Calamansi juice tastes sharply acidic with a delicate floral note reminiscent of lime, tangerine, and pomelo. It's a popular drink in the Philippines, made similarly to lemonade and limeade - blending sharp citrus with mellow-sweet simple syrup for an easy, refreshing drink.
What is it?
Calamansi juice comes from the calamansi citrus fruit (Citrofortunella microcarpa) which is also called the calamondin. It's native to Southeast Asia, and used extensively in Filipino cooking.
The fruit tastes something like a cross between a lime, tangerine, and kumquat with a distinct sourness and delicate floral notes. When making Calamansi juice, you'll tame that sharp acidity with a little simple syrup and dilute it with water, similar to making lemonade or limeade.
With only three ingredients, calamansi juice is a breeze to make. You begin first by juicing the calamansi fruit, then you'll make a simple syrup, and blend both the juice and syrup together with water before serving. There's a few tips to keep in mind.
- If you can't find calamansi locally, you can order it online.
- Use a hand-held citrus press to juice fresh calamansi. Split the fruit in half cross-wise, and then tuck a few into the press and squeeze tightly to release the juice. Strain it well to remove seeds.
- Make the simple syrup. It's tempting to ditch the simple syrup and whisk sugar (or another sweetener as you like it) straight into the juice and water, but making a syrup first will ensure that the sugar dissolves smoothly without any grittiness.
- If you're not serving it right away, just stir the (cooled) simple syrup into the juice, and store it in an airtight jar in the fridge up to 1 week. When you want a drink, swirl a few spoonfuls into water and ice.
Calamansi Juice Recipe
- 4 cups water (divided)
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 cup calamansi juice
Make the simple syrup.
- Pour 1 cup water into a small saucepan, and then stir in the sugar. Whisk together over medium-high heat, until the sugar dissolves completely. Then turn off the heat, and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
Mixing the calamansi juice.
- When the syrup cools to room temperature, pour it into a 2-quart pitcher. Pour in the remaining 3 cups water and the calamansi juice. Stir to combine, and then pour over ice to serve. If you're not using it all right away, store it in the fridge up to 1 week.
Infuse the simple syrup with herbs, then strain them after the syrup cools to room temperature. Ginger, coriander, lemongrass, and cardamom partner well with citrus fruits.
If you can't find calamansi, you can use a mixture of lime and tangerine juice. It's not quite the same, but a nice blend.
Swap the sugar for a sweetener of your choice, such as honey or coconut sugar or nectar.