Meyer lemon limoncello ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

06 March 2013

Meyer lemon limoncello

homemade meyer lemon limoncello

It's happening.

You guys know we have a meyer lemon tree in the backyard. Our next-door neighbors also have a standard lemon tree that overhangs our driveway, and they've urged us repeatedly to take as many as we like. So what I'm saying is: we have some lemons around.

So last week I grabbed ten lemons and set out to make some limoncello.

Limoncello is really easy to make. It mostly takes patience, which admittedly is not necessarily the easiest thing when you want to drink delightful lemon liqueur NOW. I find that it helps to bury your limoncello-in-process behind your other bottles of liqueur, or to tuck it into the highest cabinet in the house. That way it's easier to forget it's there and let it age appropriately.

homemade meyer lemon limoncello

Meyer lemon limoncello

10 unwaxed meyer lemons
1 quart 80 proof vodka
simple syrup

Zest your lemons, being careful not to include the bitter white pith. You don't need some fancy zester for this. I used my vegetable peeler, which is at least 25 years old, and it worked very well.

Put all your zest in a clean quart canning jar or other reasonable jar of your choice. You should have enough to fill the jar about halfway full, depending on the size of your lemons. Pour your vodka over your lemon zest, up to the top of the jar. Lid the jar and put it in a dark cabinet.

For the next week or two, steep your limoncello. I let mine steep for about ten days, but you can go longer or shorter if you prefer. Shake the jar every time you think about it--every few days will be fine.

When you're done steeping, strain out your peels. I find a canning funnel to be very helpful at this stage of the proceedings. Quart jar, canning funnel, strainer. You may need to strain your limoncello a second time, using a coffee filter, paper towel, or fine nylon sieve, to get out the tiniest bits of sediment.

Sweeten your limoncello to taste with simple syrup. I'd recommend starting with about 1/3 cup of syrup for a quart of liqueur, especially since meyer lemons are already so sweet. The act of adding sugar is what takes this from a schnapps (i.e. a basic infused vodka) to a liqueur, incidentally.

Now lid your jar, put it in the cupboard, and try to forget about it for at least a month or so. Give it some time to age. The more time you give it, the smoother and more delightful your limoncello will be.

When you're ready, drink your limoncello. It works well as a single aperitif or as the main ingredient in a really serious lemon drop. Obviously, limoncello is a drink made for summer, so try not to drink it all before it gets warm. Sweet refreshing lemon under the hot August sun? yes, please.

homemade meyer lemon limoncello

Simple syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Heat your sugar and water together on the stovetop, swirling the pan from time to time. When the sugar has dissolved completely, your syrup is done. Put it in a jar and let it cool completely (unlidded) before using.

You can keep simple syrup in the refrigerator for a good month or so. It's especially nice to have on hand when you want a classic sour, such as the Fitzgerald.

Last year's batch of limoncello was 100% standard lemons. This batch is 100% meyer. We have, of course, drunk the entire older batch already. So I may start a second standard lemon batch, and maybe even a mixed batch, so we can do a tasting and comparison in a few months. And maybe a couple more batches made with all the other citrus I can get my hands on...

How are you using the end-of-season citrus? Anyone else making liqueurs?

16 comments:

Sarah said...

This sounds great. I may try it with grapefruit?

Eileen said...

Yes! Grapefruit was definitely on my list too. ALL THE CITRUS!

Michelle said...

So many lemons!!

mvmaithai said...

You Californians are so lucky to have Meyer lemons in your backyards. This past January, I bought a box of a dozen Meyer lemons for a mere 99 cents at Sams. I couldn't believe the price! Anyway, I scrambled to find a recipe to use the lemons. Martha Steward's Meyer Lemon coffee cake did the trick. Next time, I'll try this, as I also love limoncello...

Caz said...

This sounds delicious. I've never tried making limoncello before. Another great idea for using citrus. I like the sound of a grapefruit one too. This is going to be perfect for hot summer days!

Jes said...

I love your liqueur making posts! I have yet to make my own, but, mmm, that limoncello looks amazing. Wish I lived in citrus country!

Eileen said...

Hey, if you don't live in citrus country, it's ok--you can always just go get some of the best local fruit, whatever it may be, and get cracking. I picture western VA with lots of gnarled old apple trees...

cheffingit said...

Oh wow! I've never thought of making my own lemoncello, but what a great idea! Now my mind is running away with all kinds of uses for it. :D

Monet said...

Now if only I had a neighbor with a citrus tree! We've had the most pathetic looking lemons at the grocery store lately, but as soon as I see some good ones, this would be fun to make (and give to a friend!) Thank you for sharing!

Eva Kosmas said...

Ohhhhh! I have some limoncello and orangecello brewing in my cupboard right now too! Yours looks much more vibrant than mine, looking back I think I should have bought some more of each fruit so I had more peels. But I think it'll be okay if I just let them stew extra-long. Yours sounds so tasty, it is making me excited to try some in the cupboard! But like you said, it takes patience. Alas, I must be a patient lady for the moment :/

Ruthy @ omeletta said...

Love it! We always have a batch of limoncello in the fridge, it's perfect for pretending were still in college and "pre-gaming" before a night out. (we're grownups!) I love the idea of Meyer limoncello- was it sweeter than limoncello made with lemons?

Marissa | Pinch and Swirl said...

We make limoncello every year for holiday gifts. How has it never occurred to me to use Meyer lemons? Yum, yum!

Joanne said...

i SO wish I had a surplus of meyers around! I bet this limoncello is extra delicious because of them!

Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez said...

Oh, I'm actually getting ready to make limoncello this week!!! I have all sorts of liqueur plans for the near future. Coffee liqueur being one... Love the sound of meyer limoncello ;)

adriennefriend said...

Beautiful recipe. I love making anise liqueur and using it in my recipes, like a fennel soup I really need to post. I'd love to have Meyer lemon trees in my backyard, but at least I can get them at the farmer's market for not too terribly expensive? Bah. :-)

Eileen said...

Hooray for liqueurs! You guys are giving me such great ideas--anise liqueur? Genius. And I don't know why I haven't harvested a bunch of our oranges to start an orangecello too.