Two Cellos and a Cherry to Toast the New Year

Arancello, Liquore della Ciliegia, e Limoncello

Arancello, Liquore della Ciliegia, e Limoncello

Almost everyone lucky enough to visit Italy will, at some point, sample Limoncello. This lemon-flavored liqueur is often served after dinner as an aid to digestion, un digestivo, and, when properly made, Limoncello will have a strong lemony flavor without being bitter or sour like freshly squeezed lemon juice. Though many believe that the lemons that grow in and around Sorrento produce the best Limoncello, these lemons are not available here in the States. So, with no other options available, I’ve aways used “regular” organic lemons to make my Limoncello. This all changed, however, last year.

For the first time ever, Meyer lemons were available in virtually every grocery store I entered. I’d never seen so many. Having read that Meyers were as close to the famed Sorrento lemons as one can get here, I decided to use them to make my Limoncello. Remarkably, at the very same time that I was collecting the Meyer lemons, the grocer was putting out blood oranges. Suddenly, I was buying blood oranges, too, having decided that very moment to make orange-flavored liqueur, Arancello, as well. With an eye towards this Christmas, I thought I’d,also, make lime-flavored liqueur and give all three as gifts. Since I only had 2 jumbo jars and both were already filled with zest and grain alcohol, I put off buying the limes until I’d emptied one of them.

Once I got home, I checked my recipe for Limoncello, calculated how much Everclear (grain alcohol) I’d need for all 3 “celli”, and headed to my neighborhood liquor store. Want to have some fun? Go into a liquor store and buy about 1.5 gallons (5.25L) of grain alcohol. No need to answer when the clerk asks, “Will there be anything else?” A look will suffice.

My “celli” recipes are similar to those that are available on the internet. One thing that I do differently from most is that I use a micro-plane to remove the zest from the citrus. Though most recipes say to use a peeler to remove the peel, being careful not to collect any pith (the white stuff), I find it quite difficult to do. The problem is that the more pith you collect, the more bitter the liqueur. By using a micro-plane, I keep the amount of pith — and bitterness — to a minimum and I’m done in half the time it would take me to “peel” the zest. Once you get passed the zest collection step, you’ll find the rest of the recipes to be straight-forward and you should have no trouble following them.

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On behalf of Zia and the rest of the Bartolini Clan, I’d like to wish you all a New Year filled with Peace and Joy.

Happy New Year!

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Due Limoncelli

Due Limoncelli

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“Celli” Liqueur Recipes

Limoncello IngredientsLimoncello Start

  • zest of 25 Meyer lemons, scrubbed clean
  • 1800 ml Everclear (See Notes)
  • 7 c (1660 ml) spring water
  • 5.5 c sugar

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Arancello IngredientsArancello Start

  • zest of 14 blood oranges, scrubbed clean
  • 5.5 c (1300 ml) Everclear (See Notes)
  • 5 c (950 ml) spring water
  • 4 c sugar

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Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a large jar, cover tightly, and place in a cool, dark place. Shake contents occasionally — i.e., once per week.
  2. After 45 days, pour contents through a sieve to remove the zest. Cover tightly and return to a cool, dark place.
  3. After 2 weeks, filter the liqueur one more time through cheesecloth, or, for a very clear liqueur, through a hand strainer containing 2 coffee filters.
  4. Liqueur may be stored in a serving container, gift bottles, or back in the same jar, once rinsed. (See Notes)

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With 2 jugs of citrus zest flavoring the Everclear, I was looking forward to making lime-cello in the near future — and then I saw Siobhan’s post describing how to make cherry liqueur on her wonderful blog Garden Correspondent. (Do pay her a visit for a charming look at family life and gardening in Turkey.) Not long after, while returning from a visit with Zia, I stopped at a cherry orchard to buy tart cherries, some of which were destined for this liqueur. Lime-cello would have to wait.

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Cherry Liqueur Served

Liquore della Ciliegia

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Tart Cherry Liqueur Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1670 g (59 oz) tart cherries
  • 835 g (29 oz) sugar
  • 417 ml (14 oz) Everclear (See Notes)
  • 417 ml (14 oz) spring water
  • 18 whole cloves
  • 7 cinnamon sticks

Directions

  1. In a large jug with a lid, begin with a layer of sugar and then cherries, repeating both layers until the cherries are used up. Top off the jug’s contents with the remaining sugar.
  2. Seal the container and leave in a sunny location for 1 month.
  3. After one month, give the cherry mixture a good stir and add the spices wrapped and tied in cheese cloth. Re-seal the container and set it aside for another month.
  4. After a month, strain and reserve both liquid and cherries. Use a spoon to press as much liquid out of cherries as possible. Save cherries for another use. (See Notes)
  5. Add the liquor to the reserved cherry juice. Set aside in cool, dark place for 2 weeks.
  6. After 2 weeks, strain the liquid through cheese cloth or, for a very clear liqueur, through a hand strainer containing 2 coffee filters.
  7. Like Limoncello, your tart cherry liqueur will continue to mellow as it sits.

With thanks to Siobhan, Garden Correspondent, for the recipe.

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Variations

Although I used blood oranges and Meyer lemons to create my “celli”, you can use regular oranges and lemons just as easily. Do try to use organic fruit when available.

As was mentioned, I had intended to make a 3rd “cello”, lime-flavored, but decided to make the cherry liqueur instead. Now that the gifts have been given and the large jars emptied, I may yet give lime-cello a try. Besides, I have to do something with that half-bottle of Everclear.

So, you’ve made a batch of Arancello and are wondering what else can be done with it other than drinking it straight from the bottle. Coincidentally, earlier today a cocktail recipe using Arancello was posted on a fantastic blog, Feeding My 3 Sons. Not only does this blog feature great recipes, each is reviewed by 3 of the toughest critics in all of WordPress.

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2 Cellos and a Cherry

Arancello, Liquore della Ciliegia, e Limoncello

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Notes

Most of our citrus fruit is “protected” after picking with a light coat of wax. Be sure to use a brush under running water to remove this coating before attempting to zest the fruit.

Everclear is grain alcohol and is very potent. (75.5% alcohol, 151 proof) It is dangerous to drink it “straight” out of the bottle. In the recipes above, it is diluted using spring water, bringing the alcoholic content into more acceptable levels. If you feel it is still too strong, simply add more water.

If you cannot find Everclear or do not wish to use it, vodka can easily be substituted. When you do, there’s no need to add any spring water at all, though you can if you wish to dilute the liqueur.

It is advisable that the liqueurs be filtered a second time before being chilled for serving. This will remove the tiniest of particles thus ensuring your liqueurs will be clear when served.

You will find that all 3 liqueurs will mellow as time passes. For best results, they should, also, be stored in your freezer for at least 1 week before being served. Patience is a virtue and you’ll be well-rewarded the longer you wait.

Though you should discard the citrus zest once it is strained out of the liqueurs, you may wish to save the cherries. Though not suited for children, you may think of a few desserts in which to use them. Personally, I place them in jars that I then fill with vodka and store in the fridge. A couple of weeks later I enjoy them as-is or as a garnish in vodka martinis. Just be sure to warn your guests if there are pits in the cherries. Of course, after a few of them, no one will care.

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An announcement

In January, I am going to celebrate a milestone birthday, the big SIX OH! Though I’ve nothing special planned as yet, there are a couple of projects, here at home, that I have neglected, using this blog as an excuse for procrastinating. Well, I’ve no intention of starting the next decade with these tasks still waiting to be completed and, as a result, the Kitchens will be closed for the month of January, reopening on February 5th. Thank you all for your ongoing support and encouragement. See you in February!

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

To complete my review of Bartolini holiday dishes, today’s look back will feature our cappelletti Cappelletti in Brodorecipe. Served for lunch on New Year’s Day, these stuffed pasta are traditionally shaped like the brimmed hats once worn by priests. Unable to produce enough hat-shaped pasta to serve our family, Mom’s cappelletti were shaped like small ravioli, raviolini. No matter their shape, cappelletti are usually served in broth, brodo, and are a delicious dish to serve on the First Day of the Year. You can check out my family’s recipe for cappelletti simply by clicking HERE.

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163 thoughts on “Two Cellos and a Cherry to Toast the New Year

  1. Oh John these sound delicious! I have never tried lemon cello but have always wanted to. I love lemons so much. I’m not much of a drinker, but I would love to sample a sip or two sometime of these types of drinks. That cherry drink looks and sounds wonderful with the spices added! Perfect for New Years!

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  2. Well.. you can imagine my excitement when I read your title! I ran downstairs immediately to read about two cellos.. while these are not musical instruments they definitely hit a “chord” with me:D I loved Sorrento and that limoncello.. well, let’s just say we became well acquainted! I can’t wait to try this, I think I will try to cut the quantities in half.. does anything change if I do so? On the other hand.. with a full batch I have plenty of recipes and sipping at my fingertips. Such big decisions I have ahead of me. But how to celebrate 6 Oh.. I’m not an expert quite yet (although not far behind) so I can’t wait to see how you celebrate your big day! Certainly one requires a month to prepare for such an event.. although depending on the exact day, one could use those days after to repair oneself:) Take good care.. good luck with your projects.. give Max a big hug, you’ll be missed around these parts! xx
    ps Ha.. for once I am first again instead of last.. I’d better hit that Post Comment button fast!!

