Tequila Por Mi Amante or Strawberry Tequila

Strawberry season is here! What better way to spend a hot summer afternoon than hanging out with friends, barbecuing and drinking margaritas? I am rather partial to fruit margaritas, especially strawberry margaritas, which this tequila recipe is fantastic in. It’s best to start it soon so you’ll have it on hand by the time Summer starts.

What you need:
Large glass container
1/2 flat of strawberries, washed and sliced
Juice from 2 limes
1/4 c honey
Two 750mL bottles of Tequila

Process:
1. Put all ingredients in glass container making sure that the tequila completely covers the strawberries.
2. Cover tightly and store in a cool, dark place for 30-45 days.
3. Strain and chill.

I like to mix the tequila soaked strawberries with an equal amount of fresh strawberries and make tequila strawberry preserves.

Getting a Head Start on Summer with Limoncello

There isn’t quite anything like sipping on ice cold limoncello after dinner with good friends on a hot summer night. It does take time to make so you’ll need to start now to have a good batch of it ready to go for those summer nights.

Limoncello used to be hard to find but is gaining in popularity, however the good stuff is never cheap. You can easily make it at home and it tastes so much better. It’s great to start now when you are probably drowning in extra lemons that you don’t know what to do with. I prefer to use Lisbon or Eureka lemons over Meyer lemons. The Meyer’s just don’t offer the real lemony taste that I feel this drink calls for. Plus you would need about double the amount of Meyer’s as they tend to be much smaller.

The longer you let the mixture sit, the flavor will intensify but the alcoholic “zing” will mellow. I like to go about 20 days on each rest period to allow it to mellow while also having some intensity.

Ingredients

  • 18 Lisbon or Eureka lemons, washed and dried
  • 2 750mL bottles of 100 proof vodka (I prefer Stolichnaya)
  • 5 cups of water
  • 4 1/2 cups raw sugar

 

Instructions

1. Avoiding the pith (white part of the peel) remove the lemon zest with a sharp knife or zester into a large glass or ceramic pitcher.

2. Pour one 750mL bottle of vodka over the zest, cover tightly and store in a cool dark place for 15-30 days.

3. In a saucepan combine water and sugar and heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool.

4. Add syrup and remaining vodka to the lemon zest and vodka mixture. Cover and let sit again in a cool dark place for 14-30 days.

5. Strain mixture into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place or give away as gifts.

6. Refrigerate before serving or pour over ice. A little goes a long way so I recommend serving it in cordial glasses.

Roasting Your Own Coffee with a Popcorn Popper

Coffee. I can’t be functional without it. I hate to say that, but I must admit I have an addiction. My husband, Tom, and I took on a challenge to not buy food at the grocery store or restaurants for a year. That also meant no more chain coffee shops. I had to find an alternative.

When Tom and I were in the UK on our honeymoon one of the things that struck me was just how good the coffee was at all the Bed & Breakfasts we stayed at. It wasn’t bitter like the coffee you get here. It was smooth and nutty with hints of caramel. When we got back home I was all of a sudden extremely disappointed in my options. So I started doing research on how I could possibly recapture that flavor here while also avoiding the grocery store and chain coffee shops. While I haven’t reached the exact flavor I have come pretty close by roasting my own coffee. I can get the green beans from a specialty store (which still follows our no groceries rule).

I researched coffee roasters. They aren’t cheap and from reviews it seems that most of them are very short lived. Then I found out that you can roast coffee in an air popcorn popper. Yep, that’s right, an air popcorn popper. We have an old one, that has, well, seen better days as you can see. It’s also probably 20 years old, back when they made things to last. The bright yellow plastic has now turned brown from heavy use. But so far it’s been going strong for nearly a year.

The one thing you have to make sure when buying an air popcorn popper to roast beans is that it rotates when heating because you want the beans constantly moving. With newer poppers you’ll probably burn it out in about 6 months with regular use so I always stick with buying them at thrift stores where they are a dime a dozen. Another option is you use a stovetop popcorn popper. If ours burns up we’ll probably just switch to that style.

You can get beans online from different retailers or from some homebrewing retailers. I recommend getting a sampler pack for your first time. The number of varieties of beans is mind boggling and they all taste different – sometimes drastically different. So find a place that offers 1lb samplers. There’s nothing worse than buying a 5lb bag of beans only to learn that you can’t stand the taste of it.

