Another homemade gift I will be giving this Christmas is Limoncello. Flavouring or infusing booze is not something I have ever done before so I was very excited to try it out and giving it as gifts is the perfect excuse to give it a go! I decided to try making limoncello after some research on Pinterest and other sites as it seemed pretty easy, makes a lovely bright yellow coloured drink which will look pretty in small glass bottles and also, who doesn’t like lemons?
To make roughly 1 litre of limoncello you will need:
75cl bottle of vodka (the better quality vodka the better your drink will taste, I picked a mid range vodka that was on sale in the supermarket to make sure this was still a cost effective gift)
10 unwaxed lemons
One large jar to infuse the vodka in and bottles to put the limoncello in when its done
The first step is to zest all those lemons, you want to try and get as much of the zest and as little of the pith aspossible. I used a vegetable peeler for this and it worked quite well. With the rest of the lemons I made lemonade and it was delicious!
Pop the lemon zest in your large jar and add all the vodka. Believe it or not you are now almost done! The lemons need at least three days to infuse their flavour into the vodka. Leave your jar in a cool dark place, the longer you leave it the more flavoursome it will be. I left mine for 10 days.
Once you have left your vodka for between 3 days and a month it is time to add sugar syrup. The vodka will have gone a lovely yellow colour.
The next step is to strain your vodka, place a coffee filter in a sieve and slowly in your vodka. I found the coffee filter got blocked with tiny bits of lemon after a while so this process took a while, I also ended up changing the filter a few times.
To make a sugar syrup bring water to a simmer and add sugar, stirring until it is dissolved and then leave to cool. The amount of sugar and water you use is up to you but you will want to keep the ratio of sugar to water the same. For instance, I used two cups of water and two cups of sugar but you could use less or more depending on how strong and sweet you want your limoncello. Try one cup water and one cup sugar first and then add more if you would like it sweeter or more watered down. When the sugar syrup has cooled add it to the vodka and put it in bottles. I filled 4 and a half small glass bottles with mine but you could put it all in one large bottle or two medium sized bottles, it is up to you!
Don’t forget to keep your gifts in the fridge or freezer until you want to give them away. If you are making this just for you then I’d suggest storing it in the freezer as it tastes brilliant really cold!
I love how simple it is to put your own twist on a booze gift, and as you only need to leave your vodka to infuse for a minimum of 3 days there is still plenty of time to try this before Christmas!
It seems we have the infused booze bug in our house as Nathan decided to try some of his own too, I won’t go into loads of detail as the general process is the same but here are the ones he tried, maybe these will inspire you too?
Home made Kahlua:
Vodka, very strong freshly brewed coffee, lots of sugar and a vanilla pod left for roughly 10 days.
Christmas flavoured whiskey:
Bourbon, the peel of three oranges, one vanilla pod and two tablespoons of honey left for roughly 10 days.
Both of these concoctions turned out great too, it seems as though you can add almost any flavours to your favourite spirits, just play around with ratios until you get a flavour that suits you. The only difference with these was that they were left with all the ingredients and then sieved rather than adding sugar syrup at the end.
I think this makes great gifts but would also be great for a special occasion, cocktail party or even just an interesting drink to keep at home as a treat!