Ever since I tasted refreshing lemongrass drinks, I wanted to know how they're made from scratch. Lemongrass is readily available here. We could pluck them from the ground or soil if we're lucky enough to grow them in our garden or friend's garden and once we get the recipe right, we're good. If not, lemongrass (locally known as tanglad) is available in small bunches at groceries for about Php 5.00 - Php 7.00.
My first attempt at a lemongrass drink didn't turn out quite well. It was drinkable yes, but I sort of overboiled the lemongrass so it tasted more like the water in sago't gulaman than the refreshing sharp lemongrass taste. Here, it's best that I use white sugar here since brown sugar colored my liquid brown when I wanted a greenish hue for my drink.
While prepping dinner, I saw the lemongrass bunch I purchased on a recent grocery trip and
decided to give it a try again, reducing the boiling time. By serendipetous chance, I saw the calamansi I got from our house in Las Pinas having already wonderfully ripened that they're yellow instead of green. You know what? This calls for a time to experiment to make calamansi lemongrass drinks.
When I make my drinks, I don't have exact measurements. Everything's just to taste, so in this post, I won't be writing much measurements. The measurements I used here might not work on certain people so it all depends on taste preference.
The first thing I did was squeeze the calamansi juice into the pitcher. I put a strainer on top of the pitcher since citrus pulp annoys the crap out of me. I squeezed 13 fruits because I finished that big bag. I like that they're all yellowed so the fruit's soft.
Normally, to make calamansi juice you need to dilute the pure juice with water right? Instead of pure water, I used lemongrass water. To make the lemongrass water, I needed to prepare 4-5 stalks of lemongrass. I washed them of all debris and dried them. I peeled the dry stalks out and sliced the brown rooty bottom part so I get that nice juicy bulb in the bottom and fresh green stalks. Carefully I sliced the stalks lengthwise and pounded them with the blunt end of a chef's knife since this helps to get the juice out. While at it, a pot of water's just boiling, around 2-3 tall glasses of it.
Once the stalks and bulbs are all pounded, dunk them in the pot of boiling water and boil the lemongrass until the water turns into a nice green color. Be sure not to overboil. What I did was lower the heat after 10 minutes to a nice simmer, stirring constantly. I usually check the aroma of the lemongrass water. If you get that distinct refreshing lemongrass scent, you're all good. After it all simmers down quite nicely, I let it cool until it's just warm. I strain the mixture and then slowly mix it in with the calamansi juice in the pitcher until I get the right taste I want. By this time, I make adjustments. If it's too sharp, I add some water. If I want it tad tarter, strain some juice in.
To sweeten, I use white sugar here since I want to maintain the green-yellow color of the drink. I like drinking this cold, dunking 6 ice cubes in the glass. Honey could be used to sweeten, kinda lacing it in before serving. Yumm!!!!
Just some tips:
1. Pound the stalks. If the blunt of the chef's knife doesn't work, use the mortar. That's a way of getting all the juice out.
2. Sugar dissolves better in warm liquid. That's why the lemongrass water and calamansi are warm.
3. It's best to use glass pitchers here with higher resistance to heat.