Homemade Limoncello and Rhubarb Cordial







For a special touch at our wedding this coming September, Jamie and I decided to make homemade Limoncello to serve at the wedding.  While filling my shopping basket to the brim with bright yellow lemons, I saw the ruby red stalks of rhubarb, and thought, why not make a rhubarb liqueur as well?  I especially loved the idea of rhubarb since most of his family is from North Dakota, and rhubarb treats are always appreciated up there.

After waiting for two months for our homemade liqueurs to age, I was so excited to get to bottle them up and photograph them this weekend.










I began the process of making the liqueurs at the beginning of April, the first step being to infuse the vodka with the fruit for a whole month.  When I asked Jamie what vodka I should use, he recommended Ciroc, which is a French vodka that's made from grapes rather than grain.  In his words, the vodka is "very smooth and slightly sweet, not unlike him!"

Limoncello uses only the peel or zest of the lemons, but not the juice, so be prepared to juice all those leftover lemons and make some lemonade, or simply refrigerate the juice for other uses, so that it doesn't go to waste.

After waiting quite impatiently, come May it was time to make the simple syrup, strain the liqueurs and sweeten them up.  It was fun to finally get to taste them, but after adding the simple syrup, they needed to be left to rest for another month, so we continued to wait.

And finally, June arrived, and it was time to taste them for a second time, filter them, and bottle them up.  The Limoncello is tart and so lemony, and is such a pretty golden sunshiny color.  And the Rhubarb Cordial, with its beautiful pink hue, tastes just like summer.












Although we're saving most of the liqueur to serve at the wedding, we will be sampling them a little over the next couple of months, to come up with a signature cocktail.  I'm thinking of maybe a Lemon Cream Drop (Limoncello, cream and maybe another kind of liqueur), and a Strawberry Rhubarb Spritzer (Rhubarb Cordial, Sprite, and a spoonful of macerated strawberries).  What do you think?

There's still time to make your own homemade liqueurs for this summer, so if you start making yours now, you could be enjoying a refreshing cocktail on those hot August days!










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Notes:
For the vodka, I used Ciroc, which is a French vodka made from grapes rather than grain.  It's very smooth and slightly sweet.

For the glass bottles with caps, I bought this case of 12 bottles (16 ounces each) on Amazon.  Between the Limoncello and Rhubarb Cordial, I used all but 2 bottles.

The chalkboard labels were also from Amazon.


Limoncello
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  • 20 organic lemons
  • 1.5 liters vodka (1500 ml)
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 3-4 cups white granulated sugar
  • Other Tools:  3 large glass jars with lids (quart-sized Mason jars), glass bottles with caps, mesh strainer, coffee filters, funnel
Step 1:
Wash and dry the jars and set aside.  Wash and dry the lemons.  Peel or zest the lemons, being careful not to peel off any bitter white pith (I prefer using a microplane to zest the lemons as there is no chance of zesting too deep into the pith.)

Divide the zest between the jars and pour in the vodka.  Screw on the lids and place the jars in a dark place (such as the pantry or basement) to rest for one whole month.  Do not open or expose to sunlight.

Step 2:
Combine the water and sugar in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.  Stir to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and let cool for one hour.

Pour the vodka through a mesh strainer into a large bowl to strain out the zest; discard the zest.  Add the simple syrup to the vodka, using as much or as little as needed to achieve the desired sweetness.  Pour the limoncello back into the jars (you may need a few more clean jars now that you've added the simple syrup), screw on the lids and place the jars in a dark place to rest for another month.

Step 3:
Set out your clean, sterilized glass bottles with caps.  Place a coffee filter in a funnel and pour the Limoncello into the bottles.  This step will take a while and you will go through many coffee filters as they become clogged and need to be changed, but it's a necessary step to remove the last bits of lemon zest and other particles that will make a difference in your Limoncello being clear and not cloudy.

Step 4:
Enjoy your homemade Limoncello!  You can keep the bottles stored at room temperature in a cool, dark place, or in the refrigerator.  They will last for at least a few years.  Enjoy the Limoncello on its own, or mix with Sprite for a refreshing cocktail.

Yields about 88 ounces (about 2.6 liters) of limoncello

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen



Rhubarb Cordial
printable

  • 3 pounds rhubarb
  • 1.5 liters vodka (1500 ml)
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 3-4 cups white granulated sugar
  • Other Tools:  3 large glass jars with lids (quart-sized Mason jars), glass bottles with caps, mesh strainer, coffee filters, funnel

Step 1:
Wash and dry the jars and set aside.  Wash and dry the rhubarb, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces.  Divide the rhubarb between the jars and pour in the vodka.  Screw on the lids and place the jars in a dark place (such as the pantry or basement) to rest for one whole month.  Do not open or expose to sunlight.

Step 2:
Combine the water and sugar in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.  Stir to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and let cool for one hour.

Pour the vodka through a mesh strainer into a large bowl to strain out the rhubarb ; discard the rhubarb.  Add the simple syrup to the vodka, using as much or as little as needed to achieve the desired sweetness.  Pour the rhubarb cordial back into the jars (you may need a few more clean jars now that you've added the simple syrup), screw on the lids and place the jars in a dark place to rest for another month.

Step 3:
Set out your clean, sterilized glass bottles with caps.  Place a coffee filter in a funnel and pour the Rhubarb Cordial into the bottles.  This step will take a while and you will go through many coffee filters as they become clogged and need to be changed, but it's a necessary step to remove the last bits of particles that will make a difference in your Rhubarb Cordial being clear and not cloudy.

Step 4:
Enjoy your homemade Rhubarb Cordial !  You can keep the bottles stored at room temperature in a cool, dark place, or in the refrigerator.  They will last for at least a few years.  Enjoy the Rhubarb Cordial on its own, or mix with Sprite for a refreshing cocktail.

Yields about 88 ounces (about 2.6 liters) of cordial

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen