The Four-Citrus Limoncello Experiment, Part II

A few days ago, I posted Part I of the Four-Citrus Limoncello Experiment. As I had hoped, the method that I used – using both finely zested peels and fresh squeezed juices – allowed me create a delicious liqueur in less time than the traditional method of making Limoncello. The addition of other flavors other than lemon – grapefruit, orange, and lime – was just for fun. The recipe, posted at the bottom, makes a liqueur which is both sweet and tart, like a traditional Limoncello; and like a traditional Limoncello is slightly viscous. The flavor, however, is a bit mellower, making it very easy to sip. I was in a hurry to produce this batch because I want to use it to make a Limoncello Sorbet to serve between courses at Christmas dinner. Oh, yum, I can hardly wait!

Limoncello2

Since I used finely grated zests, rather than large pieces of peels, and also included juices from the citrus fruits, I wasn’t sure for how long I was going to have to let the liqueur infuse. When I tasted it this morning, which was 3.5 days after starting the batch, I was very happy with the results. I tried to strain it through a coffee filter, but was barely able to get enough liqueur to fill the glass that I wanted to use for photos; so I resorted to straining it several times through a very fine mesh strainer which seemed to work well.

Limoncello3

Four-Citrus Limoncello

(Makes about 1.75 quarts)

(1) Wash and dry: 

• 6 lg. lemons,

• 2 lg. oranges,

• 2 lg. limes, and

• 1/2 lg. grapefruit.

(2) Zest the fruits, removing just the colored portion of the skin, leaving the white pith behind. (Use a microplane grater to zest lemons, oranges and limes. Use a sharp paring knife to cut the zest from the grapefruit, then chop the grapefruit zest.) Combine and measure the zest from the fruits. You should have about 3/4 c. of zest, packed down.

(3) Juice the fruits and strain out the pulp out before measuring. You should have about 2 1/2 c. of juice remaining.

(4) Combine the zest and juice with:

• 2 c. granulated white sugar.

(5) Divide juice mixture evenly between two 1-quart mason jars. Top off jars with:

• 3 3/4 c. 80-proof vodka ( 1 3/4 c. + 2 T. per jar).

(6) Shake well. Place jars in a freezer. Shake jars every day and taste a spoonful of the liqueur to determine when you have achieved the desired flavor. This should be about 3 – 4 days. Strain Limoncello through a very fine strainer into clean glass container(s). Store in the freezer until serving. Salute!

Several people  kindly sent Limoncello links to me after the first post.

Giadia di Laurentiis’ recipe, which also requires just a few days.

Nostrana’s recipe, which involves suspending whole lemons above the alcohol to be infused.

Happy Holidays!

Limoncello1

The Four-Citrus Limoncello Experiment, Part I

I’ve been wanting to make Limoncello for a few weeks now, and finally made a point of doing it today. I decided to make a four citrus variation, which I have never made before. Here is the backstory. One year I decided to make a mixed-citrus marmalade for my maternal grandmother for Christmas. I purchased all of the fruits, sliced them oh so thinly and then cooked the marmalade, only to have the sugar burn just before the marmalade gelled. So, I tried it again the next day, with the same results. This was so disappointing because I had used all of that fruit and it smelled so incredibly good on the stove. So, I went to the library and did some research. I looked up every marmalade recipe I could find and it turned out that the recipe I was using – one that I had gotten out of a magazine – called for way too much water. By that point, I totally lost my interest in making marmalade for that year. But ever since, I have loved this combination of fruits and think about my grandmother whenever I use it. Hence, I decided to experiment with this combination for a limoncello variation.

Image

Most limoncello recipes direct one to add zest to alcohol, allow to macerate, strain, mix with simple syrup and then continue to age the product. I have recently come across several, however, which call for adding sugar and fruit juice at the beginning, and omitting the simple syrup at the end. Out of curiosity, I am giving this a try and am hopeful that it shall work fine.  However, I decided to hold off on sharing the recipe until I know the timing and the results for certain. I wouldn’t want you to have the experience with this limoncello that I had with the marmalade. I have read that adding juice to the recipe can make the limoncello sour – that one just wants the essential oils from the lemon peel; but so far my concotion tastes wonderful and it hasn’t even been infusing for any length of time yet. Maybe the trick will be to serve it sooner. Be patient and keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

……………..

Have you made limoncello? Do you have a favorite recipe, variation, method or story to share?

 

Little Apple Manhattan Cocktails

We had fun entertaining over Thanksgiving. One of the cocktails that we served was a Little Apple Manhattan. Since several people asked for the recipe*, I decided to share it. Happy Holidays!

Image

Little Apple Manhattan*

2 oz. Four Roses Bourbon

3/4 oz Travis Hasse’s Apple Pie Liqueur

1/2 oz. Vya Sweet Vermouth

dash Angostura Bitters

apple slices

maraschino cherry

Place a few cubes of ice in an old-fashioned glass. Add bourbon, liqueurs and bitters. Stir well. Garnish with apple slices and a cherry. Cheers!

