Buddha’s Hand is fragrant to a crazy degree. Having first smelled it a few years ago I immediately made the connection to make a version of limoncello with it.
The problem with trying to secure Buddha’s Hand is that it isn’t available year round. You have to wait until mid October at least and then good luck finding it at a store near you. Thankfully I spent part of 2018 living in Portland where finding it was relatively simple.
Having secured two Buddha’s Hands, now came the hard part: the zesting.
Buddha’s Hand differs from other citrus in that the white pith below the skin is NOT bitter which is great news since I have been stung with a little bitter flavor in my previous limoncello-making adventures. You also can’t merely zest it using a microplane, the extensive number of curves and crannies prevents. The solution I discovered was to use a “Y peeler” to take off the easy bits, then bisect the plant between the fingers and peel off the harder sections.
It takes a while, about 45 minutes per plant to zest it. What’s left is pretty unusable since all of the fragrancy is in the skin. The “flesh” is actually pretty tasteless.
Into a tinted brown Ball jar the peels went, along with six cups of vodka and there it sat for six weeks, undisturbed except for the occasional shaking. Throughout this period, I would constantly open the jar and the smell was positively intoxicating.
After the six weeks were up, in went the simple syrup to sweeten the deal: one cup of sugar mixed with one cup of boiling water which yielded nearly two cups of syrup. It sat for one more week until I opened it this week.
The result? Amazing!
First drink I set about to making was a modified version of the lemon drop listed below.
If you think you might want to undertake this experiment, it is well worth the effort.
Buddha-cello lemon drop
- 2 oz Buddha’s Hand infused vodka
- 1 oz * FRESH * lemon juice
- 1/2 oz Triple Sec
Mix in a sugar rimmed martini or coupe glass.