6th December 2013
This is just like the Italian lemon liqueur limoncello, but made with Christmassy clementines. It's best made at least 15 days before you give it away – five days to infuse half the vodka with clementine zest, and then a further ten once the rest of the vodka and sugar have been added. Stored in a dark cupboard, it will keep for 8-12 months, so make a stash and you'll have a fabulous after-dinner drink on hand all year round. It’s best served straight from the freezer.
16 clementines (unwaxed if possible)
1 litre 100 proof vodka (50 per cent alcohol by volume – you can use 40 per cent but it won’t keep as long)
250g granulated sugar
1. Wash the clementines well, then gently grate off the zest, taking care not to press so hard as to go through the skin and into the fruit.
2. Put the zest in a large, sterilised, sealable jar and cover with half the vodka. Seal and set aside somewhere cool for about 5 days, giving the jar a shake every now and then.
3. Put 280ml water and the sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. This is important because if the syrup is warm it will result in a cloudy liqueur.
4. Pour the clementine-infused vodka through a sieve lined with 3 layers of muslin into a jug, then mix with the remaining vodka and (cold) sugar syrup. Pour the mixture into cold, sterilised bottles, seal tightly with corks or airtight lids, then set aside in a cool, dark place for 10 days before using. To serve as a liqueur, chill in the freezer for several hours before drinking, then pour into small glasses.
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