I stumbled across them at the local grocery store yesterday, which reminded me I still had a delicious and easy to make spiced kumquat liqueur lingering in my fridge, that is in dire need of a blog post and also a chilled glass after a long day.
You heard me wax poetic about them during the last Waste Not Want Not Challenge. But when you have a bumper crop of these feisty little citrus fruits and are determined to use them all, it's easy to run out of steam. Kumquat upsidedown cake, kumquat chutney, kumquat tangine, kumquat marmalade, kumquat ice cream, kumquat fennel salad dressing... I WAS SO SICK OF KUMQUATS! And still had several pints left to use up! How do you use a ton of kumquats quickly?!
Few recipes are as easy a way to use a boatload of kumquats as making a take on limoncello, which basically starts out as an infused vodka, so that's where I finished my Waste Not Want Not Challenge. But being more than a little extra when it comes to a good DIY, I took it several steps further to a delicious spiced kumquat-ginger cocktail. As I work my way through this recipe, remember two things:
1) Kumquats hold their sugar in their peels, unlike normal citrus, so the PEELS ARE SWEET. This gives them a special, unique flavor and bright, sunny complexity.
2) You do not have to take this recipe all the way to the end. It's delicious as an infused vodka. It's delicious as a kumquat-cello, It's delicious as a spiced kumquat infusion. It's my favorite as a finished cocktail with some Cannonborough Beverage Co ginger beer. I'm getting ahead of myself.
Kumquat Infused Vodka
Destem roughly 4 cups kumquats by firmly twisting stems, if attached. Lightly scrub peels under running water.
Remove seeds, as they will add undesirable bitterness. This is often easiest by slicing kumquat in half width-wise, and then gently squeezing fruit. Slice remaining fruit into rounds, including peels.
Put kumquats into glass jar (plastic will leach into alcohol and absorb scent). Pour one 750ml bottle vodka over sliced kumquats. Seal tightly, shake vigorously. NOTE: The type of vodka you choose DOES MATTER. I've made this twice. Once with Tito's, once with a cheaper potato-based vodka. I highly recommend starting with a smooth, moderately priced vodka with a softer flavor. Harsh vodka? Harsh liqueur.
Let vodka infuse in cool, dark place for 4 days, or to taste. Agitate jars for stronger flavor.
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Kumquat Cardamom Liqueur
Infuse vodka according to instructions above.
Lay 10 green cardamom pods on cutting board, place flat side of chef's knife over pods. Apply pressure until pods are lightly crushed. Pour pods into kumquat-infused vodka. Leave for 24 hours, or as desired.
Strain kumquat cardamom vodka through cheesecloth or kitchen sieve into new, larger jar.
Combine 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water in non-reactive pot over medium heat, stirring frequently. Heat until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove and allow to fully cool.
Once simple syrup has cooled, pour into kumquat cardamom infused vodka and stir. Store in refrigerator, serve chilled, and enjoy!
Spiced Kumquat Splash
Combine equal parts chilled kumquat cardamom liqueur with ginger beer in chilled glass. NOTE: I picked Cannonborough Beverage Co Ginger Beer because it's flippin' delicious, made locally, and I know what's in it. I love the fiery little kick!
Relax and enjoy!
I love this every step of the way! The kumquatcello was a huge hit with the fam, but there's something so lovely about relaxing with a tiny glass of kumquat cardamom liqueur after a long day. It's sweet, it's fragrant, it's exotic, and has a charming complexity.
The Spiced Kumquat Splash is where it's at for me. It's the perfect cocktail for catching up with an old friend or just sitting on the porch swing, watching a spring evening go by.
The best part, though, is knowing that I used every one of those urban-foraged backyard-grown, pesticide and fertilizer-free kumquats. They appeared as nutritious meals at family gatherings, were shared with neighbors in the form of sweet treats, and linger still as bright, zingy treats in my fridge, with no harmful environmental impact!
As always, pinkies out and bottoms up!