Saturday, December 26, 2009

Limoncello Redux

Well, I was unsatisfied with the quality of the ingredients for the batch I started a couple weeks ago. This is meant to be a birthday present for my Dad so it needs to be the best.

My friend Nicole sent me a facebook message the other day that a local grocery had gotten in some organic meyer lemons. I was there within an hour picking through the pile (and leaving no decent ones for Nicole!). I stopped by their liquor counter to see if they had the better 100 proof vodka and - lo and behold - 190 proof Everclear! Seems my info about not being able to get that in New Mexico was just plain wrong.

Yesterday, while waiting for my holiday carne adovada to cook, I started zesting the lemons. I didn't have another wide mouth jar big enough but it turned out to be fairly easy to poke the big pieces of zest through the mouth of a gallon jug.

Here's the thing, though. Meyer lemons, while quite nice, just don't smell as good to me as the regular lemons. I think I recall reading that they are a cross between a lemon and an orange. Sounds like a good thing but in practice, maybe not. I didn't like the juice as well either. I will say they were a lot easier to zest with the vegetable peeler. The skin isn't nearly as tough and the shape was also easier to handle.

Everclear is looking like it might just live up to it's rep for limoncello. After 24 hours, the color of the Everclear is as yellow as the vodka is after 2 weeks. Of course, it's twice as much volume of vodka so it may be illusion but I don't think so.

So the new plan is to eventually blend the two batches. Doing that, I can use the Everclear batch to boost the alcohol content of the vodka batch. I will keep them separate all the way through sweetening for comparison purposes. With a big disparity in alcohol content, I don't think a side-by-side taste test will work but a side-by-side aroma test ought to tell me something. Then, if I decide not to blend, I can just dilute the Everclear batch down to a more palatable level. I think I should shoot for an ABV of about 45%. That shouldn't go slushy in the freezer.

Boy, you'd think the only thing on my mind was alcoholic beverages. I'm sure my mind will turn to other things after I have a nip of this Bailey's a professor gave me.


  1. knowing this, i will have to bring home a bottle. i've found that it is no rarity here in italy, is it in the states?

    here's hoping it turns out well!

  2. Yep! Not terribly common and fairly pricey besides. Bring home the good stuff to your Mom! Mine is pretty good already and I may not be able to stay out of it until it mellows.