Through lucky experimentation I've discovered that drying / dehydrating citrus before infusing in vodka makes for a very quick limoncello (or other citrus-cello) that requires very little sugar.
Who's got time for slow food when booze is concerned? While this is not instant in the Tang sense of the word, it does cut weeks / month off the traditional limoncello recipe. Lemon liquor American style! It is a crowd pleaser among old tyme limoncello drinkers including a commercial lemon grower who has enjoyed plenty of this elixir in his day.
In fact, simply by soaking dried lemon or orange peels in vodka or other alcohol, you can make an intensely flavorful sugar-free liquor. While I haven't tried it, I imagine it's likely that, for those on sugar free diets, you could add a touch of sweetener if desired, to the lemon liquor.
Makes a great Instant Low Sugar Lemonade Kit too!
Soapbox: Please only use LOCAL or domestic lemons if possible!
Total time: 16 hours including dehydration and infusion; a few more hours or days definitely does not hurt. This is the bare minimum.
You will need:
2) 4 meyer lemons per jar (or other lemons, as long as they are very juicy)
4) vodka or everclear
Equipment: A dehydrator or oven
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Step 1: Slice and Sugar the Lemons or Peel
There are two possible approaches to this project, and I encourage you to try each to see which you prefer:
Method 1: Lemon Slices
a) With a sharp knife slice lemons to about 1/8 " thick slices, removing any seeds, trying to maintain as much juice as possible.
b) Either dip each slice in sugar or place in a pan and douse with sugar, to coat the pieces.
c) Place in dehydrator and dehydrate for at least 6 hours at 135 degrees. (You can also use these slices to dip into chocolate or to chop up for baked goods - or even eat them like candy!)
Or you can slowly dehydrate at low heat in the oven (I don't have specific instructions for that.)
The lemons are ready when they seem dried...not juicy. You are concentrating the flavor so the drier they are the more intense they will be in your booze. I usually don't dry them until "dried fruit" dryness though.
Method 2: Lemon Peel:
This is more traditional, as limoncello usually is made with zest.
a) Thinly slice the exterior peel from lemons then dehydrate.
b) You'll make a simple syrup, or simply add sugar, into the vodka when adding the peel.
I realize for someone who hasn't done this it might be frustrating that I'm not giving exact amounts. I guesstimate and it always comes out delicious.
Step 2: Add the Booze & Age
Refrigerate, just to be safe.
In just a few hours you'll notice great lemon flavor!
Shown here is the booze before the lemons have infused the vodka.
Rather than remove the lemons, it makes a beautiful presentation to leave them in. As the alcohol gets lower it doesn't hurt to top it off, such as if you're having a partay and want to extend the fun.
Gift it: MYO label, add a little twine, and you've got an Instant Limoncello Kit. Perfect for lemonade too!
Enjoy, hack, and share!
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