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
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