Stalking the Waiter

Riffing on foods, flavors and methods since...no, that would be telling.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Limoncello – The Great Experiment

Every recipe I've seen for Limoncello calls for vodka. So, since I was planning to make the stuff, I bought a 2 litre bottle of Vodka when I did my shopping. Then I got home and saw the two litre jug of Barcardi light rum sitting in the cupboard and had a minor epiphany. To wit...I don't like vodka. I think it stinks bigtime. There is little to no diff between Vodka and any of the other supposedly flavorless eaux de vie (I really have to go back to French class. I have no idea if that's correct.)

So, my first diversion from the path of righteous—, the recipe will be to try it with rum instead. In fact, maybe I'll do a small batch of each and compare them in a few weeks. Who knows, maybe all that lemon zest will even out the flavor differences. I'd really love to try it with Tequila, but that stuff turns my feet into pontoons. Seriously, I could probably walk on water with those things on the ends of my legs. Clearly, my kidneys do not approve of Tequila, although my tastebuds prefer it above all others.

A small digression - A couple of years ago, I took about a litre of rum, tucked maybe 8 of the red chilis (like you'd use for Kung Pao Chicken) into the bottle and let it rest until the chilis were getting a bit pale and wan. I think flames erupted from my mouth when I tasted it, but a little spritz of that in a Feelthy Martini™ (made with Bacardi, of course) – I love olives and their brine – and you have a thing of beauty and zing. Ah, poetry. And a dash in Gazpacho or Salsa doesn't hurt either.

Zesting, zesting, zesting. Why did I not pack my microplane zester with the other kitchen stuff? What was I thinking? Right now I'm thinking it would be worth another trip to the store tomorrow to get a new one. But, no, I don't want to wait.

Oops! I see now why I had that jug of Bacardi. Or should I say, "that Bacardi jug." It's full of peanut oil. :G: I got one of those five gallon things of peanut oil once at OSH. It was some amazingly great price, on sale at turkey frying season (don't ask). Since I use peanut oil almost exclusively for cooking, unless I want the olive oil taste and aroma, this seemed like a prize. And it was, because peanut oil in the supermarket, if you can even find it, is not cheap. Anyway, I was decanting the vast amount of peanut oil into anything I could find, including, it would seem, and empty Bacardi jug. Annoying now when I wanted to try a rum-based Limoncello, but a nice surprise otherwise, since my peanut oil supply is getting low.

In comparing Limoncello recipes, I see that most of them call for a 1:1 simple syrup. I wonder if you could make a 2(sugar):1 instead and use less of it, diluting the alchohol less but maintaining the same level of sweetness. I believe I shall give that a try.

So, Limoncello will be some with vodka, some with Bacardi (soon as I buy some), with 2:1 simple syrup. Pity it takes several weeks to find out how the variations worked out. I'll post the recipe then, assuming it's potable. I hope it is, or that I find my zester soon, because I don't think I'm up for all that zesting again without it, any time soon.

Riffing, more...I bet you could make a version of "rum" balls with Limoncello, just leave out the chocolate, for a really lemony bite. Or make "orangecello" and keep the chocolate. Mmmm. I love orange and chocolate. Or leave the chocolate out of the cookie portion, but roll it in melted chocolate. Drooling? Moi?

11 Comments:

At 9:09 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Funny coincidence - I just finished out a batch of limoncello last night. One of the recipes I found called for 4 cups of sugar and 3 cups of water, and another called for 5 cups of sugar to 4 cups water. I ended up using the larger amount, since the 100 proof vodka seemed to need some mellowing, and it's just wonderful stuff. It's supposed to sit and age for a few days now, but there will be constant, um, *sampling* in the meantime.

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger mrs d said...

Bacardi peanut oil. Snicker. I just filled an old apple juice bottle with very old lamp oil and realized it looked exactly like apple juice so I had to slap a big "don't even think of drinking this" label on it.

Oh, and you know, there's that cooking with spirits thing over at Slashfood tomorrow. Good time to clean out the liquor cabinet and riff away! ;-)

 
At 9:26 AM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

You could drink the fat. Heck, if Ross would do that for Rachel...

 
At 5:12 PM, Blogger b'gina said...

Kathy,
I usually make liqueurs, set them aside to mature, and forget about them. I recently discovered a bottle of "Galliano" I'd made in college in my grandparents basement. It's veeeeerrrry smoooth. Anyone old enough to remember Harvey Wallbanger cakes?

mrs. d, I'm one of those people who likes a well-stocked liquor cabinet. I buy the stuff almost compulsively, neato liqueurs and so on, and store it away for years. The homemade Galliano isn't the only thing that's been sitting around since college.

Well, Cookie, whatever the case, I don't think I'm up for drinking peanut oil. :G:, although peanut oil with all that lemon zest in it would be great for cooking...just leave out the syrup.

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Oh hell, and I thought I sounded old for remembering old "Friends" episodes. Yes, I remember Harvey Wallbangers -- the cocktail, not the cake.
[hobbles away on cane]

 
At 9:23 AM, Anonymous aria said...

i cant wait to hear how it turns out. on a completely random note - limoncello would be such a cute name for a pet.

 
At 1:01 AM, Blogger b'gina said...

Hi, aria,

Yes, I can see one of those beautiful big cockatoos named Limoncello. :G:

Cookie, you can borrow my cane.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Danno said...

I used to work with a sicilian chef who made his with everclear. He wanted the extremely high alcohol content so that after he cut it with the simple syrup it was still around 80 proof.

 
At 1:14 AM, Blogger b'gina said...

Wow, Danno. I hope he used a lot of syrup in that. Everclear is 100% alchohol, 200 proof. Seems like overkill. Or maybe he was just a very happy chef. \;+)

BTW, did you report that woman who plagiarized your post? I was looking at her site, and there are at least three others that she stole from somewhere.

 
At 8:16 PM, Anonymous mwg said...

Well, one reason most recipes use vodka is that it doesn't have any/much flavor. That way the finished product tastes like the lemon you put into it and not the run (or whatever).

Not that I see anything wrong with using rum instead. You may wind up with something more interesting. I have made my share of beer (with success) and wine (mixed luck--hard to get good grapes here), and a little experimentation here and there will help you get better.

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger b'gina said...

Hi, MWG,
For me, vodka has a definite and unpleasant flavor. I like Aquavit for this use, too, but it's expensive and not always available.

I was eating many Clementines, probably a craving resulting from the flu, and I thought that zest from them in a dark rum might be very tasty. If I can find another carton of Clems and have the patience for more zesting, I may give it a try.

 

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