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    • Thanks, Maureen. I do hope it’s a productive month. You’re thirsty? You don’t know the half of it. These liqueurs were in my bedroom closet for months and I never touched a drop. Every time I opened the door, they were there, taunting me. Giving them away was such a relief. 🙂

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    • Thank you very much. Not to worry, I’ll be back — but not in a Terminator kind of way. I can’t write those 3 words without hearing Schwarzenegger’s voice in my head. 🙂

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  3. What a way to celebrate and share John. its very difficult to buy pure alcohol here so I sub vodka too.
    most of all wishing you a fantastic six oh – party on my friend. and I look forward to February (I’m off on my annual snow fix in January) Claire
    ps the best limoncello comes via my local pizzeria via Italy 🙂

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  4. John, I’m a bit familiar with limoncello. I quite like it too. Specially after a nice dinner. My best friend, Lorenzo, he’s italian (a roman… yes..), and we have some good memories that involved limonecllo. What I never thought possible, was that you could make your own at home. Granted, using everclear seems to make the task a lot easier, and I have no idea how real limoncello is made, the fact that you made your own cherry liquor is inspiring and shows how much you love what you do. I will join the rest of your blogger friends and wish you an early happy birthday John.

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    • Thanks, Paul. These really are easy recipes to follow. The hard part is having patience to allow them to mellow. Drink them too early and you’ll get a bitter mouthful. Do me a favor. While I’m gone, I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t post anything really delicious and fantastic. I don’t want to miss anything. Maybe post a couple garden salads; a bologna sandwich; or maybe write a review of a Big Mac or Whopper. That’ll work just fine. Thanks! 🙂

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  5. Dear John, you hit the nail right on my head with your limoncello/arancello recipe. My daughter gave me a bottle of this delicious liquour for Christmas and we have been enjoying it very much these days. Happy New Year.

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    • Welcome, Martina. What a nice gift to receive! It is wonderful to share over the holidays. Thank you for visiting here today, Martina, and for taking the time to comment. I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!

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  6. ciao John! the like button is not workin’ this mornin'(here!), but long story – short: I love your post… I’m a limoncello fan, we can find it everywhere here in France… thanx for your kind wishes left at my playground, my very best for 2014 and see you soon, amico! 🙂
    * * *
    P.S. the Orthodox people celebrate today Santa-Melania Romana(from Rome!) and Melania is my only birthname, turned into Mélanie on all my French papers… 🙂

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  7. Buon capodanno e buon anno nuovo!
    Interesting how your approach is slightly different. I thought about using a microplane, but I’m not confident I could zest it that way without including some white pith. There is definitely white pith when I zest the lemon with a potato peeler, but that is relatively easy to remove with a sharp paring knife. I’ve just made a new batch a few days ago.
    Interesting that ‘your’ grain alcohol is ‘only’ 75% proof. In Italy and here it’s 95%.
    I will miss you in January! Hope you’ll have a happy birthday and good luck with those chores…

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    • Hello, Stefan! Thank you for the well-wishes. All’s well and I had a fantastic birthday and month off.
      I think the problem I have with the pith is because of the lemons I use. Meyer lemons have a relatively thin peel. It is no easy task to use a peeler to get just the zest and the same is true when I use a knife to remove any pith that I may have missed. I want to make more, though this time I’ll use “regular” lemons. I’d like to see if there’s much of a difference in the flavor. In a much later comment, someone mentioned 190% Everclear available here in the US. I’ve not seen it and doubt it’s legal in this state.

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  8. John, thanks so much for the Limonchello recipe along with the others. My good friend Basia gave me a bottle of her Limonchello several years ago and a little is still left in the freezer for me to enjoy another sip. I’ll have to set it out for our New Years party tomorrow. Happy New Year. 😀

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    • Thank you. It’s a funny thing, So many of us have bottles with just a tad of Limoncello in our freezers. A couple of my friends mentioned that now they could finally empty that bottle because now they’ve more. 🙂

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  9. A gallon and a half! A bet that set a few tongues wagging!! I hope you went out of town to buy this much alcohol?! Teasing aside. I love these recipes and I thought your idea of using the micro plane a really good tip, I have been cutting the peel with a potato peeler but you are right the pith does make things sour. I also have to add the glasses look absolutely beautiful.
    Enjoy January and a very Happy Birthday.
    For now Happy New Year!

