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(recipe, Carrie Floyd)
This is my variation on limoncello, a sweet and potent lemon liqueur from Italy, which is served cold in small glasses. I call this clemencello after clementine tangerines, but in truth, I use a variety of oranges and tangerines, choosing citrus with the sweetest peels.
Many recipes for homemade limoncello call for 100-proof grain alcohol, such as vodka or Everclear. I like Monopolowa, an 80-proof potato vodka; its neutral flavor takes well to infusing and mixing with other flavors.
- 10 citrus fruits (a combination of tangerines, clementines, mandarins and Valencia oranges), washed and dried
- 1 bottle of vodka (750 milliliters, 80 to 100 proof)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- With a Microplane, zest the surface of the tangerines and oranges, being careful to only take off the top layer; if you scrape too hard, you’ll end up with the pith (the white membrane under the peel), which results in a too-bitter brew. Add the zest to a large clean jar.
- Pour the vodka over the zest and seal the container. Let sit undisturbed in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks.
- Place 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, then remove the pan from the heat. Let the sugar syrup cool to room temperature.
- Add half of the cooled syrup to the orange peel-vodka mixture, stir, and taste. If it’s not sweet enough, continue adding more syrup until you like the taste of it.
- Pour the clemencello through a funnel lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a large spouted pitcher. Divide the clemencello among gift bottles and seal.
- Store clemencello in the freezer. To serve, pour into small glasses and offer it for dessert with a plate of biscotti and/or chocolate truffles.