Someone walked past with a kumquat tree in their cart and my mother gasped, and I must admit, it was a lovely little tree. Then another person went by with a kumquat tree, and I could tell my mother was going to lose it. You see, my mother doesn’t ooh and aah over shoes, or jewelry or fancy cars; she loses her cool over babies, and baby animals, and–plants! So when someone pushed the third kumquat tree past us within a matter of about three minutes, I knew it was a sign. Yep, while we were shopping and went past the fruit trees, we put a kumquat tree in our cart, too. The only thing was that my mother lives in Michigan, so I was the one getting the tree, having no clue where I’d even put it (good thing it was a small tree for patio growing).
That little tree was so prolific its first year, it was very surprising, and it had even more this year, so Mum and I decided to have a go at making a kumquat version of Limoncello. I had written down a recipe Zia Iolanda had given me when I was about 19, and I also adapted part of my Zia Francesca’s Limoncello recipe that I use and made my own recipe for this concoction. It turned out really good, but fair warning, it’s very strong–like a good Limoncello.
makes about one bottle (750ml)
about 2 cups of kumquats
1/2 liter (500 ml) of alcohol, 45 proof, like Everclear (or unflavored vodka, but I don’t recommend it)
1 cup (250 g) sugar
10 oz water
Peel the kumquats, and place the rind in a large glass jar or container then cover with the alcohol. Seal with a lid leave in a cool, dark place for 10 days.
Put the sugar and 10 ounces of water into a pot over medium heat, and stir to melt the sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and cool completely. When cool, mix the sugar syrup with the alcohol and strain again, this time using a cheesecloth or even some paper towel inside the tea strainer (like I used in the photo above), then pour into small bottles or one larger bottle.
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