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    • Thanks, Maria. I really enjoyed my birthday and the month off. I had such a hard time trying to use a peeler and the result was still bitter. I found using the micro plane to be so much easier and the Limoncello so much better tasting. Those glasses were given to Mom and she treasured them. We kids could not touch them at all. I used them here because I knew my siblings would see them and smile. 🙂

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  10. These sound and look amazing. I want to book a trip to Italy right now!
    Have a very Happy New Year and enjoy your birthday month! Will miss your posts and look forward to hearing from you again when you are back! Best, Elaine

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  11. After dinner at our Beloved Italian Restaurant, we’re always offered a sip of house-made Arancello…pure heaven (long as I didn’t already over-do the wine, that is!) I hope your lovely gifts were appreciated by the recipients!
    Have a lovely birthday, and productive month off…we’ll all be waiting when you ‘get back’ 🙂
    P.S. Like Barb, I saw the title and thought you were going to reveal some musical talent we were all unaware of… 😉

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    • Thanks, Marie. I had a wonderful birthday and month off. It was nice eating a meal that was hot and not worrying about taking pictures. By the way, I see that your Little Guy had a birthday, too. 3 years old?!?!?! Did that ever go by fast!

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      • Tell me about it! After the last week’s chaos, I think he’s going to be 10 before he has anything but Surprise Parties…It was a wee bit more excitement and anticipation than his little nervous system could handle…or mine, for that matter 🙂
        Good to have you “home”!

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  12. Happy New Year and Happy Birthday!
    Great drinks to toast in the New Year. One dumb questions, why store the liqueurs in the freezer for at least 1 week before serving?
    Looking forward to reading about you completed projects in Feb.

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    • Thank you, Norma. I hope your New Year s going well, too. Limoncello tastes much better if kept ice cold. They say it is best when kept in the freezer for one week before serving. I’ve never had it at room temperature but it sure is good ice cold. 🙂

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  13. I love too to prepare “piccoli liquori fatti in casa per gli amici” and I like so much your Cherry Liqueur. I posted my Limoncello and also Ratafià some months ago, so what can I say to you John? Cin cin! Auguri di buon anno e felice compleanno!

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  14. Happy Birthday! Enjoy your time off in January and Happy New Year! I hope to find out about the Sorrento lemons first hand in July as we will be staying in Salerno and Positano. Your friends and family are no doubt thrilled to sample your homemade cellos and cherry spirit. They must be a lovely way to end a meal on a high note. All the best in 2014 to you John!

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    • Hello, Barb, and happy New Year! 2013 sure ended on a sour note for you and I hope 2014 is going better. Your trip sounds wonderful. I really enjoyed Positano and the Amalfi Coast. You’re in for a very special holiday. 🙂

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  15. Happy New Year! I am a huge fan of limoncello. There was also a drink, I cant remember the name, we had in Ancona that was frozen and had limoncello. It came out of a machine similar to what they use for an icee. I could drink that all summer and then some! I have made it with regular lemons and enjoyed it, I look forward to trying it with Meyer lemons now too. I am on a liqueur kick now as I just made my peppermint liqueur and am about to make another batch if hazelnut liqueur. Also made a lemon simple syrup for my huckleberry lemon drops. Ah, I am getting thirsty! Enjoy the big six oh! 2014 is the year of my husband’s big four oh so we look forward to celebrating too (mine was this year already).

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  16. Wishing you a fabulous 60th Birthday John! Hope you have something special planned to mark the occasion in style! Enjoy also the time in January to complete all the tasks you’ve put on hold for the last little while – I’m sure you’ll feel so much better for getting them squared away.
    Absolutely lovely to see how you make these delicious, fruity concoctions! Love a good Limoncello, so I’m sure I’d love both the meyer lemon and blood orange varieties you’ve made!
    A great little drink to celebrate the start of 2014! Happy New Year to you and the Bartolini clan!

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  17. Hey, John, you’ve got a big typo on your post, please edit it when you have a chance… you meant big THREE OH… 😉

    I’ve got a sad tale about Limoncello – when Phil and i visited Siena a few years ago, we bought a very special bottle of Limoncello and sat at a cafe to drink a capuccino mid afternoon. Sure enough, we left the place and forgot the bottle on the side of our chair. Returned half an hour later and of course, no bottle could be found… oh, well – lesson learned, but we still do the: “remember that bottle of Limoncello?”

    Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, and I look forward to your return to the blogosphere!

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  18. Luckily I have two big bags of lemons and oranges, just waiting to be tried out… They also happen to be straight from our zia, and thus not treated with any pesticides. Perfect for Limoncello!! Now I got the reason to actually make it. 😀
    Happy new year, and happy birthday!!

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  19. OMG! Everclear! The stuff college dorm parties are made of 😉 Great recipes and I love Meyer lemons for baking. Happy New Year to Zia, you and the rest of the family. Happy Birthday early and will miss you until you return.

