Friday, December 17, 2010

Bucket List Beat Down: Rosemary Limoncello, Plumcello, and Limoncello

I'd like to report that I not only made limoncello, but also rosemary limoncello and plumcello. It started back on July 17, 2010. I was in Huntington Beach at my 91 year old grandpa's house unloading some weight off his citrus tree. This citrus tree inspired me to make limoncello. I've grown up with this tree and its fruits' powerful squirts in my orange juice whenever staying over at grandpa's house/the time I lived there for a year/driving home to his appointments in the morning/just going there in the morning (in general). The tree is always heavy with fruit. And my grandpa can gab on about the story behind each prolific tree in his backyard. This particular tree he bought back in the early 70s (and undoubtedly bought it because it was probably the cheapest fruit tree available for sale at the nursery, being a financially responsible child of the Great Depression). We are always trying to use the citrus any way we can: in salads, juice, and for looking pretty in baskets/table centerpieces. No matter what time of year it is, this tree is always heaving with fruit. The fruit looks like this:

It looks like a tangerine on the outside but tastes sort of like a lime. My grandpa (son of a bee keeper from Ohio) glows when he announces it as his lime tree. I've never had anything like this citrus outside my grandfather's house so I decided to use this citrus to make my limoncello. I still consider them lemons, however, since they really don't have that cuba libre feel, but I will not argue with my grandfather about it. 

So late in the night on July 17 I started making limoncello using the general instruction  from Whipped's recipe. I couldn't find 100 proof vodka so I just used the standard Smirnoff stuff. I was living with my parents at the time, and my mom came down in her bathrobe to inquire what I was doing and ended up helping me peel the citrus and put them in the shiny new mason jars I'd just bought from Orchard Supply Hardware. I love rosemary, so I decided to spike one mason jar with a sprig.

My grandpa has tons of fruit trees in his backyard, including several robust plum trees. By the time July hits, the poor trees' branches are stretched to their max from the weight of the fruit. We have way too many plums. So my Significant (m)Other decided we should also make a "plumcello" version the next day (not photographed), exchanging lemons for plums. 

Limoncello/ plumcello, Part 1
15 lemons/plums
1 750ml bottles, 100 proof vodka (You’ll need a 2nd bottle for part 2)
1 gallon glass container with tight lid

Part 1
Wash all of the lemons/plums thoroughly being sure to scrub the skins to remove all wax, stamps and stickers. For the plums, quarter or cut them in half depending on their size. remove pits. Pour the 750 ml bottle of vodka into the glass container. Peel or grate all of the skin off all of the lemons being careful only to retrieve the fragrant yellow zest, not the white layer underneath which is bitter. Drop all rind in the jar with the vodka. Tighten up the lid and put the glass container away in a cool, dark place for the next 40 days.

I took these mason jars with me up the coast to Portland, where, by the way, I've recently become a proud Oregonian. I waited 40 days and took the following steps:

Part 2
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 750 ml bottle 100 proof vodka
What to do:

1) Boil the water in a sauce pan.
2) Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, making a simple syrup.
3) Cool the syrup to room temperature.
4) Put your nose near the top of your container of lemons and vodka that you prepared in Part 1. Remove the lid and inhale deeply with your eyes closed while dreaming of warm sun on your face. ahhhhh…
5) Pour in the simple syrup and the additional bottle of vodka.
6) Stir with a wooden spoon.
7) Replace the lid and put the Limoncello back into hibernation for another 40 days.

Part 3
Wait 40 days

(In 40 days) Let the magic happen. My grandpa and his fruit live on here in the Pacific Northwest! Although I do love the tang of the limoncello, my absolutely favorite of the batch is the plumcello. I only strained it once so it's a little thick, but I love the nectar feel that it provides. Besides sipping on the aperitifs, I've also used the limoncello to make cupcakes and pomegranate cocktails.


JustinM said...

Family, fresh fruit, and hard drinking. Who could want anything more out of a blog post? Or life for that matter?

Shaheen said...

Oh what beautiful jars you have there my dear :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

They all look wonderful. You've also made it very easy for us to duplicate your results. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Dewi said...

Wow, this is pretty impressive drink. Love limoncello, adding rosemary sounds fragrantly delicious.

Helen said...

I've always thought limoncello was a fancy name for lemonade. I had no clue there was alcohol in it. Duh! I'd love to sample the rosemary limoncello. Sounds delicious! Lucky you for having access to an amazing crop of fresh lemons off the tree. I'm hankering for some fresh juicy lemons tonight as I whip up a batch of lemon bars to bring to a friend's house tomorrow :)

Ivy said...

I love making the drinks but don't like drinking them. I still have some bergamot and orange liqueur I made a couple of years ago. I've used some in cooking and baking as well ut there's still a lot. I would have probably made lemon marmalade, candied lemon peels, lemonada, glyko lemoniou and love adding the zest in lots of recipes.

Banana Wonder said...

JustinM - Haha, whoa that is a powerful statement! Almost as powerful as the plumcello.

Mangocheeks - Thanks, my roommate got them at Ikea :)

Mary - Thank you, I want to try one with marionberries - Oregon Style!

Elra - Rosemary does amazing things!

Helen - Haha, no way! Maybe they refer to it as something else in Canada, eh? I love lemon bars, and if I had it my way, I would totally make them myself as well - since I like them not as sweet and super sour (no correlation to my personality, in general).

Ivy - Oooh Bergamont! That sounds amazing. Yeah, I only pull these drinks out for special occasions as they are pretty strong.

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

The only cello missing from this post is the musical one! Good on you Anna...they look fab! Perfect for a Xmas tipple!

Ruth Abatzoglou said...

Hi Anna,
I loved reading your post and seeing how the cellos you made this summer turned out. They look fabulous! Grandpa will love to hear all about it.

Look forward to seeing you soon.

Kung Food Panda said...

Woah, I think I want to try to make this!

Banana Wonder said...

Peter - True, I was hoping this would make up for not having any musical instruments :)

Mom - Thanks, I told grandpa about it. Wish I could have brought him some to try!

Danny - You totally should! It's pretty easy - just takes time.