The Hot List: Winter Citrus

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When the weather gets cold and the days short, a shot of liquid sunshine can make winter seem a little more bearable.

Unfortunately, many people assume that citrus fruit is just in season during the summer. Actually, a number of varieties are ripe right now, including sweet clementines, zesty Meyer lemons, kumquats and more. And they all work wonderfully in cocktails: Think of warm mulled wine with clove, cinnamon and orange notes, or a quaffable brunch Mimosa.

For instance, my Citrus 75 is a tasty combination of clementine juice, homemade limoncello, fresh lemon juice and honey syrup. It’s finished with a splash of refreshing bubbly, which adds a festive air.

You can also find towering piles of alluring ruby red grapefruits in stores this time of year. I love what their brightness brings to a classic Negroni (pictured above). I’ve played around with the recipe’s traditional measurements to create a Grapefruit Negroni, which is a bit less bitter than the original drink but is still a delicious aperitif.

Of course, we all know citrus as a garnish—twists and wheels grace many a tipple. But a light dusting of fresh zest lends any concoction a great pop of flavor and aroma.

So shake off those cold-weather cares and shake up some sunny citrus sips!

Citrus 75

Contributed by Kathy Casey

INGREDIENTS:

  • Half a clementine
  • 1.5 oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • .5 oz Homemade Limoncello*
  • .75 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz Honey syrup (one part honey, one part water)
  • 1 oz Moet & Chandon Impérial Champagne, chilled
  • Garnish: Lemon twist or clementine slice
  • Glass: Martini

PREPARATION:
In a shaker, muddle the clementine. Add the remaining ingredients except the Champagne and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Martini glass. Add a splash of champagne and garnish with a lemon twist or a thin slice of clementine.

 

*Homemade Limoncello
INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Lemons
  • 12 oz Citrus vodka
  • .75 cups Sugar
  • 4 oz Water

PREPARATION:
Peel the zest from the lemons, being sure not to get any white pith. (Reserve the rest of the lemon for another use.) Place the zest in a clean 1-quart glass jar with a lid. Add the vodka, seal and shake well. Let stand at room temperature for 1 week, shaking every couple days. Strain into a bottle or other container.

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Add to the vodka, seal tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 months or in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.

Grapefruit Negroni

Contributed by Kathy Casey

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Long, wide slice of grapefruit peel
  • 2 Peeled ruby red grapefruit segments (or 1 oz fresh ruby red grapefruit juice)
  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Sweet vermouth
  • .5 oz Campari
  • Glass: Old Fashioned

PREPARATION:
Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice, curl the grapefruit peel around the inside of the glass and set aside. Squeeze the grapefruit segments into a shaker and drop in the fruit. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into the prepared glass.

Kathy Casey is a celebrity chef, mixologist and entertaining expert. Catch her on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, on Twitter,on her blog Dishing with Kathy Casey or on her Sips & Apps page on Facebook.

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