Our friend, Véronique Mentienne, makes a wonderful variation of the Italian digestif called Limoncello. She makes it with mandarines (tangerines or mandarin oranges) and calls it Mandarincello, and she was gracious enough to share her secret recipe with us. We made one recipe of Mandarincello and one recipe of Limoncello, and we are still in the middle of the process. We still have another ten days left in our one-month waiting period.
- 15-20 biologique (organic) mandarines, yielding approx. 200 grams of rinds (To make Limoncello, replace the 15-20 mandarine rinds with approximately 6 large biologique lemon rinds - approx. 200 grams of rinds)
- 1 Litre of 90º alcohol
- 1 Litre of still mineral water (Vittel or Evian, for example)
- 400 - 500 grams of white sugar
- 2 1-litre empty glass bottles
- A sieve or cheese cloth for filtering
- 2-litre + container for mixing everything together
- 2 1-litre bottles of Mandarincello
- Peel the rind off the mandarines, removing as much of the pith as you possibly can. The pith will only make it bitter. Also, since you will be using the rind of the mandarine, it is very important to use only biologique mandarines. Note: The mandarine rinds are very thin and a bit difficult to peel.
- Insert the rinds into an empty one-liter bottle, and then pour the alcohol into the same bottle until the bottle is full. Leave stored in the bottle for approximately one month, periodically shaking the bottle to incorporate the rinds with the alcohol. You’ll notice the color of the alcohol turning the same color as the rinds.
After approximately one month:
- Filter the alcohol through a sieve or through some cheese cloth to remove the rinds, and pour it into a large container that can hold at least 2 litres of liquid (a bit larger would be better).
- Add 1 litre of mineral water to the filtered alcohol and then add 400 to 500 grams of sugar. The amount of sugar depends on your preference, so taste it and decide how much sugar you prefer.
- Shake or stir the liquid to dissolve the sugar.
- Pour the liquid into 2 1-litre bottles, and wait another 15 days to drink it.
After another 15 days:
- Store the bottle in the freezer (the alcohol will keep it from freezing solid).
- Serve it very cold at the end of a meal as a digestif in small shot glasses.
Note: Here in the south of France, you can purchase 90º alcohol from the pharmacy, as long as you tell them that you need it to make Limoncello. 90º alcohol in France is equivalent to 180-proof alcohol in the United States. Depending on how ours tastes after we add the sugar and the mineral water, we may decide to dilute it a bit more than the recipe calls for. We’ll see…