A Delicious Kalamansi Lime Beverage

“Delicious Beverage.” One of those idiosyncratic sayings in our household. Always said with a snickering smile and a bit of love. And its use is reserved for those drinks we really love.

Scene 1.

Every once in a while, all the neighbors in our cul-de-sac pull the grills into the circle and have a little gathering. A couple years ago, at one of these occasions, a neighbor boy from down the street joined the festivities. A cute 10 year old, skater/surfer kid. Blond, freckled, nicely tan, and with a permanent state of dishevel.

Evidently no one told him it was BYOB, cause after piling up a plate of burgers, dogs, and chips, he comes up to us, with the most innocent of voices, “Excuse me, where are the beverages?”

That proper tone coming from such a minion almost had us rolling.  Too-damn-cute. Being we only had alcoholic beverages on hand, we replied, “Back at your house!” Can’t let ’em start mooching the hooch.

But ever since then, the term “beverage” has been endeared in our household.Scene 2.

Ahh… Delicious!

Although we regularly write on this here blog, we are wise enough not to regard ourselves writers. We reserve that term for the talented word craftsmen and women who actually know what they are doing with a sentence. Especially since we are lucky to consider ourselves friends with several exceptionally good writers.

One of such friend holds a special place in our hearts. Amy Scattergood- Author. Poet. Journalist. Editor. Culinary Bad-Ass.  She can write about boiling water and make it seem fascinating. She’s also the reason I almost always carry a knife in my pocket, but that is another story all together.

There are certain food terms Amy has seen a few hundred times too many in her position as food editor for LA Weekly. You know, “tasty” “yummy” and of course, “delicious.”

So it is with a twinkle in our eyes, and a little bratty love thrown in, when we think of “delicious”, we think of Amy. Nothing like being a burr under the saddle to show someone you love them!

The Final Act.

One of our rarer citruses in the garden (at least rare in the U.S.), and certainly one of the most exceptional, is our Kalamansi tree. Sort of like a super floral, heavenly, round shaped kumquat, the kalamansi is one of the citrus most people visiting our garden have never experienced. Unless they are Filipino or Vietnamese. Then they just get all giddy and we have to watch them for the rest of the evening to make sure they don’t pick the tree bare.

Like most of the citrus we grow, our favorite use of these little orbs is for beverages. Occasionally in a cocktail, if we happen to have sugar cane, a little kalamansi squeezed into the fresh sugar cane juice is absolutely divine.

But one of the best ways we’ve found to highlight the kalamansi is to simply make a kalamansi-ade. Fresh kalamansi juice. Simple syrup. Water. Quite a delicious beverage.


Kalamansi-ade Recipe

Yield: 4 drinks

Total Time: 2 minutes

We always have a batch of simple syrup made up.  Takes only about 5 minutes to do, keeps exceptionally well, and is always useful. If you want to get fancy substitute some of the sugar's weight with palm sugar, or crush some fresh ginger and make a ginger simple syrup.


Kalamansi-ade Ingredients

  • 2 c (470ml) Water
  • 1/3 c (80ml) Simple Syrup *recipe follows
  • 1/4 c (60ml) fresh Kalamansi Juice

Simple Syrup Ingredients

  • 2 c Water
  • 1 lb Sugar


Kalamansi-ade Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients together. Stir well. Serve over ice.

Simple Syrup Directions

  1. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool. After cool, store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Joyce Uzcategui

    I have always loved this fruit. When I was little, I used to eat them. I used to have a contest with my next door neighbor, David, to see who could eat them without making a face. I grew up in FL. I live in CT now and am moving to Ecuador soon, so I am going to find a Calamondin tree to plant when I get there. Thanks, for bringing back a great childhood memory. I am retirement age now.

  2. Maria Jo

    I live in Guatemala, and when I was little, there was this huge Calamondin tree at the house next to us. The tree would bear fruit usually in October or November and I would love to get the Calamondin fruit, peel off the skin, and eat it with salt! Nowadays, that I am a chef, I realize how wonderful this fruit is, both visually and flavor-wise. Recently got a small Calamondin tree from a customer, and I am so excited to take care of it to see it grows into a huge tree! Really love your photographs! And I would like to add them on my FBpage, and of course, I would give the credits to your website.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Good luck with growing your tree. The calamondin’s are such a special little citrus. Thanks for sharing and crediting. And for the sweet compliments.
      T & D

  3. Rebecca Wyatt

    We live in Hawaii and inherited a kalamansi tree when we bought our house last year. Our real estate agent is Filipino, so she was quite excited to discover we had a tree. We have lots of fruit on our tree right now and your recipe was just a perfect way to enjoy them. I’ve also substituted the juice in a key lime pie recipe and we like them in our gin and tonics.

