Last weekend We went to a friends house to strip her Meyer Lemon tree so that I could make this years batch of lemonchello' I already have a batch of Minneola Tangelo and navel orange mix for this years Aranchello. But, as a surprise, we also were able to get enough Mandarin's to make a batch of Madarinchello for the first time. You need fruit that hasn't been sprayed with fungicide or insecticides ( organic) and does not have a wax coating sprayed on them by the packer to keep them fresh. Here is how you make them.
The usual recipe is for the skins only (No pith or Juice) removed by a very sharp veggie peeler - I use an XOX good grips, from 7 citrus per 1,000 ml of grain alcohol, 195 proof, to extract the flavor from the skins and their essentiial oils. I use 50% grain alcohol and 50% vodka. Grain is not cheap but vodka can be. I have also found that with twice the skins and 1/2 the grain replaced by vodka, the 'chellos' are much, much more flavorful and not as hot going down if drinking them straight. Plus vodka is $8 on sale for 1.75 liters while a liter of grain is $13 on sale. Use the cheapest alcohols you can find - this isn't the place for the good stuff. SO as example 14 lemons peeled per 1 liter of mixed alcohol. Cap tightly put in a cool dark place.
After soaking the skins in the alcohol for 40 days, strain off the skins and throw them away, they have done their job. Strain the liquid twice through a sieve lined with coffee filters to get rid of the crud. If the filter gets clogged, it will, switch to another one. Now measure how much liquid is remaining. Take an equal part of water and make a simple syrup by boiling the water with a ratio of 3/4 pounds of sugar per liter of remaining alcohol . Once the water boils, the sugar will be dissolved. Turn off the heat and let the simple syrup cool to room temperature . I cool it quickly in an ice bath but that is not necessary.
Once cool, mix the syrup with the citruss infused alcohol. The alcohol will go cloudy as soon as the syrup hits it like Ouzo does. Cap tightly. I use old liquor bottles and let sit for another 40 days to mellow and clear in a cool dark place. After 40 days, filter through coffee filters one more time and put the in its final bottle. Create a nice lable and enjoy. You will have made one of the best chello's in the world and nothing you can buy can touch it. - just like the bread in the grocery store is not at all what you can make at home.