Etrog Liquor

by Shoshana on October 13, 2010 · 6 comments

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Once the holiday of sukkot is over I always look for tasty and creative ways to use up my etrog (citron). Some years I have made preserves. Other years I have made candy. A few years ago my friend Dan gave me a taste of some delicious etrog liquor he had made, and I knew that I needed to make some for myself. This liquor requires a few etrogs, so it may be necessary to beg them from friends, but if you return the favor by giving them a bottle of this liquor they are sure to be willing to give you their etrogs year after year.

The liquor is basically a limoncello recipe made with etrogs rather than lemons. Like most liquor it needs to steep for quite a while before it is ready to drink, but the active time required to make it is quite minimal. It makes great presents and keeps extremely well, so I always make as big a batch as I can depending on how many etrogs I am able to collect. It is great as an after dinner drink and a splash added to fruit salad really makes for something special.

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Etrog Liquor

Ingredients
5-6 Etrogs (citrons)
1 (750 ml) bottle 100-proof vodka*
1 vanilla bean
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water

* Use 100-proof vodka, which has less flavor than a lower proof one. It also keeps the finished liquor from being too sweet and the high alcohol content ensures that the liquor will not turn to ice in the freezer.

Step 1:
Wash the etrogs with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax. Pat them dry.

Pour 1/2 the vodka into a large glass jar with the vanilla bean. Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel. Use only the outer part of the rind. The pith, the white part underneath the rind, is too bitter and would spoil your liquor. Add the lemon zest directly to the jar as it is zested.

Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least ten days and up to forty days in a cool dark place. The longer it rests, the better the taste will be. As it sits, the vodka will slowly take on the flavor and rich yellow color of the zest.

Step Two:

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water.  Cook until thickened, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the vodka mixture. Once the syrup is cool pour it into the jar with the vodka. Add the remaining vodka. Allow to rest for another ten to forty days.

Step Three:
After the liquor has rested for the second time strain the mixture, discarding the lemon zest and vanilla bean. Pour into bottles. The liquor is best served chilled, so store it in the freezer until ready to use. It will keep fine at room temperature as well, but should be chilled before drinking.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Milen October 28, 2010 at 11:51 am

I collected Etrogim to make this delicious recipe but then someone suggested that the etrogim have the highest levels of pesticides since they need to turn out prefect…. any truth in the rumor?

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Shoshana October 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I have heard that as well, but I don’t know for sure. I make sure to wash them well and figure that I am only using them once a year so the total impact of the pesticides is minimal.

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jessica December 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm

wow! what a good idea! i’ve made other flavored vodkas before, but never thought of making etrog liquor – i will DEFINITELY have to try this after next sukkot. i might have to start begging my friends for their etrogim from now…

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Chana November 25, 2012 at 5:24 am

I hunted a while to find the best recipe and this sounded most true to a liqueur. I tried it and WOW this is a perfect ratio and I am so pleased with the results. My husband took a bottle to shul to share the good and one of the guys bought it he liked it so much. LOL Thanks for posting such a great recipe. I will enjoy it every year. Be well. Hazlacha rabbah.

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Shragi October 5, 2013 at 4:33 am

This worked out unbelievably. I made it last succot and had the hot of using it for the sholem zochor and brit this succot for our firstborn son born on kol nidrei night :-)…. You may even say is a Segulah…

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Shoshana October 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Mazel tov on the new addition! I’m glad the recipe worked out so well for you.

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