Mondays are kind of the worst, am I right?
No matter how much you love your job or your classes or whatever your weekly obligations may be, Mondays are still a bummer. The blissful freedom of the weekend is totally, completely over, and Friday seems ridiculously far away.
If I were Garfield, eating a whole tray of lasagna would make me feel better about Mondays. I would also be the world’s first lactose-intolerant cat who also happens to be allergic to cats. My own worst enemy!
Sadly, I am not a morbidly obese wisecracking cat. Sorry to disappoint you.
I am, however a pretty radical girl who happens to be quite awesome at making homemade liqueurs. Which, in my opinion is way better than a cartoon cat.
Oh, and did I mention that today is the beginning of Citrus Week? Yes! See how much better I am than a cat?!
Citrus fruits are way delicious, and way in season right now. The hubs and I visited my parents last weekend, whose citrus trees were literally exploding with ripe fruit. Literally. So needless to say, we came home with 238 tons of oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, clementines and blood oranges, which is totally okay with me. Free fruit? Don’t mind if I do!
Each day this week, I’ll be sharing a new, wonderfully delicious recipe with you for something wonderful and citrusy. Fun, right? The thing is, I have made SO MANY THINGS that Citrus Week could turn into the Ten Days of Citrus. Or A Fortnight of Citrusy Delights. Maybe even The Monthlong Citruspalooza Extravaganza.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope you guys like citrus…because there’s going to be a lot of it happening. In a lot of different ways. Sweet stuff! Savory stuff! Non-edible stuff! Boozy stuff!
Speaking of booze, I have a really great idea! This mixed citrus liqueur is really, really dreamy and I think you should make some. Today! This liqueur is like a mix tape of awesome citrusy goodness. A Greatest Hits Collection, if you will. Also, what better way to get your mind off of Monday than by preparing a lovely boozy concoction that’ll be ready to enjoy by the time Friday rolls around?
The liqueur literally takes about 10 minutes to make, and then it’s just a matter of being a little patient for a few days. After three days, strain it and in no time you’ll be sipping pretty (puns!), listening to “Everybody’s Working For the Weekend” by Loverboy on Friday evening, welcoming a new weekend brimming with excitement, freedom and endless possibility. Let’s do this thing, shall we?
Stay tuned for the next installment of Citrus Week–er, fortnight. Month? Lifetime? Honestly, I have no idea how long this might go on. I love citrus (and you guys, duh, awwww) and the world needs to know about it!
mixed citrus liqueur
Yield: about one quart liqueur
Prep Time: 10 minutes
this recipe is wonderfully adaptable and endlessly customizable! You can swap out whatever types of citrus you love for those you might not be crazy about. If you've got grapefruit, use it! Do you have access to even more amazing, exotic citrus fruits like buddah's hand finger limes or yuzu? First of all, I'm jealous. Secondly, use 'em!
2 blood oranges, quartered
3 clementines, quartered
3 lemons, quartered
2 limes, quartered
3 tangerines, quartered
10-12 kumquats, halved (if you don't have kumquats, you can leave them out and just substitute an extra orange or tangerine!)
1 cup simple syrup (see below for instructions)
2 whole cinnamon sticks
4-5 whole green cardamom pods
3-4 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
sufficient vodka or grain alcohol (how much you need depends on how big your container is--you want enough to ensure the fruit is completely submerged. i used a little under a quart!)
for the simple syrup
combine one cup granulated sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan and place over medium heat.
stir the mixture occasionally, taking care that it doesn't reach a boil. we're really just looking to dissolve the sugar and create a homogenous mixture, which will take anywhere from 2-5 minutes.
when the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is uniform, remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature before using.
transfer any leftover simple syrup to an airtight container and store in the fridge, where it will keep for upwards of a month.
for the mixed citrus liqueur
wash a large airtight glass container with a tight-fitting lid with hot, soapy water and dry completely. i used a half gallon-sized mason jar, but as long as the container is glass and it has an airtight lid, you're good to go!
combine all of the sliced citrus, simple syrup, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves and allspice in the large jar.
pour enough vodka or grain alcohol into the jar to completely cover and submerge the fruit.
screw the lid on tightly and give the container a few gentle shakes to distribute the liquid throughout the jar. take the lid off and check to make sure the fruit is completely covered with liquid. top it off if need be, and screw the lid on tightly again.
transfer the container to a cool, dark area, such as a pantry or closet. once a day, give the jar a few gentle shakes back and forth.
the liqueur is ready for consumption in just three days, but you can let it mature for as long as one week if you'd like.
straining the liqueur
place a large mesh sieve over a large bowl. have a second large bowl standing by.
pour the entire contents of the jar into the sieve and allow the liquid to strain into the bowl. using the back of a spoon or a spatula, gently press on the citrus pieces to extract as much liquid and flavor out of the fruit as possible.
discard the fruit pieces, cinnamon sticks and other solids.
place the sieve over the second large bowl and line with two paper coffee filters.
pour the liqueur from one bowl to the other, taking care to ensure the liquid pours through the coffee filters. depending on the thickness of the coffee filters and the viscosity of the liqueur, the liquid may filter quickly or slowly. you may want to exercise caution and use a ladle to control the flow of liquid so you don't lose any deliciousness!
taste the liqueur. if you think it needs to be sweeter, now would be a good time to add the leftover simple syrup!
once the liqueur is to your liking, you may drink it straight away, or line the sieve with two more paper coffee filters and continue the filtration process a few more times if you'd like a smoother finish. i would recommend doing this if you plan on drinking the liqueur straight up, but if you're planning to use the liqueur in mixed drinks one filtration session is probably good!
transfer the liqueur to a clean glass container with an airtight lid. you can store the liqueur at room temperature or in the fridge. either way, the liqueur will keep for upwards of six months. enjoy!
a food + words original