January 5, 2011 § 5 Comments
Sunshine in a bottle.
That pretty much describes the essence of lemoncello and orangecello (and limecello and … ), that quintessential citrus aperitif of Italy. (Did I just say “quintessential”? Who am I?)
In Dainty-speak, these ‘cellos rock it. For a bunch of reasons:
- They give alcohol a tasty, refreshingly clean kick in the pants.
- They bring back memories of an awesome tour through the Amalfi Coast. (Never been? It’s a must.)
- And, best yet, they can be made at home – no distillery needed. That’s brilliant!
Not that I’ve made ‘cellos, of course. But they’ve been given to me, as recently as this past holiday. It was a double gift – lemoncello and a blog post in the making. I like that.
During our New Year’s festivities in Provincetown, where 11 compadres
destroyed convened on our friends’ home, Karen gave out a bottle of the liquor – made in her very own kitchen – to everyone in the crowd, with a spare to give New Year’s Eve a celebratory kick start.
- 12 decorative bottles purchased at The Christmas Tree Shops (i.e. inexpensive and cute!)
- 100% proof good-quality vodka, enough to fill said bottles
- oranges and lemons (how many? she didn’t tell me), zested separately
- Soak the zests (one batch orange, one batch lemon) in the alcohol for four to five days
- Strain out zest and discard
- Add simple syrup* to infused alcohol
- Bottle and insert cork!
You’re wondering, “Yo, dude, what’s the ratio of alcohol to simple syrup?” I had the same question. Here’s a direct quote from the ‘cello maker herself:
“The mixture of alcohol and simple syrup is a matter of taste and courage … the more you mix, the sweeter and lower alcohol content you have. The less you mix, the more lethal it becomes!”
Karen made both lemoncello and orangecello. Which bottles contained what? The ribbed bottles were filled with one flavor, the bumpy bottles had another flavor.
*A simple simple syrup recipe: Boil together 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar until sugar is dissolved. Cool. You’re done. Make more or less depending on how much you need. Keeps for a few days in the fridge.