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Oct 11, 2010 08:36 PM

Limoncello Advice?

I'm expecting my semi-annual supply of meyer lemons. Last year I made limoncello from a recipe that called for everclear. The recipe claimed that the everclear worked better than vodka because it didn't have the grain sugars. I think it worked a little too well! Even with the 50% dilution with the simple syrup, it was very, very strong.

Any tips/suggestions? Barring better advice, I'll use the vodka this year.

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  1. My limoncello recipe calls for 100 proof vodka (found it at BevMo). The rationale for the high alcohol content was that it helps extract the flavors better.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      BTW, I strained and bottled my Meyer limoncello tonight after it had been steeping for about seven months. It's really delicious! I find a microplane is that best tool for zesting Meyer lemons, btw.

    2. I'm not sure of the recipe but I'll have what Danny Devito's having.

      1. I have been making Limoncello for years using Everclear. The high proof does a better job of flavor extraction, and it is cheaper than 100 Proof Vodka. Do the math! As far as taste goes: experiment with more syrup/water until you like it best. My recipe calls for 16 lemons, 2, 750 ml, of Everclear, 6C sugar in 4C water, add 2C water to reduce proof of the Everclear halfway thru the 80 day total; aging period, and 1 tsp Glycerin to each bottle of finished product.

        16 Replies
        1. re: fwestph6

          Where do you buy the Everclear?

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Thanks, the last time I tried they told me it wasn't sold in California. Granted a couple of years ago.

                1. re: wally

                  The 151 proof version is legal in California (and sold by BevMo); the heavy-duty stuff (190 proof) is not.

                  Not clear which fwestpH6 is using, but my quick, best-guess is 151 which @ 6 cups water to 1.500 ml spirits is about 75 proof. That's a bit high for lemoncello, I'd think, and approximately what the OP would have if using 151 and an equal part water. Not sure if that's what's meant by a 50% dilution. If it means using 50% of the volume of everclear, it's going end up 100 proof, which is way high for lemoncello and "very, very stong" indeed.

                  1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

                    Do not forget the additional 2C water I mentioned.

                    1. re: fwestph6

                      Accounted for that. Total of 6 cups water (= ~1420ml) to dilute 1500ml 75%abv everclear is going to end up somewhere between 38 and 40 proof. Of course if you're not restricted by California law and use real 95% Everclear,. you're at, what? 100 proof? That's heady territory for a liqueur.

                      I do a similar recipe with Meyer Lemon and 151 EC, using a bit less sugar by volume and shoot for about 30 proof. Not a huge difference (assuming 151 is what's in yours), but it's a bit easier to drink.

                      1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

                        Your calculation is correct. I realized that after my post to you. My friends and I like my stuff so I am sticking with a tried and true recipe. Never used Meyer Lemon as the skins look so thin for my potato peeler that I use to zest. Is the taste that much better? I use 16 normal sized lemons, how many Meyer would you recommend?


                        1. re: fwestph6

                          Yes, the taste is that much better! The alcohol really brings out the complex floral qualities of Meyer lemons.

                          1. re: fwestph6

                            If you can get them (don't know where you are), I highly recommend Meyerlemoncello. There is a floral delicacy to Meyers that makes for a superb lemoncello. I use a mix of very ripe and just past green lemons from my tree.

                            As you note the yellow zest is very thin on a Meyer. So, I don't use a knife or peeler. I use a zester, the kind that has four small round holes and creates strips of zest, but you can do it with a good sharp paring knife. I typically use 10-12 lemons to a 750ml bottle of alcohol and dilute it to, say, 30-35 proof. It really likes to sit for a year, but the people I give it too often don't have the patience for that. At the very least, I like to hold it until summer.

                            I don't get the color you show in your image. Mine is a much paler butter yellow. Not unattractive or unappealing, but certainly not that deep yellow.

                            For what it's worth: I use Meyers in a lot of drinks that call for lemon juice. It's less acid than regular lemon juice, so I correct with less sweetener, which is fine with me. I especially like it with rye and maple syrup; to make it really special, add a touch of egg white, shake it up baby, twist and shout.

                            Meyer Lemon sidecar also gets high marks, cutting back a squeak on the triple sec.

                            Doesn't work in an Aviation though. For reason unexplained the Meyer lemon juice turns the creme de violette to creme de gris (a kind of dreary gray color). Tastes great, but a good bit of the appeal of an Aviation is that gorgeous pale violet haze.

                            1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

                              Thanks for the input! I think there is a misunderstanding re Proof and ABV. I remember commercial Limoncello is about 30 %, which is ABV. That translates into 60 Proof.

                              Are you really making the stuff @ 30 Proof?

                              1. re: fwestph6

                                You're right, of course. That should have been 30-35?%abv.

                                1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

                                  Thanks for the reply. For a while there I thought I was losing it! LOL

                  1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

                    YES! No white stuff. Use a potato peeler with a light touch! Buy a new one before you start.

                2. You have good color in your product photo!

                  1. I always use everclear to just cover the lemon zest (18 lemons) and then after I strain the mix I add a full bottle of good 80 proof vodka. Lastly I add my syrup which is 4 cups sugar to about 21/2 cups water. I have never had a problem with this being too strong. Also, I hardly ever add all the simple syrup. I add most, taste it, and adjust.