Hey! It’s time for MxMo V: The One With the Whales, this month hosted by hosted by Jonathan at Jiggle the Handle. So grab a bowl of lemons, tart yourself up, and strap in: Look at the lemons/See how they juice for you/And everything you do/Yeah they were all yellow…
Having become an avid reader of the Fine Spirits and Cocktails forum on eGullet, I came across a thread recently about limoncello. Forum reg. Katie Loeb posted to the thread, describing the techniques involved, and I started jonesin’ to make my own. But when I first saw the thread, Jen and I were in the midst of planning our cocktail party, coming up with the menu, and gathering the various spirits and other ingredients.
Finally, I came home with a dozen lemons and a bottle of high-proof Stoli. Coincidentally, the same day I brought home the stuff, I got the latest issue of Imbibe magazine, which had a photo essay (with text by Paul Clarke), showing how to make limoncello.
With two good sources in front of me, I broke out the Microplane, zested the hell outta a dozen lemons (and one lime), and soaked the gratings in the rocket-fuel voddy.
And, hooboy, did it ever smell like rocket fuel in those first few days! I steeped it for about 20 days before straining it, adding more vodka, and pouring in some simple syrup. I let that sit for another week–some of it in a nice bottle and some back in the original jar.
Sunday, I finally uncorked the bottle and had a taste. Strong vodka in the nose as I sniffed a snifter of warm limoncello, but not so much vodka on the tongue. When we had it chilled later that evening, we neither smelled nor tasted vodka.
I mixed two cocktails with the limoncello. The first was a Sidecar/sour variation, which I’m calling a Lemon Cart.
- 1½ oz. cognac
- 1 oz. limoncello
- ½ oz. lime juice
- Lemon twist, for garnish
Technique: Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Add garnish.
I think Jen liked this more than I did. I thought it was perhaps a bit sweet. I thought about adding a dash of Regan’s orange bitters to spice it up a bit. Next time…
Despite the hot weather, I was also grilling Sunday, so we were outside and needed refreshment. So for my next trick, I tried a Lemon Cooler.
- 2 oz. gin
- 2 oz. limoncello
- juice of half a lime
- Lime wedge, for garnish
Technique: Build in a tall glass. Stir, top off with tonic water, and add garnish.
Our final limoncello test was old-school: straight and chilled. Well, not quite straight. Our freezer is packed full of food and ice trays, so there’s no real room, alas, to store a bottle of limoncello–not even a small bottle. I served it on the rocks, using the nice chunky ice cubes you can get with those silicone trays. I’d still love to try it straight from the freezer.