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  20. If it were up to me, limoncello will be served in Heaven (of course, there will be wine with dinner, but this is the perfect way to finish a meal). Ice cold, smooth, lemony … down right dangerous it tastes so good. Bravo to you for your patience and planning to give something from your own hand and heart. 🙂
    Happy New Year, John, may the coming year be filled with abundant joy! Happy Birthday too!

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  21. Love the glasses.  Can’t wait to taste the “cellos”. 60!!! ??? From: from the Bartolini kitchens >To: grimleafer@yahoo.com >Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 1:31 AM >Subject: [New post] Two Cellos and a Cherry to Toast the New Year > > > > WordPress.com >ChgoJohn posted: ” Almost everyone lucky enough to visit Italy will, at some point, sample Limoncello. This lemon-flavored liqueur is often served after dinner as an aid to digestion, un digestivo, and, when properly made, Limoncello will have a strong lemony flavor witho” >

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  22. Lovely recipes as usual John,
    Congratulations on you impending birthday. As one gets into the second half of the game, the final whistle seems closer. However, in my experience (55), there is plenty of fun to be had just yet. Already looking forward to February,
    Conor

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  23. What a jam-packed…well, “celli”-packed post! I think your idea of using the microplane to zest is brilliant, John. In fact, peeling all that zest is what has kept me from making what I now know to be Arancello for the past few years. And I do love the idea of the Meyer lemons and the blood oranges. The cherry liqueur looks awesome, but for sure I can’t get the cherries here. I can just imagine how flavorful that is. I believe that 2014 will be the year of the “celli” for me, and thanks for the inspiration. Ah, the big 6-oh. I am not there yet but my hubby passed that milestone three years ago. Well worthy of a special celebration and I’m so glad to read that you have big plans later in the year. Happy, Happy Birthday to you, John, and many happy returns. And may 2014 be the best and most joyful year ever. Enjoy your productive time off in January, and cheers! ~Betsy

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  24. Congratulations on a truly fabulous year of kitchen magic, Jack — the best yet. Your culinary talents are extraordinary, and Dave and I are thrilled and humbled to be the recipients of your cooking largesse on this blog and in person. Now enjoy the month off and go create that bigger pantry/storage area we were talking about — I’m happy to come over and help if you like. Meanwhile, though I no longer drink alcohol, I’m remembering happy summer evenings in the cafe in the center piazza of Sorrento, where almost every table is dotted with small yellow glasses of limoncello…and that makes me look forward gratefully to another Italian adventure. 😉 Happy new year, my friend!

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  25. I love Limoncello! And I’ve never made it, or any other cello (I kinda think of it as the same way I think of making jam – something I really want to do, but haven’t gotten myself organized enough to actually attempt). Terrific recipes. And one sip of Everclear is enough for anyone – that stuff is nasty! Of course I’ve taken a sip for research purposes only to determine that (and you’ll do it only for research – no one can drink that stuff). Happy 60th! And Happy New Year, too., Have a productive month off, and I look forward to seeing you again in February.

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  26. Blood Arancello! How great is that??!! Very impressive. Your encounter with the clerk selling you Everclear was hilarious. The big six-oh, eh? Welcome to the “elite” section of the pool. Come on it, the water’s fine. 60’s the new 40, right? Enjoy your time off. Thanks for a year of great Italian home food. See you in the new year. Ken

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  27. It is amazing you managed to get such clear drinks, John. Both look so professional! I’m sure they taste just great.
    Good luck with all the neglected projects. Happy Birthday, Happy New Year and all the best wishes for years to come. 🙂 Ronit

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  28. Happy New Year! I hope that 2014 starts well for you, and I look forward to your next post in February (by which time I may have fulfilled one of my new year resolutions, which is to make my own pasta for the very first time…). Georgina

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  29. We have many celli in this house, though not off the lemon variety 🙂 Have enjoyed lemoncello panna cotta, fantastic! Like your idea of using a lime variation too. Have a great break, get ready for your big birthday year and have a very happy New Year!

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  30. I can’t believe you make your own Limoncello – that is fantastic. I’m still saving a bottle that we brought back from Italy but I’m thinking that I really should crack it open in case it goes bad.
    Happy birthday in advance John – you’ll almost catch up with me before you know it. Sorry to hear the kitchen will be closed but I can certainly understand wanting to get those annoying odds & ends out of the way. Have a very Happy New Year & birthday.

