I'm thinking of making my own limoncello tonight after reading about it in the papers.
What brand vodka do you suggest to use?
How long should I steep the zest in the vodka it? Should I keep it in the fridge or in the basement?
Thanks for any other input.
I don't know if my technique is "right", but I just used regular vodka. I know that most recipes call for something that's higher proof, but I was lazy and that's what I had around after a party. I made three different kinds - one with regular lemons, one with limes, and one with Meyer lemons, and left the zest in the vodka for anywhere from 2-4 weeks, in a dark cupboard in my kitchen. I don't know how hot your kitchen gets, but since it was November-December (in LA) when I made my limoncellos, my kitchen was pretty cool. Perhaps more experienced people out there can specify a better answer, but I think your basement would be fine.
I use Smirnoff's 100 proof vodka. Some people prefer Everclear if you can get it. I let my limoncello sit either on the counter or in my pantry for 40 days, then add the simple syrup and other bottle of vodka, then let it sit for 40 days more. There are recipes that require less time - I just think you get a much better flavor the longer it sits.
I have made cello(both lemon and blood orange) the past three years. I found this recipe on egullet. for limoncello I used 12 organic lemons and one lime. used a microplane zester to zest all citrus and combined it with 100 proof vodka. let it sit for 6 wks in a cool dry place then strained it and mixed it with 80 proof vodka. and let it sit 6 more weeks. at this point I put it in the freezer for a few days and then use it in all kinds of drinks. Some add simple syrup and let it sit some more. I prefer to as the syrup to my drink as needed. Of the ones I have made the bload orange is the best. I've used tried smirnoff and absolut, noted no improvement from the pricier absolut
I always do mine with everclear. I found I didn't get a strong enough lemon taste when I used vodka [though I didn't have 100 proof].
I put in the zest of as many lemons as I can scrounge up with one bottle of everclear. I leave it until the peels are scary [ie white and crunchy which probably ought to make you think twice about drinking alcohol]. I strain out the peels and toss them. Then I think with simple syrup until drinkable--generally about 50-50. To avoid making it too sweet, I don't make a very strong syrup. I think I originally found my recipe in Savuer but now I just make it from memory.
I use the same process for making a grapefruit version.
In any case, the one thing to watch out for is including the white part in the mix. It can really add a not very pleasant bitter taste to the mix and I haven't found any good way to cover it up.
Can't say I have had any complaints!