Don't get all excited folks. Yes, those are kalamansi limes you see in the picture above. But no, they are not from my kalamansi tree Kaladocious Kalamansi IV. Kal didn't exactly come through for me this year. He's a failure. Kal's fruit only got as big as the "O" on your keyboard. Go ahead and look down at your keys, I'll still be here when you look back up at your screen.
Tiny right? As soon as Kal's kalamansi got that big, they just up and died. I don't know what went wrong, but maybe Kal needs another year of maturity before he starts producing actual fruit, or maybe the neighbor's cat peed on him one too many times. Poor bastard (Kal, not the cat).
Anyways, ever since I got Kal, I've had all these Kalamansi ideas floating around in my head and I didn't want them all to go by the wayside just because Kal sucks at his job. So last time I was at my parents' house, I went into their backyard and filled a couple of plastic bags full of kalamansi from my mom's tree (I'm hoping jealousy is a motivator for Kal).
Seeing that I love Filipino ingredients and booze, I decided to combine both of these things for my first Kalamansi recipe: Kalamansi Infused Vodka.
Since vodka is a relatively odorless and tasteless spirit,
it can be infused with pretty much any flavor you want (peppercorns, chili peppers,
berries, vanilla beans,
bacon, etc.) But because of their deeply perfumed rinds and sharp
flavors, citrus is perhaps the easiest fruit with which to infuse vodka. This
is especially true of kalamansi, whose flavor is very similar to that of a
To make my kalamansi infused vodka, I bought the cheapest
vodka I could find that came in a glass bottle ($5.99! Baller!). Never buy liquor in a plastic bottle. Alcohol + plastic = yuck.
Why cheap vodka? Well, reason number one is that I, myself, am a cheap son of my mother. Reason number two is that if you're infusing
vodka for the first time, you don't want to screw up your nice bottle of Grey
Goose (save the good stuff for drinking straight, you wuss). And reason number three is that you can make
cheap, shitty vodka taste better with the magical help of a water filter.
It's true (I saw it on MythBusters).
All you need is a brand-new, activated charcoal water filter (i.e. a Brita filter) and you can remove some of the off-tasting impurities from your crappy vodka in much the same way as you can remove some of the off-tasting impurities from your tap water.
Just run some tap water through the new filter a couple of times to activate the charcoal and then pour all the water out of the pitcher. Next, pour your bottle of rotgut through the filter as many times as you see fit. I poured my vodka through the filter three times and it was noticeably smoother by the third cycle (Triple distilled, homey!).
Now, I am by no means saying that my $5.99 vodka suddenly became the bestest vodka of all time—you’re not gonna see Paris Hilton swilling my filtered vodka at club hoity-toit tonight. But what I am saying is that the filtering process does improve the taste of the vodka so that it becomes more amicable to the coming kalamansi infusion (you're not gonna taste shitty vodka, you're gonna taste vodka with strong hints of citrus and kalamansi).
Also, if you don't already use a water filtering pitcher, and don't already have extra water filters lying around, then you're better off just buying a decent, clean-tasting vodka as that would probably be cheaper. I just always have replacement filters in my pantry, so it made sense for me. And after filtering your vodka, you don't have to throw out the filter. Just run some more water through it to rinse the remaining vodka away.
To make my Kalamansi Infused Vodka, I just halved a handful of kalamansi and put them into a glass container with an airtight lid. (Although I halved my limes for my initial try, it’s probably best to cut the fruit into quarters to speed the infusion process.)
I then emptied the entire bottle of thrice-filtered vodka into the glass container of kalamansi, screwed the lid on, and let the whole thing sit in my pantry.
Every day, I swirled the container just to stir the contents a bit. After about a week, the vodka picked up enough Kalamansi flavor (I tasted the vodka every couple of days), and the kalamansi turned yellow (that's ok). I then poured the infused vodka through a cheesecloth-lined funnel and back into the original vodka bottle.
Voila. Tasty, delcious vodka with a Kalamansi Kick!
Kalamansi Infused Vodka
10 Kalamansi limes, washed and quartered
1 bottle of vodka
Place the kalamansi in a clean, airtight glass container
large enough to hold an entire bottle of vodka.
Pour the vodka over the kalamansi and cover the container.
Swirl or shake the container every day to stir the contents. Taste the vodka every couple of days until
the kalamansi flavor is as strong as you'd like (I let mine sit for a week).
Pour the infused vodka through a cheesecloth-lined funnel
back into the original vodka bottle, discarding the kalamansi pieces.
Enjoy the Kalamansi Infused Vodka as you would any citrus flavored vodka, or make yourself a Kalamansi-Ginger Cocktail (I couldn't think of a catchy name for this concoction):
1 Tablespoon ginger-infused simple syrup (recipe to follow)
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 kalamansi lime, halved and seeds removed
2 ounces Kalamansi Infused Vodka
In an old-fashioned rocks glass, muddle the ginger-infused simple syrup, bitters, and kalamansi.
Fill glass with ice, add the vodka, and
give a quick stir. Enjoy.*
*Note: This is a STIFF drink. If you don't usually drink cocktails comprised mostly of liquor, go ahead and top this off with soda water. Just don't do it in front of me. I will point and laugh at you.
Ginger-Infused Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Place saucepan over medium heat, stirring occassionally, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup begins to bubble. Once the sugar dissolves and starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow syrup to come to room temperature. Once syrup reaches room temperature, remove and discard ginger slices. Store syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I like to put the syrup in a squeeze bottle for easy dispensing.