The thing I most like about yuzu — i.e., Asian citron — is the fantastic, distinctive flavor of the zest. It’s a bit like lemon zest but brighter, warmer, exotically mellow. I can think about yuzu and taste it in my mind.
While a few top sushi bars get fresh yuzu, it isn’t readily available to mere mortals. So we make due with expensive little bottles of yuzu juice or yuzu vinegar that show up in gourmet food markets like Star Provisions.
But if you know what to look for, you can readily find this product in any market that stocks Korean groceries. Called “Korean Honey Citron Tea,” it is meant to be dissolved in hot water for a beverage and only costs about $6 for a kilo jar. It tastes like a thick, sweet marmalade, and so we use it as such. In fact, it makes a mighty fine PB&J.
But then my mind went to, um, less childlike pleasures, and I started thinking about how tasty a yuzu cocktail would be. So I picked up a handy-dandy fifth of Smirnoff vodka and blended it with about a cup of the yuzu marmalade in a large bowl. It was a little tricky getting the thick strips of yuzu peel in the bottle (note to self: buy a funnel), but I managed. There was about a cup of overflow that ended up, appropriately enough, in a jam jar.
After three days I had a gorgeously infused liqueur — a little syrupy on its own but perfect as a mixer. In fact, a blend of rye whiskey and yuzu liqueur made a great Old Fashioned. Guess now I have to come up with some cutesy name, like Geisha’s Breath. Or Meiji Martini.