Kalamansi Infused Vodka

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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.

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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
lime. 

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!).

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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.)

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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.

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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):

Kalamansi-Ginger Cocktail

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.

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Fill glass with ice, add the vodka, and
give a quick stir. Enjoy.* 

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*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.

  • Katrina October 17, 2007, 2:45 am

    I’m once again amazed that something this brilliantly simple and obvious is not done here! Some of the cheaper bars that don’t have limes might use calamansi as a garnish in mixed drinks, but I’ve not seen any calamansi-flavored alcohol, and rarely even calamansi-based cocktails. More proof that Pinoys don’t experiment enough with their fruits. And I just LOVE the addition of ginger in the cocktail! Galing, Marvin! 😀
    By the way, I blushed at your comment in the last post about my alleged “wisdom about Filipino food.” I don’t cook, and I am hardly an expert on local cuisine. I just know more than you do because I live here! 😉 But believe me, others are MUCH more knowledgeable. I’m just more opinionated. 😉

    Reply
  • Janice October 17, 2007, 8:05 am

    mmm…bacon vodka. getting drunk AND clogging your arteries at the same time!
    that would definitely be a hit in the PI.

    Reply
  • Wandering Chopsticks October 17, 2007, 9:34 am

    Oooh, I would have never thought of putting cheap vodka through my Brita. Excellent!
    Poor Kal. Is he still in his pot or have you planted him in the ground? You should try burying shrimp shells around his roots for fertilizer. The jungle red hibiscus I got is double the size in just a few months and it’s still in a pot.

    Reply
  • drjeff October 17, 2007, 9:43 am

    i made a mango infused vodka by using mango rind candy and Absolut Vanilla…. it was a hit.. my friends loved it:)

    Reply
  • veron October 17, 2007, 9:48 am

    I am going to go get a calmondin tree again. The last one I did kill it.Forgot to water it. But I miss calamansi. Lime and lemon just doesn’t do the job right. Being in Virginia, I do need to bring it in during the winter months.

    Reply
  • oggi October 17, 2007, 12:12 pm

    My calamansi tree is probably Kal’s sister. She had hundreds of fruits early this summer which all fell off one by one save 3 fruits! I was already lining up ways to use the fruits but got so disappointed instead. I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong because the tree looks very healthy.
    I love your clever idea with the cheap vodka.

    Reply
  • joey October 18, 2007, 4:49 am

    You will never believe this but while I was in Zamboanga we were at a bar and I couldn’t decide on a cocktail, so I told the waiter to just put a shot of vodka in some kalamansi juice (I love kalamansi juice)…it was great! Had to adjust the sweetness a bit, but a fantastic cocktail nonetheless! You are so spot on with your concoction…and it’s infused vodka to boot! I was thinking just this morning how I was going to repeat the kalamansi vodka cocktail when I opened your site and saw this! Thank you!!! :)

    Reply
  • Kathy October 18, 2007, 5:26 am

    hey cousin, you can use pomelo/”suha” too:) pretty in pink.

    Reply
  • toni October 18, 2007, 5:36 pm

    VERY nice! I wouldn’t have the patience to do that on my own, but I sure am curious about how that kalamansi vodka tastes!

    Reply
  • Cynthia October 19, 2007, 11:26 am

    Hey it’s the weekend and after the week I’ve had, I ready for some of your kalamansi infused vodka.

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia October 19, 2007, 3:25 pm

    Thank you very much Katrina! Both your knowledge and opinions are very welcome and appreciated here;)
    Janice, bacon vodka would be a hit anywhere I think:)
    Dub C, Kal is still in his pot and I’ve tried everything to get him to grow. But I have not tried shrimp shells. I open to anything at this point.
    Hi drjeff. Mango and vanilla vodka sounds great. You could probably save some money and make your own vanilla vodka by just dropping some vanilla beans in vodka. If you do this in small quantities and if you leave the beans in their long enough, it will eventually become vanilla extract.
    Veron, getting your own tree is definitely worth it if you have a green thumb.
    Thanks oggi! Filtering the vodka really works.
    Hi Joey, since I can’t get kalamansi at bars here, I guess I did one better;) Your posts on Zamboanga were wonderful, btw.
    What up Cuz! Great idea with the pink pomello. I know you’re full of great food ideas!
    Thanks Toni! Think of Absolut Citron, then imagine something 1000x better;)
    Hi Cynthia. I will surely be imbibing on my vodka this weekend after a long week. Cheers!

