For many years, I have made liqueur from etrog, a very rare citrus fruit—“the fruit of a goodly tree,” as it is reverently referred to—used in the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Every year at the end of the holiday, I call all my friends in the nick of time to bum their etrog before it gets discarded and proceed to make gallons of a fascinating liqueur, diligently and resignedly removing the myriad pits contained in the fruit before slicing it and combining it with other ingredients. This year I decided that since the fruit is so rare and the liqueur made from it so labor-intensive, I would experiment with the fruit that comes closest to it in flavor—the more reliable and widely available grapefruit. I even pushed my luck and made it with agave syrup and made a gallon of fabulous liqueur in no time. After about a week, I sampled the delicious dram: It was a triumph!
- 2 large grapefruit
- 4 cups white agave syrup
- 8 cups vodka (generic brand OK)
Scrub the fruit thoroughly with a vegetable brush under warm water, and cut it in eighths, then in thin slices, by hand or using the slicing blade of a food processor, removing any occasional pits. Place the fruit in a wide bottom stainless steel pot, add the syrup and vodka, mix thoroughly and bring to just below boiling. Transfer the mixture to clean wide-mouth jars. Let the mixture sit for a week at room temperature. Before using, strain the amount you intend to use and leave the rest in the jar, fruit and all.
Don’t just discard the fruit when most of the liquid has been used: Throw in a little more vodka and agave in the jar and let the mixture steep again a few days. The longer it sits the more intense the flavor. Serve chilled. Makes about 1 gallon mixture, 2 quarts clear liqueur. Store at room temperature.
Variation: Apple Liqueur
Substitute 4 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, quartered and sliced thin, for the grapefruit, and proceed just as above.
Picture straight from my Latest Cookbook, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen