Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in.
It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of seeing your face. Last time we met, I saw you eying the twenty something blonde at the next table.
After 6 years together, I’ll admit my looks were fading, the crow’s feet becoming ever more apparent. That can really do a number on a girl’s ego. So I took a leave of absence, while I (or rather, the blog) underwent a major makeover, complete with many necessary lifts and tucks. The unwanted was removed. The good was enhanced. Silicon was implanted.
Going under the knife was an unsettling experience. It had all the makings of a quagmire, overrun by smoke signals that recovery would never come. But after hiding out for the past few months underneath mounds of bandages, the scars healed and the blog is anew, perky even, like a svelte 26-year-old waiting to be objectified.
Take a look around. Evaluate my curves. Run your fingers through my hair. Kick the tires.
Like what you see? Me too.
And thus, it is time to celebrate. With booze.
Rakija, similar to Greek ouzo or Italian grappa, is one of the greatest pleasures of living in Croatia. This potent firewater distilled from the leftovers from wine production can strip the paint off a car or your soul. There is no better way to shake off the trauma of my reconstruction.
Croatia’s rakija comes in every flavor and color. Depending on the region, it can be flavored with fresh figs, quince, honey, apricot, cherry, walnut or mistletoe. Even truffle rakija is not out of the question.
One of my favorite flavors is lemon, made like limoncello in Italy. It is simply a maceration of lemons, sugar and booze left to stew for a few weeks while you wait impatiently in anticipation.
My batch was ready the day before my new look was revealed to the world. The timing could not have been better.
Raise your glass in the name of restoration.
Lemon Rakija (Croatian Limoncello) Recipe
1 liter unflavored rakija, grappa or everclear
3-4 lemons, organic
2-3 handfuls of sugar (approximately 50-75 grams)
Notes for your perusal
Most of the lemon flavor comes from the rind of the lemon, so it is always best to use homegrown or organic lemons that have been grown without chemicals.
You’ll need a large glass resealable jar with an opening big enough to fit the lemons through.
For the rakija
Cut the lemons in half. Squeeze their juice into the jar, then throw in the lemon rinds as well. Pour in the sugar, depending on your sweetness preference. Pour in the rakija. Tighten the lid, then shake the jar to help dissolve the sugar.
Store the rakija out of sunlight in a cool place. Shake the jar every day for the first few days to dissolve the sugar. After 2-3 weeks, the rakija will begin to yellow and the lemon rinds will become more pale. Give it a taste. If the flavor and sweetness is to your liking, then it’s ready.
Strain out the lemons and seeds. As the lemons have soaked up a lot of the grappa, squeeze the lemons again to get every ounce of rakija out. Store the strained rakija in a resealable jar or bottle at room temperature or in the refrigerator.