Today I decided to make a new supply of »Limonca«, or lemon schnapps. I actually rarely drink alcohol myself. Firstly, because I hardly ever like it and secondly, because I don’t like what it does to my head. But in the winter, when it is cold and I start to get a little cough or runny nose, I like to have a little glass of Limonca. Helps very well with flu and colds, at least if you drink enough of it ;). Friends or my mother also like to drink a glass from time to time. It is also nice to give a bottle as a present to someone.
Limonca is really very simple to make and mine is quite sweet and not too strong, otherwise, I can’t drink it. Here, they always say that it is “ladies limonca” ;). The schnapps I use, is, of course, home-made, because they still do that a lot here and that is why it is available everywhere. Our neighbor Stane is currently making it. Usually, this is done in November, but this year it is a bit later. Distillation usually takes a week or two, depending on how much fruit they have. Different types of fruit are used such as plums or, as they often do here, the skins of the grapes that have been pressed for the wine.
Distillation is done by means of two copper kettles that are usually in the shed or garage. In one kettle the fruit is heated by firing wood under the kettle. Because alcohol evaporates before water, the alcohol vapors go up through a tube that is connected to the second kettle with a twisted tube running through it. This kettle is filled with cold water so that the vapors in the tube are cooled and alcohol is thus created. (When Bine took me to his parent’s house for the first time, 25 years ago, his dad was making schnapps in the garage. Ofcourse I needed a picture of it ;)).
At the bottom of the kettle is a hole where a string hangs out. The schnapps drips out through this string and is collected in a pot. This process is done twice. The first time the alcohol is not good yet because there is still water in it. It is a very precise job because you have to know exactly how much you need to heat. If you heat the fire too hot, the fruit can burn and the schnapps won’t taste good.
This distilling of schnapps is often a community affair, especially with neighbor Stane. Because the distillation process is such a precise job, the person doing it must be constantly there to keep an eye on the fire and measure the alcohol content. Every evening, therefore, some people from the village come by to keep him company, and that naturally includes a glass (or several glasses) of schnapps, wine and/or a beer. Also often something to eat is prepared. Unfortunately, this is also different this year because of the Corona :(.
Back to the Limonca. For those who also want to give it a try, here’s the super simple recipe: Pour 1 liter of schnapps into a pan, add 500-700 ml of water, depending on how strong you want it to be. The more water, the less strong, of course. So I used 700 ml. Mix 500-700 grams of sugar (to your own taste) and the juice of 8 lemons (through a colander). Stir this well so that the sugar is absorbed. Let this mixture stand for three days and stir every now and then. After three days, pour the schnapps, again through a colander, into cleaned bottles and voilà, your own Limonca is ready: D. So now you know, when you feel a cold coming on, quickly down a few glasses! Cheers ;).