How do you make Limoncello, the best Limoncello recipe?
Limoncello and Limoncello recipe are all the buzz at the moment. Everyone who has been to Italy is talking about buying the best Limoncello, making limoncello and drinking limoncello. There are many myths about how to make Limoncello, some good and some bad.
First of all you need to understand the essence of making Limoncello. Limoncello requires only a few ingredients, but it is these ingredients and how they come together that distinguishes a good Limoncello from an average one. Don Giovanni Limoncello is made to an authentic Italian Limoncello recipe.
The key ingredient in Limoncello is the lemon. You need a good quality lemon with a thick skin. The lemon used in Italy is the Sorrento lemon. Sorrento lemons and variations of this lemon are found around the world and many back yards in Australia are probably growing a variety of Sorrento lemon.
The reason that Limoncello needs a thick-skinned lemon is that only the skin or peel of the lemon is used. You can use a zester or peel the lemon with a sharp knife. It is important that you only remove the peel, if you cut into the pith you have gone to deep. The pith is the white layer under the skin and if this is used the limoncello will have a bitter aftertaste.
Once you have zested your lemons you need to soak the peel in pure alcohol, 96.6% food grade ethanol, 1 litre to 10 lemons is a good mix. In Australia, pure alcohol can only be sourced by manufacturers that hold an excise license with the ATO. The excise tax on alcohol is over $84.00 per litre as at August 2018. Some Limoncello recipe suggest that you can make Limoncello using Vodka, but Vodka is only 40% alcohol and is not strong enough to extract the flavour from the peel to make a good Limoncello. The next part is to leave the lemon peel and pure alcohol sit for at least 10 days so that the flavours from the peel are extracted.
The next stage is to strain the peel from the alcohol and blend with sugar syrup. Sugar syrup is simple to make, 1 kg of white sugar to 2 litres of water. Boil the water and sugar until it is completely dissolved. Allow to cool, when it is warm say 50 degrees Celsius blend with the alcohol. I like to use glass jars to let the mix sit for another 10 days.
The last stage is to filter the mix into bottles. I would use a nylon stocking, preferably a new one, stretched over a funnel. This will catch any bits of lemon that found their way into the mix.
This mix will create a product that will be between 30-32% alcohol by volume. Place your bottle in the freezer for at least 2 hours before drinking. At this level of alcohol the bottle can remain in the freezer for storage. The liquid will not freeze and will pour into a shot glass to provide the perfect digestive. Don Giovanni Limoncello is made in the western suburbs of Melbourne and produces the highest quality limoncello.