Greetings from Huckleberry Hill. Let’s kick off December 2020 with a favorite holiday feature. I wrote this in 2016 surrounded by love and family. Enjoy! XO Maxine
Italian liquor, ‘Tangcello’ (similar to limoncello) is perfect for holiday gift giving! Keep the chill of winter away with this soul warming beverage.
From Sicily to Monterey Bay, Frank D’Aquanno is pleasing family and friends this Christmas season with his glorious homemade tangcello. He inspires others, to share the joy, in making homemade liquor. How fun!
I am fortunate to join my Godmother Tina, her husband Frank along with my mom (Nonna Cathy) and Great Aunt Nancy Davi to make this glorious beverage.
Frank has the balanced life! He appreciates ‘la dolce vita’ and cherishes famiglia, cars and making limoncello. He also has a special brew, a glorious tangcello.
This take on limoncello with fresh home grown tangerines is unique. Frank uses the tangerine’s grown in his mom’s garden, fresh pesticide free organic fruit make the flavors bright.
I love this bottle of the Italian boot, don’t you? Limoncello is a popular drink…this variation is delightful. It makes sense, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, the tepid climate allows for lemons, tangerines, blood oranges. These citrus fruits lend to a fragrant cello.
History of Limoncello…called ‘Limoncino’ in the north of Italy…
In Italy, from Capri to Costiera, limoncello’s fame moved north toward the big city of Milan where it was called ‘Limoncino’. It then made its way back down to Rome, and back south to Naples.
Street vendors and bars proudly started displaying the pretty bottles filled with yellow liquid.
The unique flavor is due to the high quality of lemons grown in certain areas of Campania.
A highly alcoholic liqueur, the perfume and flavor of this typical variety of lemons allows this drink to be sweet and pleasing to the palate.
To appreciate Limoncello to its fullest, it should be served at a very cold temperature, which makes it more refreshing. Limoncello is also said to be an excellent digestive (served after a large meal) when served cold. Some prefer it at room temperature, even stirred in tonic water or champagne. What is your favorite way to enjoy flavored cello?
It is also a popular flavoring used to enhance gelato, lemon tarts or a fruit salad. Yummy!
In Campania and the south of Italy, limoncello concludes lunch or supper. In these areas the liquor has become a social ritual whose importance is nearly the same as after dinner coffee.
Many variations of limoncello, beyond tangcello also exist. Don’t you adore the bright pink color of the strawberry cello (fragoncello)? How about the milky white color of the crema variety?
Popular variations include pistachiocello (flavored with pistachio nuts), Meloncello (flavored with cantaloupe), and fragoncello (flavored with strawberry). Some less-known flavors include honey, grass, and pepper. A version made with milk instead of simple syrup also exists and is known as ‘crema di limoncello’.
Tangcello and Limoncello Recipe
Timeline: Minimum four-week process. Plan 4-6 weeks if making this brew for small batch gifts.
24 or more citrus fruits organic, good variety washed-use high quality
4 containers vodka (1.75 liters)- brand of choice
simple syrup (8 cups water and 8 cups sugar)
medium bottle for steeping your peels and vodka-first two weeks
Large 3-gallon jug for combining, storage of brew and marry of ingredients- needed week 3
Decorative small bottles for gift giving, or mason jars with lids- after at least 4 weeks
- Wash at least 24 average sized tangerines, lemons (or citrus of choice) and rinse in a colander.
- Peel chilled fruit avoiding pith (24 or more) and place in a medium sized bottle (see photo for sample). See peeling tip below.
- Add vodka (two bottles at 1.75 liters) into the container with the fruit peels. Use vodka of choice.
- Place in a cool/shaded area for at least 2 weeks to steep.
- Cook a simple syrup with 8 cups of water and 8 cups of sugar, let it cool to room temp.
- Strain the peels from the brew into a 3-gallon jug, use cheesecloth to strain (see photo).
- Take the strained peels and squeeze into 3-gallon jug, squeeze with hands so that you get all of the citrus essence (this is a special technique used by Frank)!
- Add the room temperature simple syrup into your 3-gallon jug.
- Add 2 more 1.75 containers of vodka.
- Let brew marry in a cool/shade area for a minimum of 2 more weeks.
- Chill, enjoy cold!
Merry Christmas and Huckleberry Hugs, Maxine (AKA “Molly”) XOXO