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!

Limoncello, Week 12


Oh, well, another week of nothing doing on the Drink Diary and–

Wait. What was that? It’s week 12? We’re finished?!

Well, almost, there’s a little finishing up that’s needed:

Limoncello, Week 12

Limoncello, Week 12

First we had to strain and filter the Limoncello to remove the zest and anything else that might be hanging around in there other than deliciously-flavored alcohol.

Starting with a fine-mesh strainer over a large measuring pitcher or bowl, pour the Limoncello through the strainer. I did this twice (mostly because I bounced the strainer and a few pieces of zest got back into the mix, but whatever). Return the de-zested liquid back to the container.

Then, line the strainer with a coffee filter (this one for a 4-cup machine fit perfectly inside my strainer) and slowly pour the Limoncello through it again, this time getting out any sediment that may have settled.

Two things I noticed:

  1. One coffee filter was good for about half a batch (or one 750mL bottle’s worth) of straining.
  2. After the initial 300-400 mL have strained, the filter needs a little help. Swirling the mixture around, gently, seems to help–the sediment moves around and doesn’t stop the clean liquid from passing.

Fingertips really are best for this–much easier to tell if you’re about to snag your filter and have to start all over again–just wash your hands well before starting. Granted, even diluted we’re still dealing with some decent-proof alcohol, here, so not much is going to stand a chance.

You can strain this multiple times if you’ve got the patience. I’ve never been so strong on that, myself, so I just gave it one good filtering and bottled it.

Now it’s going to hang out in the chest freezer for a week before we sample it. After 84 days, I suppose we can last 7 more!

Also, this week, we started our quickie batch. I’m giving it 2 nights of just the Everclear and zest and will add the sugar syrup on night 3, give it a full day then strain, filter, bottle and chill.

With 4 bottles of Limoncello soon to be in my possession (plus the bottle we purchased from the liquor store)… whatever will we do? 😉

Limoncello, Week 11

Limoncello, Week 11

Limoncello, Week 11

Almost there, friends!

Only 1 more week until we strain out the zest and any other impurities that may have formed over the course of our 12-week odyssey.

I can hardly stand it!

We’re still 2 weeks, minimum, from our first official tasting, though. Still, so close!

I’m honestly amazed that I might actually finish a project that would have been so easy to just forget about–it’s reason to celebrate on it’s own!

Limoncello, Week 10

Limoncello, Week 10

Limoncello, Week 10

Color-wise we’re back to where we were before adding the sugar syrup–the mixture seems to have lost it’s murkiness and is back to a dark yellow color.

Two weeks until straining! I’ve read that it’s even better after a week to sit and mellow, so 3 weeks until the official tasting.

It’s so close… I can almost taste it!

Limoncello, Week 9

Limoncello, Week 9

Limoncello, Week 9

And we’re back to the land of no changes.

I wanted to check the surface of the infusion for any schmutz (there was none) so I removed the lid and plastic wrap. I am pleased to report that the mixture no longer smells like floor cleaner! This is great news as it means the mixture is mellowing out.

All signs point towards drinkability but it’ll be 3 weeks before we know for sure.