Roast coffee outside, seriously. Why roast outside? Because it is incredibly smokey and the popper blows the chaff from the beans all over the place. I try to catch as many as I can in the metal colander but it can only do so much. The photos were taken on my stove under the hood because it was too cold that day. My popper takes extra long to roast coffee if it’s cold out, so it’s faster and easier to roast under the hood and then clean up the chaff afterward. Not to mention it also helps save the wear and tear on my poor old popper.

What you will need:
Green coffee beans
Air popcorn popper
Metal colander preferably one with a wire bottom but I don’t have one of those so I just use this one
Pot holders if the popper gets hot
A box fan set on it’s back face so that the air is blowing up. I put mine on a metal patio table that has a perforated top.

How you do it:
1. Depending on the size of your popper put about 1 cup of green beans in it. The beans should just reach the top of the rotating “drum” inside the popper. Turn on popper. Never ever leave the popper unattended. It gets really hot and can very easily catch on fire. Don’t let this scare you though. As long as you are attentive you shouldn’t have an issue.
2. The beans will begin to make a popping sound. This is called the “First Crack.”
3. You will notice that the popping sound slows and stops for a little bit. When it starts to pop again this is the “Second Crack.” You will notice that this popping has a slightly different sound than the first crack. This is when you need to really pay attention. At this point it’s called a “City Roast.” I prefer to roast 30 seconds into the second crack. You can roast it all the way to an Espresso roast but it will change the flavor. I find the lighter roast helps keep away the bitterness. It takes us about 8 minutes to roast the coffee from star to finish. It will probably vary depending on your popper. The longer you roast you’ll also notice the beans become shiny. This is because the cracking sound is caused by the beans creating fissures that release the oils from inside the bean.
4. Unplug the popper and with the pot holders carefully, but quickly, pour the beans into the colander. Be careful! The beans are around 450 deg F.
5. Put the colander on the fan and swirl beans. You want to cool them off as quickly as possible, otherwise they will keep roasting.
6. You will notice now that the beans have expanded about 50%. Put them in an unsealed jar and let them sit overnight to rest. This allows them to release built up gases.
7. Only grind your beans right before you use them. You spent all this time roasting them you don’t want to ruin it by grinding them ahead of time.

Viola! You now have your own home roasted coffee. Enjoy it!

Homemade Soda


What’s so great about homemade soda, especially when you can get it so cheaply everywhere? I’ll tell you why. It’s because you know exactly what is in it. None of that ‘citric acid’ and ‘potassium sorbate’ and NO GMO high fructose corn syrup. Or if you prefer diet soda, you can use your preferred sweetener. And no caffeine! Plus, you can say “I made this!”

Really what you need for soda is 3 things, juice or flavoring, sweetener (if needed), and carbonation. Traditional soda got its carbonation from a slight fermenting of the sugars, and homemade soda is still made this way. I have never made soda this way because I started making and kegging my beer before I tried to make soda. If you have a carbonation system you can false carbonate your soda. I started doing this with my beer, so when I make soda I use this method. Mother Earth News has a good article if you want to try making soda the traditional method. Really the only difference is you let the soda ferment a little to get the carbonation compared to putting carbonation in it, and you don’t need kegs or a CO2 setup.

Mother Earth News Article on Homemade Fermented Soda

I’ve made a couple different sodas; root beer, vanilla cream, sarsaparilla, mint lime, birch beer, and ginger beer. I started by reading Homemade Root Beer, Soda, and Pop by Stephen Cresswell. I’ve made soda from concentrate (I recommend Gnome concentrates) and from scratch. I’ve used all organic products, cane sugar, and splenda (now I only use Stevia for my fake sugar of choice). The most recent soda, Ginger soda, I used a recipe from HRBS, but I modified the ingredient amounts. It turned out pretty good, although I was hoping for more ginger-ness. Anyways, here’s what I did:

1 pound grated fresh ginger – grated with a cheese grater
Juice from 3 medium lemons
8 cups sugar
5 gallons water

Take 1 gallon of the water in a non-reactive saucepan, add the ginger and the sugar and steep over low to medium heat for an hour or two. Then leave the pot to cool. Pour the 1 gallon into the keg, through a strainer fine enough to catch the ginger pieces. Leave the ginger in place and pour the remainder of the water through the ginger, for maximum gingerness. Seal the keg and hook up the CO2 to the out valve, so the CO2 percolates up through the liquid. If you can, refrigerate the keg (because CO2 goes into solution easier in cold liquid). Turn the CO2 on to 12-15 psi and let sit for 24 hours. Take the CO2 off the out valve and put it on the in valve, then hook up your serving line and try your soda. Once the keg gets down about halfway it may need to be re-carbonated a little.

