Wednesday, January 20, 2010

When Life Gives You Limoncello - A New Drink Of The Month & Must Have Gadget Of The Month

When life gives you Limoncello, go ahead and ask life if it wouldn't mind throwing in a bottle of vodka, so you can make the drink of the month...a Limoncello martini.

When it comes to stocking my bar, as much as I love trying new spirits, I tend to be a minimalist. Personally, most days I'm content with just the two basic booze groups: white and brown. I need only add a few olives on a toothpick to a glass of chilled gin to call it a mixed drink and as far as the brown booze group goes, if you get an ice cube anywhere near my glass I'll kick your ass. I like my brown liquor neat. But when I'm entertaining guests I like to have something to offer them that falls outside of the two basic booze groups... I like to do it, however, without breaking the bank. That's where something like Limoncello comes in. Offering your guests a "drink of the night" (or something that doesn't sound quite so cheesy) can make all the difference in the world AND you don't have to break the bank buying a half dozen types of liquor to make it happen.

Limoncello is a sweet Italian lemon liqueur. A bottle of it runs about $16 and a bottle of my bar staple vodka, Svedka, runs $9.99 for a fifth...nice right!? Those are the only two ingredients you need to make this martini. Just mix three parts vodka with one part Limoncello, shake over ice and serve. A trained monkey could make this drink which makes it the perfect cocktail for me.

Ok, ok. It's not the most exciting sounding drink is it? I agree. But it is delicious. In fact, Nick and I served this martini to friends of ours over the holidays and they loved it so much that they ran out and bought a bottle of Limoncello when they got home and served the same drink to US when we went to THEIR house for dinner a few weeks later. The proof is in the pudding go ahead and try it. But if you're still not excited about the drink might I offer a way to really jazz it up???? Those same friends that loved the Limoncello martini gave me a bar tending book for Christmas and inside was a recipe for something called "lemon dust". When you rim your martini glass with this yummy and oh so easy to make concoction, the Limoncello martini will be sure to impress.

Lemon Dust:
3 Lemons
2 tbs. superfine sugar

Preheat your oven to as low as it will go (probably about 150 degrees). Zest the lemons and place the zest on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about an hour until all the moisture has been removed from the zest (don't color the zest...if it starts to brown remove immediately). Then transfer the zest and sugar to a coffee grinder or small food processor and blitz until it looks like dust. If you don't have a food processor you might be able to get away with just milling it down to dust between your fingers. The zest will be so dry and brittle when it's finished baking that it will pretty much just fall apart on it's own.

You may be saying...but how do I zest my're going to have to go out and buy yourself something nice...go ahead and treat yourself to my newest "can't live without it" kitchen gadget...the Microplane!!!

I know, I know. Microplanes have been around forever. Why am I so excited about them now? Well, I'm notoriously clumsy in the kitchen (and have the burns and scars to prove it) so friends and family are often reluctant to buy me anything razor sharp as a gift...BUT...this year I received not one but TWO Microplanes and I've been zesting everything under the sun (except my little pinkies thank you very much). This is my Gadget Of The Month and if I keep microplaning like I've been it might just be my gadget of the year. I use it for garlic, ginger, citrus name it!

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