Recipe: Pomelocello


Pomelo pulp may be fabulous, but I am just as enamored with this giant citrus fruit's peel. A really fragrant pomelo can fill up a whole room with its seductively bittersweet, floral smell -- a cross between grapefruit, lemon, and rose. Pomelo peel can be candied, made into marmalade, and even used in cosmetics. Or you can turn it into pomelocello, my riff on the classic lemon-based limoncello.

To make this you'll want to use really fragrant yellow or pink pomelos, preferably unsprayed and a bit oily to the touch. I've met several homeowners in Los Angeles who either don't know what the pomelos in their yards are, or simply can't deal with the massive quantities of head-sized fruits ripening on their trees. Just ask and they might gladly give you some. Or look for organic pomelos at the farmers' market.

When your pomelocello is ready you can use this sunshine-y liqueur in many different ways:

• Serve it chilled and neat as a digestif
• Add it to sparkling water for refreshing drink
• Drizzle it over pound cake
• Mix it with confectioner's sugar to make icing
• Pour it on top of ice cream
• Use it to punch up fruit salads
• Whisk it into salad dressings and marinades

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Makes about 1 quart

  • 2 yellow or pink pomelos (preferably organic)
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle of 100-proof vodka
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 cup boiling-hot water

Gently wash and dry the pomelos. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the pomelos, taking care to avoid the bitter white pith. If necessary, trim away any large pieces of pith with a paring knife. (Reserve the pomelo flesh for another use.)

Place the peels in a quart-size mason jar and cover with vodka. Cover the jar tightly and shake it daily for at least 1 week and up to 1 month. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor and color will be.

Using a strainer lined with a coffee filter, strain the infused vodka and discard the peels.

Combine the sugar and hot water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let cool.

Add the cooled sugar syrup to the infused vodka. Refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe Notes:
• Sweetness is up to personal preference, so feel free to use more sugar. To make any amount of sugar syrup, simply use the ratio of 1 part sugar to 1 part water.

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