Meyer Lemon Liquor

by Maggie Battista on February 20, 2011

in All Recipes, Drinks, Food Gifts, Fruit, Giveaway

Meyer Lemon Liquor - Limoncello - Eat Boutique

I started my cordial experiments years ago with the one and only Limoncello. The boozey lemon-infused liquor was renowned in my household growing up, a favorite alongside Amaretto and Baileys. My parents always ended a fine meal with a little something sweet and powerful, and when I started sipping Limoncello 10 years ago, I knew precisely what drew them to the mix of fruity and strong. I imagine it to be a very tiny exclamation point at the end of a long and poetic sentence, tiny enough to be delicate but still powerful because, well, it’s an exclamation point!

Meyer Lemon Liquor - Limoncello - Eat Boutique

There’s always Limoncello in my freezer (as I prefer it ice cold) and a larger stash in my cupboard, nestled between many other cordials that are busy infusing (a few I plan to share with you soon). This year, I thought I’d mix it up and order some Meyer lemons from California for a little something different.

Can you imagine the delight when a 15-pound box of these yellow gems show up on my door step? I opened the box and that heavenly aroma perfumed the air and, as I pull them out one by one, my pores too. I moved the basket of lemons around my kitchen for a few days just to infuse the scent into every cupboard and corner.

Meyer Lemon Liquor - Limoncello - Eat Boutique

I’ve heard that Meyer lemon zest is a touch less potent than regular lemons when using in liquors so the very day I decided to start peeling the zest, I jumped onto Twitter to ask my friends and followers: What other flavor would you infuse in Meyer lemon liquor? I gave them three options of items I had on hand: lavender, cardamom or thyme.

Unfortunately, there was no clear winner… except maybe ME because I listened to you all and made a bottle of each. I now have one, two, three bottles of Meyer lemon liquor in my cabinet, each stewing with their individual flavor companion. Which one do you think will win out?

Meyer Lemon Liquor - Limoncello - Eat Boutique

Perhaps I can make YOU a winner now. Post a comment below choosing the flavor that you think will taste the absolute best with Meyer lemons from the following: lavender, cardamom or thyme. Once I add the sugar syrup in 4 weeks, I’ll have a quick tasting with the Eat Boutique crew and pick a winner. We’ll choose someone at random from all the votes for that flavor and send you a special gift (wink, wink!) from little old me to little old you. A simple comment below could win you something pretty special and most definitely handmade. So get to the comments section now and make your own with my recipe below.

Meyer Lemon Liquor - Limoncello - Eat Boutique

Meyer Lemon Liquor - Limoncello - Eat Boutique

Meyer Lemon & Lavender, Cardamom or Thyme Liquor

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of good vodka (80 proof or stronger)
  • 10 Meyer lemons, washed and dried
  • 2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 2 cups water

Flavor Companions:

  • 2 tablespoons culinary lavender
  • 3 cardamom pods, broken open so the seeds are exposed
  • 8 springs of thyme

Special Equipment:

  • 2 — 750 ml clean bottles with caps
  • Funnel

In a large, clean bottle (ideally, with a wide opening and a cover), pour the entire bottle of vodka. Very carefully, peel the yellow thin layer of zest off of each lemon, making sure to avoid taking up any of the white pith. (I use a simple potato peeler for this.) Place the zest strips and your chosen flavor companions in the same bottle that holds the vodka. Cover and hide it away in your cupboard for at least four solid weeks. The longer you stow it away, the better the resulting liquor. Every couple of days, I shake the bottle up a bit.

When the four weeks are up, strain the vodka-zest mixture. Discard the zest and flavor companion, and evenly distribute the vodka into two 750 ml bottles (using the funnel). Over medium heat, gently boil the sugar with the water to make a simple syrup. This should take about 10 minutes. Once the sugar has dissolved, take the mixture off the stove and let it cool a short while (or as long as you can resist).

Using the funnel, distribute the simple syrup evenly into the bottles with the vodka. The bottles won’t necessarily be filled to the top, but that’s okay. You want to be able to shake the concoction. Gently shake both bottles and put the bottles back in your cupboard for two weeks. (You really don’t have to do this extra step. The syrupy liquid is perfect right now. But I let it sit a little bit longer to get even more gorgeous and sweet.)

Place the bottles in the freezer (or keep one in the cupboard) and pour an ounce or four every now and again when you need to relax or finish up a tasty meal. I’ll be sure to report back on the best flavor combination soon!

