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Limoncello December 19, 2014

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

You learn something new every day. Yesterday, when I ran into a friend at the liquor store, she mentioned a wine she was looking for, and I mentioned that I was looking for grain alcohol, and she told me that buying grain alcohol in Vermont is next to illegal, that the liquor store doesn’t have it, that you have to sign all sorts of papers to order it, etc. As I’d never looked for grain alcohol before, I didn’t know this. But a talk with the owner confirmed it, and he said you could only use it for very particular things, and you could be checked up on at any time by the authorities (the authorities being, I presume, whomever receives all the paperwork).

I wanted to make limoncello.

Sergio, years ago, wrote out his family’s recipe for creamy limoncello, and in all these years, we’d never made it. I decided I wanted to try.

I was steered toward 100-proof vodka as a grain substitute. Some recipes I’d looked at online used vodka instead of grain, so I was prepared for this.

(A subsequent Internet search was very confusing. I can find nothing definitive about grain alcohol’s legality. My favorite wine/liquor store in New York has it, according to their website, and another source says it’s illegal to sell it in New York. Some sources suggest that the brand Everclear is legal at its slightly lower alcohol content, but not at 190 proof, which is what Sergio’s recipe called for.)

I next went to the grocery store and was looking for bags of lemons, which are slightly cheaper than buying individual lemons, because I needed lots of them. I had trouble finding them, because there were only two bags left, mixed in among other bags of citrus, and as I was picking them up another woman came up behind me and said, Oh, there they are! and she wanted them because, she said, they were smaller than the ones being sold individually (they really weren’t), and then she said, You didn’t want both bags, did you?

Um . . . I said, Actually, yes. I’m going to make limoncello.

At that, her eyes glazed over. Limoncello! You can make that? Oh, she’d had it in Italy, and it was divine. Perfect for sipping on a hot summer’s day.

I told her that I hoped I could make it, that I was using my Italian friend’s recipe, that it was a creamy limoncello, and that I hoped it would be good for the cold winter holidays. And that usually I wouldn’t be insistent on wanting both bags of lemons (between my true generosity and overall spinelessness, neither of which I mentioned), but I needed to keep the cost down slightly, and . . .

But I had her at limoncello. The sweet and generous woman had no problem letting me have both bags for such a noble cause. I thanked her profusely and wished her a very happy holiday.

Last night Tim helped me get the lemons zested, and the jars are sitting in the dark for four days or so.

I hope this works.

Here is Sergio’s recipe, which is close to what I’m doing, but not exactly:



P.S. As you can see, all royalties go to Sergio.


1. Mali - December 29, 2014

Finally, time to catch up.

It’s been ,more than four days. I want to know how it was! And then I’m going to try it myself. (I’m already designing the label in my head – I’m thinking “Sergio’s Limoncello” with a small picture of a blue bird beside it.)

indigobunting - January 1, 2015

Oh, I love this idea. More soon.

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