Monday, March 4, 2013
The branches of grapefruit trees hang low with heavy, ripe, sweet fruit in the Valley right now. The only sensible option --no arguing here, it is the only sensible option-- is to make a batch of Alice Water's vin de pamplemousse,or grapefruit wine. If you're finding yourself drowning in citrus, consider this your lifeline. It's delicious beyond imagining.
yields about three liters
3 bottles crisp, dry white, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1.5 cups vodka
4 grapefruit, sliced in 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 Meyer lemons, sliced in 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 vanilla bean, split
1 cup sugar
Place all of the ingredients in a large, glass pitcher and agitate until the sugar is dissolved. Store in your refrigerator, stirring as it comes to mind, perhaps once or twice a week.
Taste weekly, adding sugar to adjust the sweetness as desired. Careful, not too much, or you will lose some of the delightful, bitter complexity of the grapefruit.
After about four weeks, strain the mixture through several layers of cheesecloth into glass bottles and store in the refrigerator.
The exact alcohol percentage depends on the original wine used, but I generally consider similar to port, at about 18 to 20 percent.