I’ve always wanted to make limoncello. My husband and I enjoy after dinner drinks like port, sherry and limoncello and thought it would be nice to have a homemade selection of the latter in the freezer for guests or just an icy cold nip. I finally found my chance when I found key limes at Iovine’s. I picked up a bag (not inexpensive at $4.99,) tossing it into my basket with thoughts of key lime cheesecake. A few feet down the aisle, I happened upon blood oranges on sale–3 for a dollar. That’s my kind of citrus sale! I grabbed about 10 of them and the wheels started spinning. We’ve had excess vodka in our house for ages–the only alcohol left over from our wedding that we didn’t drink ourselves. After the homemade vanilla and those Sex and the City drinks (what are they called? Cosmos?) I made for my best friend’s bachelorette party we still had vodka to burn.
I perused the internet and found a variety of recipes. All of them started with peeling the citrus and soaking it in 750ml of vodka for four days to one month. I thought I would get more flavor by zesting the fruit. I will not do that in the future. Have you ever tried to zest key limes? Do it. Then you will know why I will never do it again. Beautiful color and scent though.
A month later I opened up the containers to a beautiful, rich orange and green.
I made a quick simple syrup of 2 1/2 cups of sugar and 3 1/2 cups of water (per 750ml vodka) Check it out simmering away.
Once the simple syrup cooled, I combined it with the vodka/citrus mixture and let it sit overnight. Then the fun began. Because I decided to finely zest the peel, it was impossible to strain the mixture–I had to do it about three different times. At some point during that process I remembered that my mesh sieve had mysteriously gone missing and had to fun out to Fante’s (poor me) to pick up a new one. I also grabbed a funnel because that walked too. Oh, and some pretty bottles because limoncello (well, key lime and blood orange ‘cello) can only be served in pretty bottles.
The straining process took a long, long time.
Did I mention it took a long time? Eventually I finished and poured it into my pretty bottles.
Each 750ml bottle of vodka gave me enough for one of those big bottles, two smaller bottles and a taste for my husband and myself. The color has subsided in the fridge a bit and the ‘cello is awfully sweet–I prefer the tang of the key lime–but it’s been fun to break out the bottle for recent special occasions like my mother’s birthday or my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s visit.