It's ironic that citrus season is in the middle of winter. I associate oranges with California, grapefruit with Texas, orange juice with Florida, limes with Mexico. Those are all sunny, summery locations, not the snowbound frozen tundra I find myself in these days. So I celebrate citrus while it's here because when summer comes to the north, oranges just aren't that great.
Preserving citrus is a bit of a challenge. While I know folks that dehydrate sliced fruit, that just isn't that appealing to me. I want something that captures that juicy, bright, bitter-sweetness of the citrus. My go-to preserving techniques are marmalades and alcohol infusions, with liqueurs being one of my favorites. Nothing says summer like a cocktail with a shot of citrus liqueur, be it a margarita, sidecar, french 75 or cosmopolitan.
Grapefruit makes amazing liqueur. Because the big fruits hold on to their acid and juice much longer than oranges, you’re sure to get a good grapefruit at the store. I despise buying citrus that turns out to be insipid, pithy and dry. What a waste! This grapefruit honey liqueur is sweet, tart and bitter all rolled into one, making it perfect cocktail material. I’ve included a variation on the Salty Dog cocktail below, with the grapefruit flavor turned up to 11. You can use this liqueur in place of orange liqueurs like triple sec or grand mariner. It would work great in this Triple Orange Margarita recipe from my blog. Just replace all the orange with grapefruit.
• 2 to 3 large pink or red grapefruits
• 1-1/2 cup honey
• 2 cup vodka
1. Remove the peel of one grapefruit with a peeler, leaving the white, bitter pith. Place peel in a clean quart jar.
2. Juice the grapefruits until you have 1-1/2 cups of juice or more.
3. Combine the juice and the honey in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring to dissolve. Bring mixture to a boil then turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
4. Add the cooled syrup to the quart jar along with the peel and fill to the top with vodka.
5. Store in a dark, cool spot for at least a month. Strain and bottle.
Yield 1 Quart.
Use Grapefruit Honey Liqueur in any recipe calling for Orange Liqueur (recipe on the blog). It will kick your cocktail up a serious notch. Or make the Sweet and Salty Dog Cocktail below.
• 1/2 cup gin
• 1/4 cup grapefruit honey liqueur
• 1 cup grapefruit juice
• lime wedges
• salt for rimming
1. Twirl the lime wedge around the edge of two tall collins glasses, then dip the glass edges into kosher salt.
2. Fill the classes with ice cubes.
3. Divide gin, grapefruit honey liqueur and grapefruit juice into each glass and stir.
4. Give it a squeeze of lime and add the lime wedge to each glass. Enjoy!
Tammy Kimbler is the blogger of One Tomato, Two Tomato. A cultivator at heart, Tammy’s passions lie with food, preservation, gardening and connecting to her local community through blogging and urban agriculture. She eats well and love to feed others as often as possible. She currently resides with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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