Friday, May 13, 2011
Meyer Lemon Liquor
This past February after receiving a wonderful bunch of lemons from the Lemon Ladies Orchard I decided to get going on the project. I started researching recipes. I wanted something spectacular, not just a lemon flavored vodka. There are a lot of quick Limoncello recipes out there and I wasn't really sold on any of them. Pretty much all the recipes called for adding water to the mix. Our water isn't the greatest and I didn't want to muck up the recipe. I thought about using bottled water, but then it struck me; why not use lemon juice? The problem was that the juice doesn't get used until 30 days in. So, I froze the juice for 30 days or so. Then used it instead of water for the simple syrup.
I kept forgetting to strain mine, so the time between step 3 and 4 was a lot more than 30 days. I wasn't too worried about it though as I had been extremely diligent in scraping all the pith off the lemon peels to avoid any hint of bitter flavor. The final result is beautiful. The flavor is just the right amount of sweet, with no bitterness at all. The thing is with all the changes I made to the recipe, I'm not really certain that what I made is actually Limoncello. Not really sure what the exact requirements are, so just to be safe I am going to call it Lemon Liquor. I can't wait for the first hot summer day to break into that chilled bottle waiting for me in the fridge.
Meyer Lemon Liquor
20 Meyer Lemons
2 750ml bottles of vodka
2-3 cups sugar
Remove the lemon peel from all of the lemons, make sure you are not including the white pith. The pith will make your final product bitter. I found it easier to remove the peel in large segments with a potato peeler and then use a small paring knife to scrape the pith off the back. Juice the lemons and strain the juice through a fine mesh strainer. Place juice in a freezer contain and set in freezer for step 2. Place the peel in a large glass container, about one gallon size. Add one 750ml bottle vodka, cover, and place in a cool dark place for at least 30 days. Take the jar out and give it a good shake every 4-6 days.
The day before you plan to move on to step 3, remove frozen Meyer Lemon juice from freezer and place in refrigerator.
After 30 days; measure Meyer Lemon juice and place in medium saucepan and add equal amount sugar. Bring to a light boil making sure all the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool. Add cooled lemon syrup and second bottle of vodka to the jar with the lemon peel. Cover and put back in cool dark place for at least another 30 days.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth. Place lemon liquor in jars to store. Keep one jar in the fridge for sipping and the others can be kept in a cool dark place until ready to use.