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Super Limoncello | Don’t Throw Out Your Lemon Peels!



Hello, Friends of Cocktails. To make a liter of great tasting limoncello you’ll need peels from 8-12 lemons, but what if you already have leftover lemon peels from making super juice. Can you use those? Yes, yes you can. This is Super Limoncello, made from what you’re left with after making super juice. How cool is that? I’ll show you how to make it two different ways, how it compares to the original Limoncello and then we’ll test it in two cocktails: a Negronicello and a Limoncello Spritz.


At the end I’ll tell you why I was so proud and excited to learn about Super Limoncello so stick around, but first the obvious, what is Limoncello? Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, especially in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Sicily. It’s made by steeping lemon zest in high-proof alcohol, to release the essential oils. The mixture is then strained and mixed with sugar and water.


A very simplified explanation, but we can go deeper if you’d like to see a separate episode where I make the classic Limoncello, as today’s process will be a lot different. For now, let’s just try the famous Italian limoncello and see what we’re going up against. The bottle I’ll be trying today is made using Sfusato lemons, exclusive to the Amalfi coast, which are delivered to the distillery within 24 hours and infused immediately. That explains the bright yellow color and the abundance of lemony freshness on the aroma and taste.


It’s slightly too sweet for my taste, but undeniably an excellent limoncello. Can the Super Limoncello compete with this? Well, surely not in appearance. The rich essential oils in the classic limoncello cause the louche effect, or spontaneous emulsification when sugar and water is added, turning it milky in appearance, and we’re just not going to get that with so much essential oils going into making Super Juice.


But I try to clarify most of the liqueurs we make anyway, so let’s not knock any points off just for this. So, after you’ve made your batch of super juice, which you can learn all about here, including who created it, how I make it, and why I think it’s great, you’ll be left with blended citrus peels. A question some of you probably have is could you make the same thing with leftovers from lime super juice? I think so, but lime-cello would be harder to compare with the classics than limoncello.


If you’re making smaller batches of super juice you can freeze the used peels until you have enough to make a small amount of super limoncello, and same as with super juice, you can find a calculator here on kevinkos.com to help you figure out the amounts you need based on the peels you have.



Super Limoncello

● 200g Leftover Lemon Peels

● 125g Sugar

● 330mL (11oz) 40% ABV Vodka

● 110mL (3.67oz) Water


This time we’re making an oleo saccharum, literally meaning oil-sugar, so in an airtight container place the leftover peels from making super juice alongside the sugar for at least 1 hour. As the sugar pulls the last bits of essential oils from our peels we’ll get a flavorful citrus syrup, which will be the key component of our super limoncello. After 1 hour transfer this to a sous vide bag and add the spirit and water. Here you don’t need everclear, as your typical 40% ABV vodka will do just fine.


Like we’ve done for most of the DIY liqueurs on the channel, vacuum seal the bag, always with a double seal, and place in the sous vide bath, this time set to 55 °C or 150 °F, for 4 hours. We’re going with a little lower temperature because we don’t want to activate the pectin in the peels that could form a gel, making the filtration harder. Shake the bag every 30 minutes or so to ensure even cooking and after the process is complete, place the bag in an ice bath to cool completely.


You can now cut open and strain our super limoncello through a fine mesh strainer. To get all the liquid out of the peels I’ll give them a squeeze with a potato ricer, and once that’s done you can filter it again through a cloth filter for a clearer result. If we went for the cloth filter straight away the peels would basically clog it up, making the filtration extremely slow. But before I bottle this batch,let’s quickly go over the classic maceration of Super Limoncello if you don’t have a sous vide.

Here, the infusion is slightly different, as I didn't want to lower the ABV with water during maceration. So the oleo saccharum remains the same, and then it's infused in just vodka. Let it macerate in a sealed jar for at least 4 days and monitor how the flavor develops. Once done, strain everything through a fine mesh strainer and dilute with water, but instead of just adding 110 ml of water into the infused vodka, I’ll pour it over what’s left over on the filter.



