Posted by Leo - 28th December 2013
I vowed from the age of 18 never to drink vodka ever again - a mix of student fervour, a lack of cider and the excitement of going to the Hacienda was enough of a dirty cocktail to make me power-drink the stuff and regret it for the rest of my life. My friends dine out on the ensuing events, even to this day.
Fast forward then to our travels to Sardinia many moons later where we of course discovered one of the most wondrous of all after dinner drinks - lemoncello. A heady mix of sweetness, bitterness and frostiness that slips down fine after a hearty meal - and for an ignoramous like me, no idea that I had cheated myself into drinking vodka again.
Fast forward a few more moons and we are sat in The Seahorse restaurant in Devon, having just finished one of the best meals ever (no exageration) and enjoying a glass or three of Mr Tonk's homemade stuff - a thing of dreams, moreish beyond words and the perfect end to a top, top night.
So good was the liquer that we decided to try to make our own and as is Marsala Rama fashion, when it comes to cooking we look at a few people's recipes and think sod it - let's do our own. So we did (or at least, are).
As it's Xmas, we decided to ditch the lemons and use instead possibly our most favourite festive fruit - clementines. Other than that, it is the same water, sugar, fruit peel combo that takes minutes to make, weeks to wait and a year to polish off after dinner every now and then.
As well as being food obsessed, we are also junk yard and flea market crazy so the glass bottles that had been sat in some cupboard gathering even more dust than usual came into their own - sterilsed first, of course. The rest is pretty easy...
Peel 14 clementines of their skin and remove the white pithy bit from it as best you can - total pain to do but using a decent fish knife helped up remove most, if not all of it.
Place the peel in 500ml of vodka - what brand you use is up to you but maybe a plain, not infused one is best - you don't want to detract from the clementine taste. Put in a cool dark place for five days - shake daily just to make sure it is all mixed up with flavour.
Day five... take 250ml of water and 250ml of sugar into a pan, slowly dissolve the sugar and then boil - once at a boil, take off the heat and allow to cool. You need to be patient here, don't be tempted to go with a tepid or half cool sugar syrup as basically the cooler the mix, the clearer your clemencello.
Add the cooled mixture to the 500mls of vodka mix you did five days ago, then wait. Wait, wait and wait, shaking the bottles eevry other day or so, for three weeks. You'll then have something resembling heaven.
So there you have it - as soon as this page is published, I am off to create the water / sugar element and then it's three weeks of pain whilst we wait for the magic to happen.
We'll let you know.
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