I’m going to make a cranberry-orange soda next. Then a blackberry soda. Try it out!

Elderflower Syrup



This morning was a morning for cocktails.

I don’t mean I got up at 7am and started drinking. Though I might not always decline a mimosa or Bloody Mary when offered (yes, please!), I’m generally not much for the wake-and-partake.

Well, OK, I’ll admit: after 10am, all bets are off. But today I wasn’t drinking cocktails; I was preparing mixers – I swear.

The result of my morning efforts? Three very different (and very tasty) drink syrups that I will be bringing with me to music camp next week.


First, I assembled a tonic syrup made with cinchona (quinine) bark, lemongrass, and citrus – recipe thanks to my good friend and food guru Alanna at Bojon Gourmet. I had always heard that making tonic was a terribly complicated process. After reading The Food Dude’s hilarious article (part 1, part 2) about his tonic-making woes, I had pretty much decided it was not for me. What a mess! But Alanna, ever the intrepid culinary explorer, did all the dirty work and concocted a marvelous little recipe that was easy to follow, and made a superb tonic syrup.

Which, in turn, made a *superb* cocktail. Ahem.

Secondly, I finished processing my very first batch of homemade grenadine (which should never ever EVER be bought from a store, as what is sold is often merely HFCS with some red dye/additives). I had tried some of the good stuff while staying at a friend’s house a few weeks back which they had made from store-bought pomegranate juice. It was remarkably flavorful, with hints of citrus, clove, cinnamon, and pepper. Remembering that I had canned some home-made syrup last year after finding a great deal on pomegranates at the farmer’s market, I decided to doctor it up a bit and see if I couldn’t reproduce their resounding grenadine success. I simmered the syrup with some black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and grapefruit zest. I tried a bit of it while it was cooling, and though it may not be the glorious Nectar of the Gods that Kate and Nathan made, it is certainly not bad.

I’ll be playing around with this recipe a bit (read: mixing a lot of drinks) and will post my findings when I’ve settled on a winner (read: sobered up).

Third syrup of the morning was a syrup infused with the flower of the blue elder plant (which my brother and I harvested locally). Elderflower has received quite a bit of attention recently. I had my first run-in with elderflower this winter at the Charles Dickens Christmas Fair, where I was invited to try St. Germain – a delicious floral liqueur ostensibly infused with flowers hand-picked by old French dudes on bicycles.

Whether this story is true or not, the liqueur certainly got me thinking about elder and I resolved to harvest my own flowers this year and experiment with them. With a bit of searching, I found that two of my favorite foraged food bloggers (Hank Shaw and Langdon Cook) posted elderflower syrup recipes!

Elder grows wild all over the place! Once I knew what I was looking for (and made sure I knew the difference between the flowers of the blue/American elder – GOOD and red elder – BAD; they both grow around here), it was very easy to head out with a pair of garden snippers and a big canvas bag and come home with more elderflower than I could ever wish for.

The process of making elderflower syrup is super easy. A simple syrup is poured over fresh elder flowers and allowed to infuse for several days, then strained and stored.

This syrup can be used in alcoholic drinks, but is also very refreshing mixed with some lemonade, some sparkling water, or (as we happily discovered), added to some strong home-brewed kombucha. Because of the added citric acid, it is somewhat shelf-stable, but I would recommend it be kept in the refrigerator to prevent fermentation.


When harvesting elder, it is best to pick the flower heads early in the morning. As the day progresses and it heats up, the flowers will lose much of their potent scent. Simply cut the entire head off of the branch when collecting – the stems can be discarded later.

Once you have collected enough flowers (one brown paper grocery bag full of flower heads is about enough to make a quart of syrup), they need to be cleaned. The most effective way I have found to remove the flowers from the stems is to rub the clusters of flowers in my palm in a circular motion (like cleaning a paintbrush), allowing the petals to fall off into a large bowl or tray. Once the flowers are gone, the stems can be discarded.


Note: letting the flowers sit for a little bit at this point will give the (inevitable) insect population some time to vacate the premises. Not necessary, but some people don’t like bugs in their drinks.

