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Local Libations: Candied Kumquat Sidecar

2010 September 3

by Kat Durant

Although it’s been feeling like fall in NYC it is still very much summer here in San Diego. Todays Garden Fresh Cocktail integrates a warm weather liquor with a tasty summer fruit to go along with the comforting taste of Sarah’s risotto.  This recipe requires some advance preparation, now is the perfect time to get it started so it will be ready when the cold weather is finally upon us.

Walking around my neighborhood one day I spotted a kumquat tree covered in fruit in a neighbor’s back yard.  My neighbor gave me the green light to pick some, which I took home and used to make a kumquat infused brandy. Scoring a free neighborhood harvest is always a bonus! Recently Brianna told me about a site called that allows you to connect with your neighbors to trade your backyard goodies; share what you have too much of while getting what you need to complete your favorite recipes with out a trip to the store — sounds good to me!

The kumquat infusion gave me a great idea: to make a variation on the classic sidecar cocktail.  Normally a sidecar calls for  Grand Marnier, a sweet orange flavored liqueur.  For this recipe I am replacing the Grand Marnier with my homemade kumquat infusion. The infusion needs up to 30 days for the sugar to  do its work and achieve full candy flavor. I used mine after 1 week and it still had the citrus-y flavor I was hoping for.

To make the kumquat infused brandy
Take 4 parts brandy to 1 part sugar and pour into a jar that can be sealed, add 8-12 whole kumquats.
Seal the jar tightly.  Mix well and then continue to shake every few days.
Let sit for up to 1 month.

Once the infusion is ready:

Candied Kumquat Sidecar

Prep time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Tools: Shaker, lemon juicer, saucer


  • 3 oz. kumquat-infused brandy
  • 1/2 lemon
  • sugar, for the rim
  • kumquats, for garnish
  • ice

Cooking Directions

  1. Fill a large saucer with a layer of sugar.
  2. Halve the lemon, use one slice to run around the rim of the glass.
  3. Dip the moistened glass in the sugar until the rim is coated.
  4. Add a handful of ice to the shaker
  5. Add 3 oz of infused brandy and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the shaker.
  6. Shake vigorously and pour into the glass.
  7. Garnish with with a whole kumquat or some kumquat peel
  8. Enjoy!!