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  31. Limoncello is a most wonderful drink. I remember tasting it when we visited the Cinque Terre. Great memories! 🙂 Wishing you and the whole clan a fantastic 2014. Thanks for all your marvelous posts this year. I’ve enjoyed them so much. 🙂

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  32. John –
    1.5 gallons of grain alcohol. “Will that be all? No, I would also like 1.5 gallons of rum.” 🙂 I am sure that I will get some looks if I go to the liquor store (with my two babies!) to buy booze for all THREE of your recipes.
    You know, my friend has an orchard with cherry trees. We are often invited to pick cherries in the summer – and also given huge bags to boot – so the last recipe would be perfect for the “fruits” of our labor. Last year I used brandy with the cherries – which was yummy.
    Oh, and great idea to try meyer lemon and blood oranges the -cello recipes… very creative. Have you ever tried limes? ¡Olé!
    A very happy New Year to you – and wishes for a FABULOUS birthday (I hope your 60th celebration is very special!). I am also celebrating my birthday in January, the 19th. May you experience only good things in 2014. My best to Zia, too… Of course!
    – Shanna

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  33. Pingback: Cranberry Orange Champagne Cocktail | Feeding My 3 Sons

  34. Happy, happy Birthday my dear John!! If I drank, I would surely toast your good health and long life with a glass of this gorgeous limoncello! But I guess I will have to toast your good health with some Perrier 🙂
    Have a wonderful New Year and I hope all your projects get done.

    Nazneen

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  35. Greg over at Rufus said I should add a little limoncello to my champagne! What a stunning idea i thought! And I just happen to have some in my freezer!! Have a great break from the madding crowd. Talk to you soon.. c.

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  36. What a wonderful post! Making our own liqueurs sounds like just the kind of DIY project I like! I’ve been meaning to try my hand at this for years (decades?) — maybe 2014 will be the year I finally get to it!

    Happy, happy birthday to you! I too am a January baby, and not too far behind you in years. Enjoy this special milestone. I look forward to your return in February!

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  37. [laughing] I was actually on line when your post dropped into the box last night, but felt I simply could not be the first to comment to say I had been to Italy at least a dozen times but had never ever tried limoncello 😉 ! Still haven’t being pretty much a dry wine gal, with the occasional single malt or cognac when with my fave males!! But I have always thought of it as a liquor and not more-or-less as a digestive!! Interesting! I have a beautiful Meyer right behind my kitchen door, so with the aid of vodka [hmm, grain alcohol sounds awfully masculine!!!] shall probably tried once the lemons are invitingly yellow!!!

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  38. Cheers to you John for 2014 and for hitting the milestone birthday this year, A month off to get projects done sounds like a great way to start the year. A good present (well deserved) to yourself.
    All the best as you accomplish everything you set your mind to do.
    The deciding to start is the hard part is the exhausting part to me.

    Will miss your presence but look forward to seeing you when you return. Happy Birthday to you!

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  39. Happy birthday blogger twin. 🎂 I thought I was the only oldie on WordPress! I’m six zero on the 13th! Fifty seemed like fun but sixty seems scary to me. Have a great break. I have a few of your recipes lined up to try out in the coming month, I’ll save the feedback until Feb! 🎂

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  40. Happy New Year to you John and to your Zia and Happy Birthday to you. 60 is not toooo old 🙂 I love limoncello. We make it here most years though with vodka not with fire water.

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  41. Bouno sera John! Happy almost sixty OH! That is just 60 years young! I am glad you have blessed us with not one but three glorious ways to bring in the new year. However, the one that has caught my eye is your tart cherry liquor! Oh my, these might be the sweet red answer to all of my worries and woes! Wishing you and Zia a safe and happy 2014! See you in February…Take care, BAM

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  42. First of all John Buon Anno! Wishing you health and happiness for the year ahead. I love these recipes as I can’t stand the sickly sweet limoncello which (to me) tastes of what washing up liquid smells like! I have made similar before but have had to use vodka – perhaps I can try to track down some pure alcohol as I am sure the taste would be much better.
    Congrats on the birthday (all the best people are born in January 😉 ) Big Man celebrates his 60th this May so clearly 1954 was a good year for giving the world some of the loveliest people I know!
    Enjoy your rest from blogging, although we’ll miss you, and we’ll see you again in Feb. Do hope it’s a fantastic celebration. Un abraccio x

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  43. Happy New Year John!! Limoncello has been on my to do list for a very long time…really want to try and make it, yours look lovely! Happy Birthday too!! will catch ya in February!

