Slideshow: Behind the Scenes: Making Limoncello at Hopeland in Brooklyn

Roy and his limoncello supplies
Roy and his limoncello supplies
Lemon peels soak in Everclear first for 30 days. Given the strength of Everclear (190-proof, yowzas) the concentration of alcohol acts as a powerful solvent to extract the lemon-ness—the citric oils, the yellow hues—from the lemon peels. It's far more effective than regular vodka, which isn't as strong and therefore can't strip out the same lemon-tensity of flavors and colors.
Lemon peels close-up
Lemon peels close-up
Roy stirs the peels each day over the 30-day soak to make sure the lemon oils and colors have been mixed thoroughly and evenly.
Getting ready to dump
Getting ready to dump
Roy is ready to dump the lemon-infused Everclear into the simple syrup mixture that's in the giant stock pot. "This is like the moment when the bride walks into the wedding. It only happens once. Are you guys ready for this?"
All strained
All strained
Crunchy peels
Crunchy peels
After that much time in Everclear, the peels turn all brittle and crunchy. Also, very pale since the Everclear strips off all the yellowness.
Limoncello yellows
Limoncello yellows
What starts as a deep golden yolky shade swirls into a cloudy yellow.
Bottling
Bottling
This batch will yield 20 bottles of limoncello.
Recycling Everclear bottles
Recycling Everclear bottles
The finished product gets poured right back into an empty Everclear bottle. "We try to be as eco-friendly as possible."
Magnifico!
Magnifico!
Test Batch: Orangecello with Thyme
Test Batch: Orangecello with Thyme
Here's a sneak peek at what Roy's working on next: orange peels in Everclear (Orangecello) with a 7-hour infusion of thyme, giving it that greenish-orangish hue.