* This is based on Travis Hasse’s The Big Apple; but since Manhattan, Kansas is known as The Little Apple, I couldn’t resist changing the name.

Old-Fashioned Cocktail and Brandied Cherries

Recently, several people have asked me to post another cocktail recipe. So, friends, if anyone is planning to host a cocktail party, here is a classic …

OldFashioned2

Old-Fashioned Cocktail

• 1 cube of sugar

• 3 – 4 drops Angostura bitters (traditional in this cocktail) or Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters (also very good)

• 1 – 2 brandied cherries

• 1 orange slice or lemon slice

• ice

• 2 oz. good bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve)

• 1 oz. cold water, optional

Place sugar cube in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass and then splash with bitters. Add 1 cherry and orange or lemon slice. Muddle ingredients together in bottom of glass.  Fill glass halfway with ice.  Add bourbon and, if a  lighter drink is desired, water.  Stir before serving to mix and chill drink and to make sure that sugar is dissolved. If desired, plop another cherry in the cocktail. Cheers!

Brandied Cherries

• 1 1/4 c. fresh cherries that have been washed and pitted (or frozen dark sweet cherries if fresh aren’t available)

• 1/4 c. granulated white sugar

• 1/4 c. water

• 1/2 t. fresh lemon or lime zest

• dash of ground cinnamon

• pinch of ground nutmeg

• pinch of ground cardamom

1/4 c. good brandy

Place all of the ingredients, except the brandy,  in a medium-sized saucepan. Gently stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes or until liquid is thick and syrupy. Remove from heat. Stir in brandy. Transfer to a clean glass jar. Refrigerate uncovered until cool, then tightly seal jar. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Wild Daylily Gin & Tonics

Image

After working in the garden much of the day yesterday, I made Wild Daylily Gin & Tonics to celebrate the first day of summer.  Here’s to summer!

Wild Daylily Gin & Tonics

The blooms in these summery cocktails are edible and are meant to be eaten. They taste like cucumbers and are easiest to eat starting from the stem end.

Gin

Tonic Water

Lemon Slices

Hemerocallis fulva Blooms (See note below.)

(1) Pick fresh Hemerocallis fulva blooms. Remove and discard the pollen covered tips from the stamens. Gently wash blooms in cold water. 

(2) For each G&T, fill a tall tumbler about 3/4 full of ice. Add lemon slices. Fill about 1/3 of the way with gin then top off with tonic. Gently stir. Place a daylily in the top. Enjoy! 

Note: Do not eat true lilies or use them as garnishes. True lilies – plants in the lillium family (e.g. Easter Lilies, Asiatic Lilies, Oriental Lilies, etc.) – are poisonous. Daylilies are not true lilies. Ones of the wild variety are edible, though occasionally someone is allergic to them. Hemerocallis fulva – wild daylilies – are the only daylilies recommended for eating because, given the many different hybridized cultivars out there, it is possible that some one or another could make a person sick. Wild daylilies, the tall orange ones that are often seen growing wild along the side of country roads, are edible. I grow them in my garden and use the blooms to garnish beverages and salads. I haven’t tried eating the tubers, but I have read in several places that sauteed wild daylily tubers are quite tasty.

There are a number of articles available on cooking with daylilies. Here are a few links:

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Eat the Weeds

Organic Valley

Image

 

Toasting Mothers with a Bellini

A toast to all of the wonderful mothers out there … especially mine! Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12th!

Bellini

Fill a Champagne glass about 1/3 of the way with chilled peach nectar*, then top off with chilled Champagne. Enjoy!

* If you can’t find peach nectar, try fresh or frozen peaches pureed with a little peach juice, or use peach sorbet for a sweeter cocktail. Another variation is to add a splash of Peach Schnapps and a little lemon juice before the Champagne. 

Image

Image

Raspberry Mint Julep

Mint Julep is the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, and yet, despite its renown, is not widely popular apart from Derby celebrations.  Though it is refreshingly cold and steeped with tradition, the flavors of this classic cocktail (Bourbon, mint, and sugar) are just – to some palates – not very well rounded. Having read that some bars are experimenting with variations on the Mint Julep, I decided to try my own creation – a Raspberry Mint Julep. The addition of raspberry mutes the mint slightly and blends well with the rich flavor of Bourbon. I think this pleasant cocktail could be served for almost any warm weather occasion. Let me know what you think!

2 oz. Woodford Reserve or other good Bourbon

1 oz. Raspicello or other good raspberry liqueur

5 mint leaves, plus leaves for garnish

5 raspberries, plus one for garnish

1 t. sugar

shaved ice

In a chilled Mint Julep cup or highball glass, muddle together mint leaves, raspberries and sugar. Add Bourbon and raspberry liqueur. Fill cup/glass with shaved ice, top with a Boston shaker, and shake well. Garnish with raspberry and mint leaves. Enjoy!

Note: Mint Juleps are traditionally served in a chilled, beaded silver cup and held with a napkin around the base.

Image