    Reply
  • Gail October 21, 2007, 1:50 pm

    Very often a citrus tree won’t produce fruit for many years after being planted/transplanted.

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  • Burnt Lumpia October 21, 2007, 5:17 pm

    Thanks Gail. I did re-pot my tree, so perhaps that is the cause of my lack of kalamansi.

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  • elmomonster October 21, 2007, 10:13 pm

    I don’t drink much but this is fascinating. Especially when you cite Mythbusters and the filter method. Awesome! Poor Kal.

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  • Delilah O' Connell October 22, 2007, 10:21 pm

    Sweet! I LOVE a reason to try a new drink.

    Reply
  • Sara October 25, 2007, 8:17 pm

    Okay. This is straight up inspiring. I think this is going to be my first drink as a legal, booze-guzzling 21-year-old. Salamat.
    – Sara

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  • Burnt Lumpia October 26, 2007, 2:45 pm

    Hi Elmo. Yes, the filter definitely improves the flavor of the vodka.
    Hello Delilah! If you can’t find yourself Kalamansi, just use limes. And I’m sure you don’t need much of any reason to try a new drink;)
    Hi Sara. Usually following my lead into adulthood wouldn’t be a good idea. But perhaps this drink can be the exception;)

    Reply
  • maybelles mom May 8, 2008, 5:17 pm

    This is a wonderful blog. i found you through White on Rice. I love your voice and recipes.

    Reply
  • MADHAN June 25, 2008, 5:30 am

    hi did u got it

    Reply
  • Rae Faith January 4, 2009, 2:22 pm

    You brought a grin to my face… I was trying to figure out just what kalamasi juice was, it called for it in a papaya jelly recipe I was looking at, and was happy to stumble onto your page. Good luck with the tree, may want to test your soil, they sell stakes at the hardware store for fruit baring trees that add nutrients that may help.

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  • Burnt Lumpia January 5, 2009, 8:29 pm

    Thanks Rae Faith. I hope you can find some kalamansi juice for your jelly.

    Reply
  • Laurie May 25, 2009, 12:28 pm

    What a fabulous idea! Thanks for posting. I am starting a calamondin orchard in Florida. I won’t have fruit for a couple of years, but am starting work on a website to include recipes. I’d love to include this idea and give credit where credit is due. You can email me at murgatroyd13@hotmail.com and mention kalamansi post. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Kate O June 3, 2009, 8:35 am

    I’m wondering about the taste of of the infused vodka. I made mine by filling the jar halfway in the vodka with halved calamansi and let it sit for a week. By that time the smell of the original vodka was gone. I strained it and sipped it, but it tastes a bit bitter, like a mild citrus campari. Did I use too much fruit or should I have stuck with whole calamansi? Maybe I should add sugar for a version of lemoncello. It’s slightly lemoncellic – I guess. Perhaps next time less limes to get the infused flavor instead of a straight-up liqueur-medicinal-blast.

    Reply
  • Brita Filters July 23, 2010, 6:21 am

    I like this post of yours and your whole blog. Please, consider visiting our website. We offer a wide range of water filters including Brita.

    Reply
  • Sean October 5, 2010, 5:03 pm

    I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site, in the Infusions & Liqueurs section. Good stuff!

    Reply
  • film anime terbaru October 4, 2016, 6:10 am

    VERY nice! I wouldn’t have the patience to do that on my own, but I sure am curious about how that kalamansi vodka tastes!

    Reply

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