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Today is my Mom’s birthday – Happy birthday Mom!  To celebrate, I made her homemade limoncello – here’s how I did it.

My mom LOVES limoncello, and is planning a trip to Italy with my Dad in the fall, so I decided I would try my hand at liquor making and give her a (hopefully) super tasty treat for her birthday.  Turns out making limoncello is pretty darn easy (it has only 4 ingredients), but does require some serious patience. Don’t start this project 3 days before the gift-giving event (or 3 weeks…more like 3 months would be good – think xmas gifts).

ingredients for step 1 - lemons and alcohol

Ok, here’s the scoop on what you’ll need:

  • 1 bottle of grain alcohol (everclear or vodka) – the stronger the better
  • a bunch of the prettiest lemons you can find (I used 8 )
  • 3 cups water
  • 2.5 cups sugar

Wash the lemons really well – scrub all the wax off with a scrubbie brush.  Then peel them all with a veggie peeler, making sure not to get any of the white part under the rind (it will make it bitter).

day 1 infusing

Dump the peels into a big glass jar and pour in the alcohol.  Set in a dark place and forget about it for at least 45 days (I let mine sit about 70 days – I kinda did forgot about it)

infusing day 70

On day 45 (or any day after that if you let it sit longer), make a simple syrup with the sugar and water.  Let cool completely, then add to the lemon mixture.  cap it again and put back in that same dark place for another 2 – 4 weeks.

I only waited about 2 weeks, and I tasted it after one week to see how it was coming along.  It mellowed a lot by week 2, so I decided to strain and bottle it.  I used a tea strainer on the top of a pitcher to get all of the lemon rind out.  My strainer has a really fine mesh, so I only strained it once, but I’ve read others strain it several times.  Once was good for me.

Here’s how the final product came out.  I got these bottles at World Market and made the tags to go around the necks.  I also put a recipe on the back of each tag.

I gave these to my mom last week since I saw her then, and we enjoyed the limoncello together, first straight up, and then as a bellini mixed with some champagne.  It turned out very tasty, and I already have my second batch infusing.

I’m excited about my newest soap that is freshly cut and just out of the mold today – lemon poppy seed.  It’s doing time on the soap rack for at least 4 weeks, but I can’t wait to use it. 

lemon poppyseed soap loaf, just out of the mold. This makes 5 bars.

This was my first successful attempt to use something natural (not a colored oxide) to color my soap.  No artificial colors for me, as pretty as they may be, I don’t want them in my soap.  I’m only using plant-based materials to color and scent my soaps.  All previous attempts ended up various shades of the same color – brown.  But this soap turned out a lovely, creamy yellow – just what I was hoping for.  I squeezed 3 lemons and used the fresh juice mixed with water for my lye mixture, and, wa-la – yellow soap.  And it smells de-li-cious – just like fresh lemons (go figure!).

creamy yellow lemon poppyseed soap, colored with freshly squeezed lemon juice

This will become one of my regulars – going to make a large batch stat.  Hmm, now that I think about it, to make a big batch with the same proportions as this tiny batch, I’ll need a bunch more lemons.  30 actually.  That’s a lot of lemon juicing.  I’m going to need a lemon tree and one of those automatic juicers.  Or maybe my pathetic excuse for arm muscles will be my juicin’ tool.  Then I could say I’m juiced.  Ok, I’m done 🙂

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