Asiago, both imported from Italy. There are many other producers as well.

My version, which tastes like exceptionally good lemonade (hence the danger), comes in somewhere around 20%. That’s still nothing to sneeze at, so treat it with respect.

Most recipes for homemade limoncello call for the rind of 8 or more lemons. At the height of the season, or if you own a lemon tree, that may not be too costly. In the dead of winter at the grocery it’s a different story. So can you make a substitute with fewer lemons?

Yes, you can. My solution is diabolical in its simplicity. Use both the rind and the pulp – and not only in the infusion but also in the simple syrup. That makes for a double whammy of tart deliciousness. There’s lots of additional lemon flavour that can be extracted using that method. It worked so well I'm going to do it again in another liqueur I have "cooking" right now: blood orange and coffee. (Come back in a few days to see the end result!)

I find limoncello a bit on the tart side and quite strong, as one would assume at 30% alc. vol., chilled or not. This version is sweeter but still packs a strong lemony punch.

This would be fantastic to add to lemonade, or lemonade and vodka, or even in a lemon martini. It has excellent taste!

Límon Liqueur
Time: 2 weeks  |  Makes 2 x 375 ml, plus a healthy glass to “test”
Using the lemon in the simple syrup yielded a very
lemony yellow liquid and added a lot of lemon flavour.
3 lemons
375 ml vodka
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Grate the rind from the lemons. Cut the remaining part into 1/4” slices.

Place the rind and lemon slices in a 1 L Mason jar. Pour the vodka over the top, seal well and shake vigorously.

Let the infusion sit for 2 weeks. During that time shake vigorously whenever you think about it.

At the end of the steeping period, strain the lemon from the vodka through fine cotton cloth. Don’t throw the rind and pulp away.

Place the pulp and rind in a saucepan. Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and let boil for 5 minutes. Strain the syrup though cloth.

Add the vodka and syrup together and bottle.

This really tastes like lemonade! I know you’ll enjoy it.


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