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  44. I love to share interesting drinks when my cousins come down from San Francisco and stay with us. Each of these would be special, but I’m really intrigued with the cherry. I’ve never seen this before and would be thrilled to try it next time cherries are in season. We have easy access to citrus, and I was even thinking of planting a Meyer Lemon tree this year. Now you have me really thinking. Happy New Year to you and dear Zia, John. I really do hope it is full of many wonderful experiences, good health and just enough challenges to make it interesting–none too heavy! And enjoy your birthday month! I hope you find it a good time to accomplish some of the things that have been piling up! Good goals, I’m sure. ox

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  45. I’ve never made it as I have been searching for Meyer lemons…….don’t really have an excuse now and yours looks great. Good on you for tying up loose ends, enjoy January and I’ll look forward to reading you when your back up and running!
    Happy New Year!!

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  46. At the risk of looking like a complete nerd, I’ve had to number my comments:
    1. I never knew you could make your own liqueurs like this, and that was a very good tip about using a micro-plane so you don’t end up with a lot of pith.
    2. Good to know you can substitute vodka.
    3. I laughed at the thought of giving the liquor store clerk a withering look if they asked if there would be anything else with that purchase!
    4. This liqueur would make wonderful gifts. This year I went crazy making pounds of salted almond toffee, but next year this might be better. (No chopping zillions of almonds, for one thing.)
    5. Hope all goes well with the projects in January.
    6. Happy Birthday! I hope you have an epic celebration. 🙂

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  47. I always wondered about limoncello. I’ve always been fascinated by the process. As for Meyer lemons? They grow like weeds around here (California). Yet, me and my husband have managed to kill every lemon tree we’ve planted. Last fall, our promising lemon tree got hit by the killer frost. I give it til April to see if it survives.

    Happy New Year and Happy Birthday to you, John. And many, many more!!! I am so glad that I found your blog. It is one of my major joys in my retirement.

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  48. I have never thought of creating my own liqueur John. You certainly are a man of many talents in the kitchen. I am sure the recipients of your gifts will enjoy every glass.
    I wish you all the best for the new year – and I look forward to reading more of the happenings in your kitchen come February.

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  49. What fantastic gifts. I went to an Italian restaurant recently and at the end of the meal we had a round of Lemoncello. Interesting that we were able to do this given we were at a BYO restaurant and none of us had brought it – say no more! I can just imagine the looks you got when you asked to buy so much pure alcohol at the bottle shop. They must have been confused as to why you weren’t slurring your words or walking with an unsteady gait. Happy New Year, John with best wishes for your upcoming milestone birthday. And enjoy your break xx

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  50. Happy New Year John! I love limoncello and I can just imagine orancello made with blood oranges. Must be delicious! Have always wanted to make my own limoncello, and now I’ll have to try both. I did make limoncello lemon curd and it was fabulous! A milestone birthday? I wish you the very best birthday ever! It sounds like you’re planning a birthday month, which is the way to do it in my book. Happy, happy birthday John! Cent’Anni! XOX

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  51. Oh John! Happy birthday. And good luck on your projects. If I thought I could get mine done in one month I would happily give up blogging for that time! I’ve always wanted to try these and I actually have a bottle of Everclear in my cabinet. Can’t remember if i bought it for these or if I confiscated it from my kids when they were 16! They would cringe at the though of that now! Have a great new year John! i am so happy I found you and can’t wait for another year of stories, food and friendship!

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  52. Great post, John. I love limoncello and arancello. Baby Lady & I make both of these. In fact, we have also made lime cello. Our favorite is still the limoncello with the lime a close second. I definitely have to try the Tart Cherry Liquor. It looks so good and I love cherries.
    Hope you have a Happy 60th Birthday (mine is later this year) and you accomplish all you want/need in January. The Kitchens will be missed.

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  53. What wonderful recipes. I love to use limoncello in various recipes… Happy New year… Sue
    womenlivinglifeafter50.com

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  54. John – Fascinating recipes. I’ve never made these and didn’t realize the flavor came only from the peel. Nice.

    Looking at your photo of the cherry mix gave me a chuckle. When I was a kid, my grandfather (who lived with us) tried to make a cherry liquor in a sealed container. It fermented and blew up all over the basement. My father was really mad, but my sister and I thought it was hysterical (of course, we didn’t have to clean it). I’m sure you won’t have a similar experience 🙂

    Most of all, have a great 60th! Only a month off blogging? I seem to be lucky to get a post a month these days 🙂

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  55. Happy ‘6-0’ John – I reached that milestone three years ago ! I love these recipes – you always amaze me!!
    I’m not sure if I told you this story before, so – – here it is. My husband & I used to frequent a small ‘fish restaurant’ in one of the tiny fishing villages of Malta. The waitstaff knew us well and were good to us. Once, when my husband was traveling, I went to enjoy a nice lunch ‘al fresco’ by the sea, with plans to see a movie after. Well… the waiter gave me three limoncellos – and only charged me for two. I got so sleepy I ended up taking a nap in my car – again in the lovely sunshine – I never made it to the movies!!