This way, the water will rinse the lemon particles, absorb some lemon flavor and allow all the vodka to be extracted from them. To really get all the liquid out I’m again using a potato ricer, but you can place it on a cloth filter, then twist and squeeze as hard you can. Again, you can re-filter the limoncello through a cloth filter for a clearer liqueur, so then we’re back where we were before, bottle, add a label, and that’s it.


The full flavor will develop after a few days and the liqueur should be good practically indefinitely, but you can go ahead and give it a taste right away. The clear appearance of our limoncello will really work nicely in the first cocktail today. The aroma still has a citrusy character, but with less freshness than the original. On the palate, it's full-bodied and less sweet with an interesting, subtly bitter note, which isn't a bad thing at all.


It would be a stretch to say this is better than the original, it’s almost an unfair comparison, considering how different the production method is, but I’m really pleasantly surprised by how much lemon flavors we've extracted from the super juice leftovers. For something we would have otherwise thrown away, this turned out amazing, and I can’t wait to show you 2 cocktails with it. First, let’s make the Negronicello, a White Negroni variation made with gin, Lillet Blanc and Limoncello in place of Suze.


Negronicello

● 30mL (1oz) Gin

● 30mL (1oz) Super Limoncello

● 30mL (1oz) Lillet Blanc

● 3 dashes Grapefruit Bitters

● 2 drops Saline Solution

● Grapefruit Peel Coin Garnish


No mixing glass this time as we’ll make it straight in a chilled low tumbler glass. Add all but the grapefruit peel, then fill the glass with ice cubes and stir to chill and dilute. Add more ice to fill the glass before spraying and garnishing the cocktail with a grapefruit peel, and prefer a small coin to a long swath, but you do you. I’ll take a few sips before I show you the Limoncello Spritz and tell you the story of how I got introduced to Super Limoncello in the first place. Saluti!


Predictably, the Nigronicello has a citrusy aroma, with lemon and grapefruit taking the lead on the palette as well. But all other elements are doing their part too - the combination of gin and Lillet introduces herbal notes and harmonizes this twist on the White Negroni. Let’s see if the Super Limoncello works so well in the Spritz format too.


Limoncello Spritz

● 75mL (2.5oz) Prosecco

● 37.5mL (1.25oz) Super Limoncello

● 7.5mL (0.25oz) Elderflower Liqueur

● 2 drops Saline Solution

● 30mL (1oz) Soda

● Mint Bouquet


I’ll build this in the glass too, but here we’re of course using a chilled stemmed glass, filled with ice. Add the ingredients in and give everything a gentle mix with a bar spoon and add the garnish - a mint bouquet. Give it a spank on the side of the glass to release the essential oils, place it in the glass and say saluti. You’ll get mint, lemon and prosecco on the nose, followed by a refreshing and citrusy taste. Elderflower subtly adds a floral note but stays in the background.


I’m not exaggerating when I say this is one of the better spritzes you can make. That’s why you’ll quickly get to the bottom of the glass, just like you did right now, and today I’m proud to share with you how I got the recipe for the Super Limoncello! It was created at a cocktail bar I used to work at, by two of my students, Lovro and Djan. With the bar going through a lot of super juice, they thought it was a shame to discard the leftover lemons so they worked on a way to reuse them and created this lemon liqueur.


I love sustainable practices so it filled me with pride and joy to see them bring this to life. You can find more about Lovro here and Djan here, and I hope you’ll give them a follow to support their work. I’ll see you next time, Friends of Cocktails!




2 Comments


Santiago Mejia
Santiago Mejia
Dec 03, 2023

Hello Kevin, thank you very much for your website and your videos on YouTube, I learn a lot! I'm not a professional but just a fan of good cocktails, I would like to make this limoncello but without making super lemon juice because I don't have the use for it. If I make it with fresh peelings, won't it be too strong in terms of taste? I imagine that the Super Juice process removes some of the aromas from the peelings. Thank you so much !

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Kevin Kos
Kevin Kos
Dec 04, 2023
Replying to

Hi!

The recipe for classic limoncello is different for the same reason you point out. Super juice strips a lot of flavors from the peels. But I believe you can still try making it like this. Note down every step so you know what to change in the next batches. Making a classic limoncello is in the process, so it will be up in the future.

Thank you!

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