Elderflower Syrup

4c water
3c sugar
2 lemons, zest and juice
2 Tbsp citric acid (optional – preservative)
4c packed fresh elder flowers (cleaned, stems removed)

In a large non-reactive stock pot, bring the water, sugar, citric acid, and lemon zest up to a boil. Simmer until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the lemon juice. Strain and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, pack the cleaned elder flowers into a jar large enough to accommodate the syrup. Fill the jar with flowers (I make it in quart jars). When the syrup has cooled enough to handle, pour it over the flowers and seal the jar. Let this infusion sit for several days, shaking the jar to agitate the syrup.

When the infusion is finished (taste it after 3-4 days, it should be quite floral and not funky or sour), pour the flowers/syrup into a colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth (over a bowl). Squeeze the remaining syrup out of the flowers, and either discard the flowers or use them for baking (maybe an elderflower cheese tart, or elderflower fritters?).

Keep the syrup in glass jars in the refrigerator for long-term storage.


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A few closing remarks about responsible wild foraging:

- always be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN of your plant before eating something you have foraged. If you are not clear, consult an expert. There are many wonderful books and websites that can give you reliable information, but nothing is as good as a trip out with someone who really knows the local flora.

- that said, don’t get freaked out. Once you know a plant is safe to eat, EAT IT! There is a lot of misinformation about the dangers of foraging. Armed with knowledge and good field guides, the dangers are minimal. If you are really worried, stick to harvesting only plants that have no dangerous look-alikes.

- never “clean out” a plant or area of all of its goodies. Remember that animals and other humans may be relying on this food source, and that the plant needs a certain amount of its own seed to mature in order to reproduce. A good rule of thumb is to only take 1/3 of any forageable plant at a time. This leaves enough to ensure the health and longevity of the plant.

- sometimes a plant can be harvested in several different stages of its life cycle. Remember that elder flowers become elderberries, which are also a tasty wild treat. Flower petals can be shaken directly off the heads (leaving the center of the flower intact to fruit later in the season). If the tree is large, just remember to leave some flowers un-picked to ripen for later foraging!

- plants directly next to busy roads may have icky chemicals from exhaust and oil/car juices leaked into the ground. Be careful where you forage (the farther away from heavy traffic, the better!), and remember to wash everything thoroughly when you get it home.

Saturday’s Farm Diary – Hard Cider

This is a re-post from an entry I did back in April 2009. Since I made beer and cider two weeks ago and posted about how to make beer, I figured I’d re-post the cider recipe too for those that are curious. This current batch is a Cherry-Raspberry cider. I’m really looking forward to trying it. This year we also planted a full size cider apple tree that was grafted from an original Johnny Appleseed tree. Hopefully we can start making our own unfiltered, unpasteurized cider in the future.

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Cider is very easy to make so I’ll go over this process before moving onto beer, which is slightly more complicated.

I haven’t tried making it out of unpasteurized, unfiltered cider yet because I haven’t really had a chance to come across an affordable supply of it. So my directions you can assume is for unfiltered pasteurized cider that you can pick up at just about any grocery store.

For the supplies, you can get most at fermentation supply stores. I really like More Beer (previously known as Beer, Beer, & More Beer) and the have a great online store so you don’t have to live in the SF Bay Area to buy from them.

There are two types of cider that you can try. The first – hard cider – is dry, like wine and is good if you only have access to bottling. The second is draft cider, similar to what you buy at the grocery store (Wyder’s, Fox Barrel, Ace, Woodchuck, Hornsby’s, etc) and is sweeter. I recommend only doing this if you have a cold kegging system (i.e. kegerator) to slow down fermentation or you’re going to serve it out of a keg right away for a party.

Hard Cider directions:

What you will need:
*For the supplies I highly recommend getting a basic brewer kit from More Beer if you plan on trying beer later on*
*You will either need what is written in red or what is in green. You don’t need both.*
Bottle of Star San Sanitizer (4oz)
3/8” Plastic Bottle Filler
Bag of Bottle Caps (1/4lb)
Bottle Capper
24 – 20 oz glass bottles
Kegging kit (see More Beer’s kits)
Funnel
Bottle Brush
Glass Carboy
Plastic Bottling/Sanitation Bucket with Spigot
Airlock
Rubber Stopper with Hole
Hydrometer
Hydrometer Jar
5ft Vinyl Transfer Tubing
Sterile Siphon Starter (Contains Racking Cane with Tubing, Air Filter and Carboy Hood)
5 gallons unfiltered apple/berry/pear/pomegranate/peach/cherry juice or combination of.
(2) Cider Yeast (You only need one if you are going to keg)
4 oz. corn sugar (only needed if you are bottling and not kegging)

Directions:

1. STERILIZE STERILIZE STERILIZE! It’s very important that you sterilize everything that comes into contact with the cider, esp since you don’t heat anything in this process. You don’t want apple cider vinegar. Right now this only includes the carboy, funnel, airlock and stopper.

