Presto Chango, Limoncello!

1.75 liters of Everclear, or other strong or overproof spirit
18 lemons, whole, well washed, preferably organic
superfine or white sugarfood-grade cheesecloth, rinsed and wrung out
strong butcher’s twine
large sealable glass vessel or urn, with lid.

It helps to have another pair of hands while setting this up, but once you’ve gotten the initial setup in place, it takes care of itself.

Pour the spirit into the well-cleaned urn. Drape the cheesecloth in crossing swaths, making sure to gauge the length so that once the weight of the lemons is pending, they cannot reach the spirit. Bind the cheesecloth tightly in place on the outside edge of the urn with the butcher’s twine, wrapping it under a lip to make certain it is well held. Place the lemons into their hammock and cap the whole with the lid. If the lid has a plastic or rubber gasket, you may wish to remove it, lest it leach any off-flavors into the mix. Store in a stable environment out of sunlight for nine weeks. Given variables like temperature and humidity, your limoncello may be ready before then. Warmer climates will speed up the process. Avoid opening the jar, as it will set the curing process back, but do pay attention to the color of the mix; you want it rich with a kind of varnished yellow, but it can actually go too far, overextracting into a brown color with an intensity that can be too much for some people’s taste.

At the end of the aging period you should have roughly 1.4 liters of unsweetened lemon spirit at roughly 60 percent alcohol by volume, or 120 proof. Make a simple syrup of .5 liter water and the same of sugar. When dissolved fully, add to the lemon spirit and mix well. Taste for strength, balance and sweetness and adjust water for dilution and/or sugar if necessary. Be cautious not to drown the lemon’s bite and aromatics with too much sugar, but also bear in mind that if you’re serving your limoncello from the freezer, you will perceive slightly less sweetness in the frozen mixture.Note: for more precisely diluting down to taste, you can purchase a spirit hydrometer, a device like a small floating thermometer or fishing bobber, which tells you the proof or percentage of alcohol in a solution, for as little as $7 to $10 at most brewing or winemaking supply stores. You would be looking to keep the final limoncello at about 40 percent, or 80 proof.

via Case Study | Presto Chango, Limoncello! – NYTimes.com.

Drinking Alcohol and Polyphasic

So far, my latest acclimation has been a major success, and I’ve gained a lot of time and I certainly feel better and more awake than I have in years. As a polyphasic person, you are constantly dealing with social and peer pressures since you’re doing something so far from the norm. While this is the norm and certainly something you get used to, there’s some things I find myself having difficulty giving up. For example, many people have reported doing better on polyphasic when they’re vegetarian, but the one constant in all of the experiences out there seems to be no caffeine and no alcohol.

When I first adapted in 2004, I was fresh out of college and surrounded by people who loved to drink. Living in a college town, I’d go to bars, order a root beer, and watch the crazy, drunken people do their thing (this is an endless source of entertainment, by the way). As I became more used to sleeping this way, and as my desire to drink grew, I eventually tried drinking while polyphasic with mixed results.

I have a very fond memory of being at a party where everyone had been drinking, and they all knew about my schedule. My naps were 2, 6, and 10 and so when the 2AM nap came around, I let the whole party know I’d be passing out in my car for a while. As an aside, make sure when you pass out in your car, that you’re in the passenger seat. Inebriation in the driver’s seat can be interpreted as intent to drive and we don’t want you getting a DUI for taking a nap. One of the reasons people don’t drink on polyphasic is that you sleep really deeply when you’re intoxicated, and the chances of listening to the rational side that says you want to get up on time are far slimmer. This time, however, everyone from the party came out to the car and were all peering in through the windows when I awoke. I immediately got up, to their cheers, and rejoined the party. It was a rare experience, but also a testament to how supporting my group of friends has been.

Recently, I’ve tried drinking while on polyphasic and I’m less satisfied with the results. I’ve often found that missing a nap during the day makes me want to sleep for about 2 hours a night. The same thing seems to happen for drinking. Each drink throws off my system about the same amount as staying awake for a nap, and if I get drunk, I often slip back into something like monophasic. I’ve wondered if this is a sign that I’m not fully acclimated yet, even after 2 months. I’ve been somewhat lax in my focus toward acclimation, and though I get most of the benefits, I think I might do better if I stuck to the schedule more.