Limoncello – Part 3

by Chris on June 27, 2012

Limoncello So it’s been about two months since my last addition of extra lemon zest to the limoncello. The extra zest and additional two months made a big difference in the lemony intensity. Tasting it straight it’s still really strong, like a strong lemon extract, but the sharper edges from the Everclear have started to round out a bit.

So it looked like it was time to strain the zest out. I am still really amazed at how clear this batch turned out. The two previous attempts I’ve made at limoncello resulted in a really cloudy solution that I never did get properly strained. That is definitely not an issue with this batch. In fact, I had a tough time getting a photo of the jar that showed the deep lemon-yellow color the liquid had become. It was so transparent that it took a lot of fiddling with the lighting angle to get it to hit it just right for the camera to pick it up.

I didn’t have a kitchen funnel large enough to handle a batch this size, so I decided to use my new Chemex coffee maker. The 6 cup coffee maker turned out to be the perfect size. The Chemex filters are slightly thicker than a normal coffee filter so I figured that would help as well to keep any fine particulates from getting into jar.

Filtering limoncello

After filtering that left me with just over 5 cups of liquid. The next step was to dilute and sweeten it. I made a batch of simple syrup by just taking equal parts of white sugar and water, bringing to a boil for two minutes, and then cooling. How much to add is sort of a matter of taste. I had added a bit of 80 proof vodka to the original batch because the bottle of Everclear wasn’t quite enough to fill the jug. So that brought the alcohol content down slightly. I ended up adding just under 3 cups of simple syrup solution to bring it up to about 8 cups total. I opted to keep it a little less sweet than I might want it in the end, figuring I could add a little more after it’s had a couple of months to mellow in the bottle. I’m guessing the 3 cups of simple syrup might have brought the limoncello down to around 100 proof – still pretty strong, but definitely more palatable than the straight lemony Everclear.

Filtered limoncello

Limoncello with simple syrup

Bottled limoncello I had been wondering what would happen when I added the simple syrup. The liquid before adding it in was so clear I was worried it wouldn’t get that bright yellow color that limoncello should have. Obviously there was nothing to worry about. It brightened up as soon as the syrup hit it.

I had enough to fill two 750ml bottles with a bit left over. As an experiment, I took the left over amount and added it to another jar with a vanilla bean. I’m not sure where that idea came from, but a vanilla limoncello sounded intriguing.  I’ll leave the bottles alone for a couple months and give it a taste taste then. From my previous batches it seems they continue mellowing for at least 6 months, so I’ll try to keep track of how these change.

In the mean time, it might be time to start another batch.

Bottled limoncello

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