Meyer Lemon Liquor - Eat Boutique

Maggie Battista

Founder at Eat Boutique
Maggie, is the founder of Eat Boutique. She started Eat Boutique as a blog in 2007, and sold out of her first gift box of small batch independent food in 2009. Maggie continues to offer unique and delicious handmade food in tasting subscriptions and seasonal gift boxes for food fans and home cooks. Maggie also hosts Eat Boutique Markets, where she spotlights cookbook authors and food makers. She’s written for Style Me Pretty, Food52, Time Out New York, Spencer Magazine, and writes a cocktail column for the popular wedding blog, Snippet & Ink. Maggie's also created retail experiences for the largest floral and event design company in New England. She regularly travels far distances to find the next great chef, farmer, food maker or host. You can follow her worldwide – and homemade – gastronomic adventures on Twitter at @mizmaggieb or @eatboutique. Maggie's writing her first-ever cookbook Food Gift Love to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in fall 2015.

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  • http://www.eatingplaces.wordpress.com Liz

    I vote for thyme!

    The lemons give me hope for warmer weather – great colors!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Yay – we need hope, right? With all this snow in New England today, I’m ready for a little lemon cordial in the garden. A girl can dream… it’s really only 3-4 months away now. :)

    • Artexpanse

      I love lavender, so French and boutiquey…..

  • Pam

    I would say lavender, but then, I love anything floral.

  • http://www.wearenotmartha.com Sues

    Though I do love cardamom, I’m voting for thyme, just because I love the lemon thyme combination!

  • Emily

    I have to go with lavender, it’s one of my favorite pairings!

  • Sangeet

    I think the cardamom will taste the best, but the other two sound great too!

  • http://aromasysabores-heidileon.blogspot.com/ Heidi Leon

    I think all of mentioned combinations will work. But I guess if I have to choose one, then I´ll go for lemon-thyme.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      I hope they work. Gracias, Heidi!

  • http://twitter.com/bffoodie bffoodie

    I think the cardamom will be great! It might get that slightly soapy taste if the cardamom is overly broken down, but if not, I think the softness of the Meyer lemon will be perfect with it.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Ooooh, I’ll keep checking it, sniffing it in, to see if it get soapy… I’d like to stop it before that point too!

  • Kari

    I vote for lemon-thyme, a classic combo.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Let’s have a lemon-thyme party sometime. :)

  • http://www.aplumbyanyothername.blogspot.com A Plum By Any Other Name

    I made lemon lavender marmalade last summer and it was divine. So much so that I OD’ed a bit putting it on everything from yogurt to pancakes, so while that would have been my choice, hands down, a few months ago, I think I’ve had enough for awhile. The lemon thyme sounds just lovely and even a little dainty, which might mean you can drink a bit more of it without feeling guilty? Just a thought. ;) That’s my official vote. P.s. where did you order your lemons from?

  • Alyssa

    I love lavender so that’s my vote. When I have a drink, I tend to go for something sweet and for some reason, even though I’m obsessed with thyme (mushrooms and thyme, delicious!), I can’t picture myself drinking it.

    Where did you get FIFTEEN pounds of meyer lemons from? An affordable source? I’ve only been able to find them at Whole Foods in the Boston area and just can’t bring myself to buy them. Will I just have to wait till the warmer season to finally be able to go to the farmers market?

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      I bought my lemons from the Lemon Ladies! Such sweet ladies growing these in California… http://www.lemonladies.com. And… I may have exaggerated. I believe I bought their 10-pound box. But let me tell you, it FELT like FIFTEEN pounds. :-)

  • WishfulforLemons

    What beautiful lemons! I can’t find such wonderful looking lemons around here to make Limoncello. I am out of homemade and was forced to go store bought. I can’t wait to try the Lemon Thyme though! Great blog.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Thank you!

  • http://squirrelbread.wordpress.com/ heather

    I do love cardamom, but I think for me it might be too strong. And I love the smell of lavender, though I’m still getting used to the flavor in foods and beverages. So I suppose by process of elimination, that leaves me with the combination of woodsy, earthy thyme and tart-sweet Meyer lemon — I think that surely sounds like a winner!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      I totally hear you about lavender. It took me a while to love it, and I may have overdone it with 2 tablespoons… but I shall know very soon!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gail-Boisclair/732915780 Gail Boisclair

    I am all for cardamom and I may have to try out your recipe myself Maggie !

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Gail, you should! It’s easy and kind of soothing to just peel all that zest…

  • Angie

    Since I’m unsure what cardamom tastes like, I’m voting for the thyme. Thanks for the recipe and good luck with all the flavors!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Thanks so much, Angie!

  • Kimberleyk

    I choose lemon-lavender. It would make a divine springtime martini!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Did someone type ‘martini’ ? I’m ready for one right now…

  • Tanya

    Lemon lavender lemondade was a big hit here last summer, so I would go with that. Although the others sound great as well…Love your site, and I’m looking forward to trying the rhubarb cordial this spring. I make a rhubarb lemonade that is so good….

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      I adore rhubarb, one of my favorite flavors ever. I’d love a look at your rhubarb lemonade recipe, Tanya. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1124420656 Tonya Horn

    My choice would be lavender. Love everything about lavender!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      I heart lavender too. :)

  • Lizzie

    uh, can i vote for them all?? they sound amazing! but if i HAD to pick one…i think the cardamom one sounds the most intriguing. They look beautiful too!

