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June 04, 2013

Hootch, Mama!

Homemade Myer Lemon Limoncello
If you're up on your urban slang, you know the term hootch means a lot of things, all of which have to deal with some of the, ahem, more interesting aspects of life. The most common definition for the term is to use it when referring to cheap liquor, but I take umbrage with that, because our homemade limoncello was anything but cheap in the making.

Limoncello is more traditionally associated with southern Italy where lemons are most prolific and the indigenous variety is almost pithless. Limoncello is made by soaking the zest of the lemon in grain alcohol. As the lemon oils are released, they infuse the alcohol with a wonderful lemony taste. After the requisite steeping, a simply syrup, along with lemon juice is added to the alcohol and then this mixture is set off to 'age' for an appropriate length of time, which happily coincides with the warmer months.

Back in January, Mr. B was off on a trip to Sacramento where he took part in harvesting our cousins Myer lemon tree. When he returned home, he brought me over 20 pounds of lemons and I enjoyed turning them into all sorts of fantastic creations from my preserved Moroccan lemons to lemon curd.

Making limoncello takes a lot of work, as you can imagine that even with a Kitchen-aid juicer attachment, processing 20 pounds of lemons is a task in and of itself. But wait, that doesn't even include the work that goes along with zesting 20 pounds of lemons. Let's just say that I kept Mr. B's cocktail glass full and parked him and the lemons in front of a really good football game; he made quick work zesting the lemons and before long, I was hunting Everclear—that ever so deadly pure grain alcohol with 151 proof (I've also heard it comes in 190 proof, but I wouldn't want to drink that stuff).

After that, it was clear sailing. We soaked the lemon zest in the grain alcohol for about 4-5 weeks, then we added the simple syrup and lemon juice and carted the big jug back down into the cellar where it's been sitting for months, getting very potent and very, very yummy.

No sense in giving you the recipe since lemon season is far behind us; better you should get your car keys and get yourself to the liquor store, then come back and make this yummy Mr. B special. It's the perfect mixer to sip on while soaking in the hot tub. Mr. B calls it the Hootch Special.

The Hootch Special

Chilled Limoncello (keep the bottle in the freezer)
lemon seltzer
crushed ice

1. Fill a tumbler (that's a big cup, kids) up with crushed ice and them add Limoncello about 2/3 of the way full. Top with the seltzer.
2. Don sunglasses, floppy hat and flip flops and head outdoors.
3. Best sipped on while lolling in the hammock or relaxing in the hot tub.
4. Careful not to overdo it; they may make sunscreen, but there's no such screen for Limoncello.

1 comment :

  1. I love limoncello - never even heard of it before i met my Italian husband though! (he's also half French Canadian, but he never talks about that!)

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