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  56. What a fun thing to do! I’ve always wanted to make my own sweet liquors and you’ve got some great ones started here. Oh how the Everclear brings back memories, although I can’t remember them all. 🙂 Happy New Year John and a very Happy Birthday! I turned 60 back in October and it’s not all that bad. 🙂 Have a great month off!

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  57. John!! Happy New Year a the biggest birthday hug to you my wonderful blogging buddy! The Big 60 hey? I’ll be celebrating the Big 3-0 this year. Age is just a number, right?!!
    Happy Birthday! A big chin-chin with those delicious liquors is well deserved xx

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  58. Happy birthday my dear friend, I wish you many, many happy returns! I look forward to hearing all about your projects when you return. Limoncello is one of my favourite digestives, our lovely Italian restaurant almost always brings us a free glass when ever we visit. I am going to bookmark this recipe for sure, home made beverages are lovely gifts!

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  59. Enjoy your month off John and happy birthday!!!! Here’s to a wonderful year ahead!! I love the celli recipes. I am going to give the lemon flavored one a try for sure. I do love it and how fun to make it at home. Many hugs to you for the new year and birthday month!

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  60. Happy New Year and Happy Birthday too John! You should certainly be able to enjoy a few toasts with some of your gorgeous citrus and cherry liquours 🙂

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  61. Ciao John, I’m watching CNN every day and I’ve seen it’s very cold in your area… r u and your close ones fine?… I do hope so! My very best and have a serene week! friendly hugs, Mélanie

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  62. John, in chronological order: Happy New Year AND Happy 60th!!! This is a big milestone!
    Also, nice duo of cellos! I have never had arancello before, it must be a very pleasant drink. And I totally agree with you when you say “if done properly” when you refer to limoncello: it is a great liqueur when it is good, but there is so much commercial junk out there that really hampers its rep…
    Looking forward to seeing you back in February! 🙂

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  63. Emily Dickinson once said, “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” So here’s to the newer you! Happy 60th, CJ. See you in a month!

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  64. These “cellos” sound so good! I’ve always wanted to make Limoncello but I’m a little scared of the process I guess. Maybe I’ll try your recipe soon…. Happy birthday! I hope you get everything done and checked off of your to-do list. See you in February!

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  65. I thought I had left you a message some time ago. I hope you had a lovely Christmas. Happy New Year. I hope your home handiman exploits are going on without a hitch. I look forward to hearing the news in Fen=buary….oh and happy Birthday

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  66. Oh dear! I don’t know how I missed this one…..but belated though, wish you a fantastic birthday and a fabulous New year full of happiness and success. I have never tried this, and would love to, some day…….and here to many many many more delightful dishes on your blog – the most comforting blog ever that I love so so much 🙂

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  67. Happy New Year and happy Big Six Oh… I guess I needn’t worry you won’t have something appropriate to drink and celebrate with 😉 I wish I’d been with you at the liquor store… is that all… 🙂

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  68. My parents are huge limoncello fans! I had no idea this was so easy to make. I’m going to whip up a batch for them 🙂 looking forward to your return and happiest birthday to you, friend!

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  69. I just watched a “how to” Limoncello video a few days ago on the internet! I’ve never had it and it sounds so wonderful. I’m wondering though…could I make it with vodka? Ciroc is made from grapes and is gluten free.

    She peeled all of her lemons which I found to be a little daunting. I was glad to read that you find it just fine to use a microplane instead. 🙂

    ~ April

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  70. Note: Everclear is 190 proof (95% alcohol) and in some states of the U.S. a 151 proof (75.5% alcohol) is sold instead. The 190 or 151 proof is fine to make limoncello. If you can not find grain alcohol in your region, use 100 proof vodka.

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  71. What a wonderful post John. I love limoncello, it’s been a while since I’ve sampled a homemade one (I was lucky enough to go to school with many Italians at my Catholic college, so their nonnas often made homemade passata, wine and limoncello!) but the taste definitely lives on in my memory. Your three liqueurs sound absolutely divine, particularly the sour cherry one! Yum! Definitely bookmarking this to make some of my own as soon as I see blood oranges back at the market (sadly, I’ve never seen a Meyer lemon here so normal lemons will have to do). Happy new year to you, Zia and the Bartolini clan! 🙂

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  72. Hey, John thanks for the hint on grating the lemon zest at this rate, if I had enough Vodka, I’d quadruple the recipe…I have a half a case of lemons! Preserved lemons also in the works.

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  73. Pingback: Panettone Pain Perdu and Bread Pudding | from the Bartolini kitchens

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