The Wine Pages: Homebrew winemaking
Limoncello is a delightful homebrew liqueur made from lemon which originates from Italy. I guess they have a lot of ripe lemons in Italy! I strongly recommend all home winemakers make the effort to brew up some homemade liqueurs
Go and buy yourself a nice 75cl bottle of blue label Smirnoff Vodka - the stronger one.
Very carefully take the zest off between 6 to 12 lemons. It is of the utmost importance to not include and of the white pith - this will make the drink bitter.
In a demijohn, add about 100g of sugar and pour in the Vodka. Do not worry if it doesn't dissolve, this will happen over time. Add the lemon zest to the vodka, but do not add any lemon juice. You will get plenty of flavour and colour from the lemon zest in your Limoncello, and the juice will just serve to reduce the alcohol content.
You can vary the amount of lemon you use depending on how intense you want to make the drink, but make sure you select unwaxed organic lemons in the shops.
Now all you have to do is leave it for a couple of weeks to steep. I think it is vital to add a small amount ofsulfite to the limoncello at the rate of about 0.1g per litre. This helps the limoncello hold the wonderful yellow colour. As limoncello ages (and a couple of weeks in the bottle works wonders) it will turn brown - this is a fault, and can be prevented by adding a tiny amount of sulfite to the limoncello.
After a couple of weeks strain off the lemon peel and enjoy! You may wish to add a little more sugar. Another month of aging is recommended before adding sugar, as the limoncello will smooth off over time. Please do not add too much sugar, otherwise it gets sickly sweet. Limoncello is much nicer with a good sharp acidic zing to freshen the mouth after a long meal
THis simple liqueur is very easy to make and makes a great christmas present - especially if well presented