2. Pour some cider into the hydrometer jar and take the starting specific gravity reading. Make sure to write it somewhere safe because you will need to refer back to it in a few weeks. Do not pour the juice back into the container.

3. Using the funnel, pour the juice into the carboy. Add one container of yeast to the juice (called pitching the yeast). Put water into the airlock up to the line, cap it, put it into the stopper (or carboy hood) and plug the carboy. Shake carboy for approx. 2 minutes to oxygenate juice.

4. Place carboy in a dark, cool place for several weeks. After the first 10 days start taking daily hydrometer readings with the sterile siphon starter (follow instructions for use and sterilize before using). When the hydrometer readings are static it’s time to bottle. This is important because if there is still too much sugar in the cider your bottles may explode after bottling.

5. Using the sterile siphon starter and transfer tubing (Make sure to sterilize first!) start siphoning cider into the sterile plastic bucket (called racking) making sure to not suck up the dead yeast on the bottom of the carboy. As the level gets lower you can gently tilt the carboy to avoid the dead yeast.

6. Boil 1-2 cups of water. Dissolve corn sugar in boiling water. Let cool and add to cider in bucket. Pitch the remaining container of yeast.

7. Sterilize bottles. Hook up transfer tubing and bottle filler to spigot on bucket and start filling bottles. When using the bottle filler, just touch the bottom of the bottle filler to the bottom of the bottle. Fill all the way to the top of the bottle. This will allow the proper head room when you remove the bottle filler from the bottle. Using the bottle capper, add sterilized bottle caps to each filled bottle.

If you have a kegging system, simply fill a sterilized keg with the cider without adding the yeast and corn sugar. Click here for directions on kegging.

8. Store bottles in a dark area for 2 weeks. This allows the cider enough time to go through a secondary fermentation and become carbonated.

Draft Cider Directions:

Draft cider is started and made exactly like kegged Hard Cider except one key difference. You only ferment 4 gallons instead of 5 gallons. After the initial fermentation, rack it into the bucket and add the remaining gallon of unfermented juice. Immediately keg and either serve immediately after carbonating or put keg in your kegerator. We have converted an old mini fridge into a kegerator using a conversion kit.


Drink up!!!


Saturday’s Farm Diary – Beer!

One of our wedding beers

When I first met Tom he was a lager drinker – primarily Heineken. Back then I was regularly making beer. I’m not quite sure why I make beer because I don’t drink it (bad experience in college turned me off of it). Tom quickly changed into a beer snob. Yes, I created a monster. But that’s ok, he helps keep me brewing. I’ve always been one to just use malt extract kits from Beer, Beer, and More Beer. They are easy and cheap. All of the ingredients that you need are included and premeasured. And the bonus is that they are always consistent. We even used these kits to make all of the beer for our wedding (Scotch Ale, Imperial Stout, and Hefeweizen). I also made a hard cherry cider that was apparently a huge hit. Our guests blew the keg before the reception was over.

But no more! This week I finally delved into making my own recipe. Using the basic guidelines for ale found in The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition (Harperresource Book) I developed a recipe for a Honey Apricot Ale. We brewed it on Tuesday and I’m looking forward to trying it later next week. I’ll continue doing my own recipes and hope to eventually graduate to mini mash brewing.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to tease you. Here is a basic Strong Scotch Ale Recipe that you can make:

First off, if you don’t have homebrewing equipment you’ll want to get a kit. Most fermentation supply companies have them or you can order online. It’s a bit pricey, but the investment is well worth it! It will make 5 gallons of beer and even with the cost of ingredients it will pay for itself quickly if you love good beer. You will also need grain bags and hop bags and 24 22-oz bottles and caps (if you’re bottling) or a 5 gallon Cornelious Keg and accessories.

Note: It is EXTREMELY important to sterilize anything that comes into contact with the beer after the boiling stage. If you don’t sterilize you will end up with vinegar or just a vile, off tasting drink.

