Monday, February 13, 2012

Lazy Limoncello

After making home made liqueurs by infusing everything from cranberries to nuts, I've come to the conclusion that a whole lot of recipes are unnecessarily fussy.

I mean, okay, if you want to make the same thing over and over and over again, you should stick to a formula. And it's good to have an idea how much sugar you want to add to get to the proper sweetness, and how much water to add to reach the right alcohol level.

But if you're just messing around with things you happen to have on hand - well, it's really not that critical. You can add sugar to taste. Add some ... and taste. Is it sweet enough? Do you want to add some water to tone it down a bit, or will you be serving it over plenty of ice? You can adjust the infusion to your taste.

Recently a friend in California sent me some lovely Meyer lemons, and one of the first things I thought of was limoncello.

However, the first thing I made was salad dressing. And then I used lemons in a fish dish. And then I had these lemon carcasses on the counter. I knew there was plenty of flavor left in them, but I wasn't in the mood for unsquishing them and trying to zest them, as many limoncello recipes would have you do.

So, I chucked them in a jar and added vodka. Yes, the squished half-lemons, just like that. Into a jar. Topped off with vodka. The next time I opened the jar, it smelled lemony and heavenly, and I knew I was on the right track.

Sure, zesting the lemons would probably release more flavor. Or release it faster. But the lemons I tossed into the jar would have been thrown out otherwise This way, I'm making complete use of them.

My infusion isn't finished - I've got a dozen or so more lemons left, and I plan on chucking the carcasses into the jar and I'll keep it topped off with vodka until all the lemons are gone. Then I'll let it sit for a while and then add some sugar - or simple syrup, if I feel like boiling some water. I'm sure it will be fine.

You won't get an exact recipe from me this time. But really, I don't think you need one.

No Meyer lemons in your house? Well, do you use a lot of limes? Or oranges? Those should work just as well. Give it a try and let me know how it works out.