  • http://twitter.com/JoStory Pat Winship

    I’d be inclined to cardamom, as long as you didn’t overdo it. It is a very dominant spice, but plays well with citrus.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      I only did 3 pods, cracked open. I hope it’s ok!

  • tanya

    I vote for the thyme. They are all beautiful!

  • Michelle

    Mmmm Cardamom, it’s my new fav spice

  • Matt

    easy answer: lemon and thyme

  • Alison

    I’m voting for cardamom…SOUNDS DELICIOUS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1083174885 Rosalyn Rouede

    Cast my vote for lavender! A few weeks ago we had a hot spell in San Francisco and I headed straight to my favorite gelataria for a much needed refreshment. Upon my arrival I stared at the selections and was torn between my go to honey lavender and a fruitier lemon sorbet. I ended up getting a scoop of each in the same cup and let me tell you, it was spectacular! Imagine a lemon bar with a scoop of lavender infused vanilla gelato on top. C’est magnifique!! I sure hope the cocktail turns out to be as tasty as the dessert!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      That sounds delicious, Rosalyn! I sure hope it works out your way. :)

  • Teresa Siebein

    thyme to your heart !!!

  • Carissabhowell

    I really love Cardamom, but lavender and lemon goes so well that I think that one will win =]

  • Kelly Ann

    Cardamom… most definately. I love thyme, but I don’t think it will turn out as great as I hope that it should. I think the lavender will more than likely be something you should bottle and sell as perfume.. hahaha

    love you guys…

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Gosh, thanks Kelly Ann! The lavender mixture is smelling quite like southern France… I’m not sure if that’s a good thing… we shall see soon!

  • justine

    Thyme sounds like the best choice. :)

  • http://www.analisfirstamendment.blogspot.com/ Lisa

    That’s a tough choice. I’m sure they’re all going to be very tasty. And just imagining the aroma is making my head buzz! I’m going to pick thyme and hoping for good luck! ; )

  • http://limecake.net LimeCake

    Such beautiful meyer lemons! Perfect to make a liquor like this.

  • http://www.familystylefood.com Karen

    This post is just so beautiful to look at – it’s lifted my spirit (haha no pun intended) for the day. I would try flavoring one with a bit of both thyme and lavender. I think they have a certain chemistry together, like weeds on a hill in Provence.

    ~Karen

  • Tania

    Brilliant idea. I make my own limoncello, but hadn’t thought of adding herbs. I’d probably go with thyme… or basil? I love herbal drinks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689906255 Belinda Mullinix

    I love the combo of Lavender and Lemon, like in a lemon curd perfumed with lavender. And lavender cream brûlée prepared in a filo cup with just the tiniest drizzle of fresh lemon syrup? Wow. Cardamom has that exotic flavour that is set off by the zing of lemon. But, I’ll vote for the Thyme, because I think that combo would just rock! (And we drink a lot of Thyme Eau de Vie here. Which is unbelievable after a meal, in summer, enjoying the last rays of sun…)
    Kind regards, Belinda

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  • Julia

    This is a great post! I bet they all three turn out gorgeous. My money is on the lemon-lavender one because it sounds perfect on top of great vanilla ice cream for this summer. Frankly, I’d probably guzzle it down in soda water or mix it with some vodka and throw it on ice! I’m very, very partial to cardamom as one of my all-time favorite flavors, so I’ll be curious to hear how that one turned out. I wonder what the acid in the lemons will do to the cardamom? Hopefully not bring out the twang! I’m not a meat-eater, but I bet the lemon-thyme cordial would make a lovely glaze for some pan-roasted chicken.

  • Kelley

    So hard to decided! I think my vote is for thyme this time… :)

  • alex

    Lemon and Thyme would be divine! (especially after a meal of roasted lamb)

  • Pingback: Meyer Lemon Liquor | Eat Boutique - handmade food giftbox, homemade, homespun, gift basket, food that hugs you back

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  • Lisa

    I really dont like thyme but it just seems to make sense with the lemon pairing so that is my vote!

  • Sarah C

    do you use black or green cardamom in this recipe? 

  • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

    I used green cardamom. It wasn’t my favorite though. I wonder if black would be better!?

  • Sarah C

    from what i can find on the internet, it’s got a smokier, camphor-like taste, so probably not, haha. they’re made from essentially the same plant but harvested at different times. if it’s any incentive to try a cardamom liqueur again, the black variety is less expensive. 

  • dja

    Maggie:
    I have both lemon and lime trees in the backyard. What do you think about mixing them or bottling one of lemon and one of lime?

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      I have never mixed lemon and lime – but it sounds like something I would try if I had trees in my backyard. Oh and I wish I HAD CITRUS TREES in my backyard. so jealous! xox, Maggie

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