Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pink Lemons!

One of my recent garden purchases (and there have been many) is a Pink Eureka Lemon tree. I never would've thought I could be super excited about a tree...but I am really excited about this thing. Eureka lemons are just the plain old variety you get at the grocery store, but the pink ones are a mutation (awesome!) that was discovered in a California citrus grove in 1931. Some people say these lemons taste subtly different from the plain, non-mutated ones - they're supposed to be fruitier (fruitier? what's fruitier than a fruit?) and more floral. Well, maybe I have an uneducated palatte, but I just tasted lemon.

The difference, and the reason I am so excited about this tree, is that pink lemons look like what normal lemons would look like if they were total badasses. Outside, the rind is yellow with green stripes, like a little tiny watermelon, and inside the flesh is a subtle peachy-pink. (Unfortunately, pink lemon juice is not pink. It just looks like normal lemon juice. Bummer, I know.)

but still. I mean...stripes!

When I first acquired my pink lemon tree, it already had two fruits on it. I felt like an accomplished gardener just for picking it up at the farmers' market. Over the next few weeks, I thought long and hard about what to do with my pink lemons - clearly I could not use them in just any old drink. It had to be something that would showcase their mutant greatness. Enter...the Lemon-Basil Margarita. (recipe from this book.)

1/2 lemon, seeded and thinly sliced into half-wheels*
2 basil leaves
1/4 oz agave nectar**
2 oz gold tequila
1 oz grand marnier (or triple sec, if you don't feel like shelling out for the grand marnier.)
crushed ice

*You don't have to use pink lemons. your drink will taste just as good (but not look quite as good) with plain old lemons.
**Debate (some of it very scientific) rages over the use of agave nectar v. simple syrup in margaritas. I prefer the agave nectar, so I substituted 1/4 oz agave nectar for the 1/2 oz simple syrup originally called for, since agave nectar is sweeter.

Okay, so I might've gotten a little carried away with the lemon. But who can blame me?

Muddle the lemon slices, basil, and simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add the tequila, grand marnier, and 1 cup crushed ice. Stir until completely mixed, and then let sit for at least a minute. (It's important when stirring cocktails to allow time for the ice to melt a little, since the that little bit of melted water in the drink mellows the burn of the booze.)

Verdict: Sweet, delicious margarita taste. Basil adds a nice twist. (But we already knew that tequila and basil play well together.) Oh - and mighty, mighty strong. You might want to wait for the ice to melt a little before you finish this one.

halfway to nirvana.


  1. Yummy. And beautiful looking too! Do you think that I can grow pink lemon trees in Germany?

  2. um i love this post. i want to be a badass like the pink lemon.

  3. I don't have any mutant lemons--will it work if I paint on stripes with food dye?

  4. Maybe you can program a device that will paint random stripes on lemons based on data from the internet, like plane landings or twitter feeds...

    @ Kendra: I think you can grow citrus trees pretty much anywhere there's enough sun. They're very sensitive to cold, though, so you have to cover them every time it freezes, or plant them in a container and bring the container inside during the winter. Here's a good link about growing lemons inside:

  5. I have my first pink lemons on my little Pink Lemon Tree purchased at Buchanen's in the Houston Heights. How do I know when they are ready to pick? They are fairly small, but I haven't noticed them growing anymore.

  6. It looks so yummy. I loved this pink lemon. Thanks for telling about it here. I really didn’t know about it and would love to buy pink lemons for my Green drink. I am sure it’ll enhance taste of my drink as at times I find these drinks little distasteful.