Wednesday, May 22, 2019


So what do you do when you get guilted into participating in a brewing competition and only have four days?  You make a cordial! Limoncello isn't completely "period", but there's enough speculation around it not-not being period.


10 lemons
1 naval orange
1 blood orange
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup water
750ml vodka

  • Strip all of the citrus of their gorgeous skins, avoiding as much pith as possible.
  • Macerate the peels with enough sugar to extract a lot of the oils through abrasion.
  • Transfer sugared peels to a sealed container that can be closed and rubbed, like a ziplock freezer bag, along with half a cup of water and half a cup of vodka, and place in hot-but-not-boiling water for a few hours to coax more oils to release.  I used a closed steamer basket to keep the bag from touching the bottom of the pot.
  • Let sit in a dark place for a couple of days (or as long as possible) to continue extracting.
  • Throw the mixture into a blender for further maceration.
  • Extract all the liquid from the peels by passing through a sieve and then a fabric filter (like a clean bar towel or cheese cloth).
  • Throw the peel solids in the blender with enough water and/or vodka and extract three more times.  Between each iteration, taste to see which of the three is necessary.  Later extractions will get mellower, sweeter, and less tart.
  • Once you have enough liquid and are pleased with the flavor profile, make sure you have filtered as much of the solids. I didn't manage to get it to go through a coffee filter because of the combination of oils and water surface tension.

I had a blast participating at the Brewer's Competition at AE War Practice XXX, despite having no idea of what I was getting myself into.  I've had experience in the past with making a simple strawberry cordial and krupnik, but they take at least a couple of weeks to get a proper extraction.  This one only took three days in a cupboard and a couple of hours the first and last days for peeling and filtering.

It went well; I won the cordial competition!  Mostly because I was the only entry, but I got very good reviews despite that.  I got a little medallion from Anna Leigh at court and a sweet bar rag that I plan on embroidering with the event name.

Oddly enough, I never blogged about the Strawberry Ghosts (Pennsic 2014) or the Mexican Krupnik (Pennsic 2017) that were also very well received.

Strawberry Ghosts were pretty fantastic!  I put a pound of frozen strawberries in a container covered with vodka and left them in a closet for four weeks.  Eventually I was left with the souls of the strawberries in a beautiful liquid to which I added I think a cup of simple syrup and called it a day.  The leftover strawberry corpses were just little bursts of vodka that were very entertaining to eat.

The krupnik was for a competition at Caledonia that I also happened to win.  To the best of my knowledge, I stewed a pound of honey with cacao nibs, chili peppers, and dried mangos, and ultimately mixed it with Luksusowa potato vodka.  I got a nifty sipping crown out of it and I need to organize this year's competition (because I completely forgot to do it last year >.>)

Oh yeah!  Almost forgot.  I also volunteered to help run the Boozy Food division at next year's War Practice...

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