Drink Diary: Limoncello Wrap-Up


Limoncello Trio

12-week, Imported, and 4-day Limoncellos

Going into this experiment I was a little wary of ending up with several bottles of undrinkable drek. After all, 12 weeks is a long time to spend on something that you might not even like!

The plan (to refresh all of our memories) was to make 2 batches of Limoncello–one that used the 12-week method suggested over at Limoncello Quest and the other than used the quickie method that every other recipe on the Internet seemed to use. I chronicled each week in pictures, something–anything!–to keep me from forgetting about this project and tossing it out when discovered, ages later.

Based on I don’t know what, exactly, that things that take longer have to be better?, I figured the 12-week Limoncello would far surpass that made in a weekend. That it would be smoother, more mellow, and overall better than the quickie version.

Y’all? You’re not going to believe this.

The 12-week Limoncello had some serious bite. It has the right texture/mouth-feel–silky and smooth. The color is darker than the “real” Limoncello we’d purchased at the liquor store, so that gave me pause. But I wasn’t prepared for the burn at the end of each sip, a sharpness at the back of the throat.

Going into tasting the 4-day Limoncello, then, I was scared.

Keep in mind, folks, this stuff is made with 151-proof Everclear. Not something one would drink straight under normal circumstances. If the 12-week Limoncello had teeth, I was afraid the 4-day Limoncello wasn’t even going to be worth cooking with!

It’s strong, no question, but the bite? Barely even a bark.

What. The. Hell?

Now, don’t misunderstand, it’s not as mellow and smooth as the store-bought Limoncello but it’s pretty darn close.

Grace? Gotta week? You can have all the Limoncello your heart desires!

Seriously, folks, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

After some reflection, and a day to get over the shock, I started to think about the mechanics. The idea is to remove the oils from the zest and fuse them with the alcohol base. One of the quickie recipes did mention that it was important to use a high-proof alcohol because it would strip those oils faster.

If that’s true, could the 12-week version work better if I’d used an 80-proof vodka instead of the Everclear? I’m not sure. The one thing I do know is that there’s not really much of a reason to wait 12 weeks when a single one will produce 2 bottles of very drinkable Limoncello.

Looks like the 12-week will be the one relegated to cooking!

10 thoughts on “Drink Diary: Limoncello Wrap-Up

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  4. My first batch is not bad! I’m kind of proud of myself. I didn’t do the 12-week version. I’m too impatient. I let the lemon peels marinate for 3 weeks, but the recipe I used (off the Internet) didn’t call for everclear. I’m going to try again as soon as a I have a new batch of ripe lemons on my tree.

    1. Excellent! I don’t blame you for doing a shorter infusion–12 weeks is a long time to wait around for lemony goodness.

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