Ingredients:

5 gallons distilled or filtered water
10 lbs Light Malt Extract
1 lb Crystal Malt (cracked)
1/4 lb Chocolate Malt (cracked)
1/4 lb Roasted Malt (cracked)
2 oz Cascade Hops
1 Whirfloc Tablet
4 oz Corn Sugar (if bottling)
2 containers Edinburgh Yeast Culture (only 1 is needed if you’re kegging)

Process:
1. In a 5 gallon kettle add 2-3 gallons and grain in grain bag. Heat water with grain to 170 F taking about 30 minutes to do so. If it heats up faster than that, keep it at 170 F until 30 min. is up.
2. Remove grain bag and bring water to a boil.
3. Remove from heat and stir in extract. You want to remove it from the heat to keep the extract from burning on the bottom of the pot. You now have what’s called sweet wort.
4. Bring mixture up to a boil. Keep an eye on it because it will foam up and create a sticky mess. If it starts to foam reduce the heat until the foam goes down and then turn the heat back up.
5. Once the mixture is boiling add the hops in the hops bag. Boil mixture for 60 minutes.
6. With 20 minutes left in the boil add the Whirfloc tablet. This will bind with proteins in the wort to help clarify the beer.
7. Once the boil time is complete cool the wort off in a cold water bath to 130 F.
8. Using the funnel, pour the remaining water into your carboy followed by the sweet wort. Using a sterilized sample taker, remove some of the wort and use it to take a hydrometer reading.
9. Add one container of yeast to the wort (called pitching the yeast). Put water into the airlock up to the line, cap it, put it into the stopper (or carboy hood) and plug the carboy. Shake carboy for approx. 2 minutes to oxygenate wort.

10. Place carboy in a dark, cool place for several weeks. After the first 10 days start taking daily hydrometer readings with the sterile sample taker (follow instructions for use and sterilize before using). When the hydrometer readings are static it’s time to bottle. This is important because if there is still too much sugar in the beer your bottles may explode after bottling.
11. Using the sterile siphon starter and transfer tubing (Make sure to sterilize first!) start siphoning beer into the sterile plastic bucket (called racking) making sure to not suck up the dead yeast on the bottom of the carboy. As the level gets lower you can gently tilt the carboy to avoid the dead yeast.
12. Boil 1-2 cups of water. Dissolve corn sugar in boiling water. Let cool and add to beer in bucket. Pitch the remaining container of yeast. I prefer to pitch this second yeast for better carbonation results when bottling.
13. Sterilize bottles. Hook up transfer tubing and bottle filler to spigot on bucket and start filling bottles. When using the bottle filler, just touch the bottom of the bottle filler to the bottom of the bottle. Fill all the way to the top of the bottle. This will allow the proper head room when you remove the bottle filler from the bottle. Using the bottle capper, add sterilized bottle caps to each filled bottle.
14. Store bottles in a dark area for 2 weeks. This allows the beer enough time to go through a secondary fermentation and become carbonated.

If you have a kegging system, simply fill a sterilized keg with the beer without adding the yeast and corn sugar. Click here for directions on kegging.

Drink up!!!

When Life Gives you Lemons, make Limoncello….

There isn’t quite anything like sipping on ice cold limoncello after dinner with good friends on a hot summer night. It can be hard to find and is never cheap. However, you can easily make it at home and it tastes so much better. It’s great to start now when you are probably drowning in extra lemons that you don’t know what to do with. I prefer to use Lisbon or Eureka lemons over Meyer lemons. The Meyer’s just don’t offer the real lemony taste that I feel this drink calls for. Plus you would need about double the amount of Meyer’s as they tend to be much smaller. The longer you let the mixture sit, the more intense the flavor will be. I like to go about 20 days on each rest period to allow it to mellow while also having some intensity.

Ingredients
18 Lisbon or Eureka lemons, washed and dried
2 750mL bottles of 100 proof vodka (I prefer Stolichnaya)
5 cups of water
4 1/2 cups raw sugar

Instructions
1. Avoiding the pith (white part of the peel) remove the lemon zest with a sharp knife into a large glass or ceramic pitcher.
2. Pour one 750mL bottle of vodka over the zest, cover tightly and store in a cool dark place for 15-30 days.
3. In a saucepan combine water and sugar and heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool.
4. Add syrup and remaining vodka to the lemon zest and vodka mixture. Cover and let sit again in a cool dark place for 14-30 days.
5. Strain mixture into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place or give away as gifts.

Refrigerate before serving or pour over ice. A little goes a long way so I recommend serving it in cordial glasses.