  4. kachuchay

    I sooo love this post about kalamansi! It’s very common here in the Philippines and it makes me feel proud to have tasted it(but when it’s still green). I remember my mother would teach me to cut just at the top and not in the middle so we won’t have acrid bitter taste. We also use it for cooking or even for whitening dark spots in the body like the elbow.
    And did you know that kalamansi helps the body to be alkalized? it is when drinking pure kalamansi early in the morning without mixing it in water and stomach is still empty. This helps the body to be more healthy and your immune system to be stronger!
    Thank you for the nice photos and recipe! I love following your blog!

  5. Giannina

    Oh wow! Finally someone recognizes the mighty kalamansi (and spells it the Filipino way too!). We usually use kalamansi here in the Philippines when it is still green. This is the first time I’ve seen an all-orange calamansi! :0

  6. joey

    We will definitely be all giddy (being Filipino)! I love Kalamansi, and even if it is widely available here (in the Philippines), it never loses its charm for me. And YES, although I use it in a million things, I agree that the absolute best way to have it is a simple Kalamansi juice! LOVE! :)

  7. GG

    Side note… they grow very well in Florida. I have even found them at Home Depot, believe it or not! They are called “calamondin” in English though 😉

  8. GG

    I just loved this post! kalamansi juice was one of my favorite drinks growing up, and still is when I’m hanging out at Momma’s house. This provided me with an oh so true visual…
    “Unless they are Filipino or Vietnamese. Then they just get all giddy and we have to watch them for the rest of the evening to make sure they don’t pick the tree bare.”
    Filipino’s use kalamansi juice in soo many dishes, it was my job to go out back before dinner and pick some fresh from our tree. It is also something every filipino guards and gets very upset if anyone overpicks or really touches there tree at all… so yes, it is very wise to watch them closely! haha

  9. Tammy

    Where did you get those glasses? I love them!

  10. Ron

    It was great seeing Calamansi like this! I usually see them smaller and in a dark shade of green.

    I have a variegated variety growing out in the front yard. Even the fruit is striped, too! The leaves are quite pretty, with large splashes of cream color. I placed a picture in my fledgling blog, with your post as an inspiration.

    And since there’s a pot of mint (lemon variety) in the yard as well, I guess this cool evening calls for a mojito.

    Amazing photographs and very interesting stories as well! I’ll be sure to read your future posts.

  11. Sherry

    I’ve only heard about the kalamansi fruit this winter but damn if I didn’t want to try it! I’ve heard its juice is good for your throat but unfortunately I’ve never seen it here in Oregon. And I doubt the climate here will support growing it. :\

  12. Liren

    Growing up in a Filipino household in New York, you can imagine my parent’s nostalgia for calamansi. It was the one fruit my mother wistfully wished she could grow in her garden. Trips to visit the Philippines were especially exciting because it meant we could indulge in calamansi juice, prepared just as you have here! Now that I have my own garden in the Bay Area, this is good reminder that I should try to plant a tree of my own! It seems that it is much easier to find in the U.S. these days :)

  13. Irene

    The receipt is really interesting, but I adore the galsses. Where have you got them? Does the shop have a web-site? I would buy them right now))

  14. anh@anhsfoodblog.com

    I am growing one in the backyard! Just hoping that it will grow nicely in our colder climate of Australia :)

  15. Bianca @ South Bay Rants n Raves

    I love how your neighbors get together to grill. It rarely…no, never happens out here! I don’t know 75% of my neighbors. Anyhow, thanks for the recipe. Your term reminds me of a slight variation my friend uses “time for a tasty beverage”

  16. Akika @ Ichigo Shortcake

    I adore the photos!! It really makes me want to try the drink. Look at your site also makes me want to own a garden full of fresh produce! Maybe when I can afford a big enough land. Keep up the great work!

  17. Maryfe

    Wow, our famous kalamansi is featured here? I love them! Kalamansi juice is known to cure colds for us Filipinos. But with or without a cold I love an iced calamansi beverage with honey!

  18. heidih

    My former neighbor has a prolific calamansi. She was raised in the Phillipines and fondly recalls the drink you posted about as the salvation and piece of heaven for young children who have been running and playing in the humid heat.

    We make marmalade with some of her calamansi every year. It is exquisite on toasted sour dough with a soft boiled egg on top :)

    I have used the juice as the citrus in baklava with success.

  19. toolsforkitchens

    Wow, I am not sure which is more enticing…the recipe or your photography. What an AMAZING presentation!

  20. Harry Hilders

    Stunning photography!

  21. Atria

    Good evening,

    I’m fan of your page and it is so inspiring for me, both recipies and photographs (and your biography as well, hard to believe that you acomplished to make such beautiful photoes by yourself). I’d like to say that this photo is one of my favorite one, this dusted surface, soo nice!

    Greetings from Poland:)

  22. MuyBuenoCookbook

    My mother-in-law just handed me a gianormous bag of these two days ago. My first thought was, “What the heck are these?” She said they made great lemonade and because I love sour things, I thought, OOOOHHH yes. My second thought was, I bet WORC has these, they have every citrus I think is cool and different. So I had to come to your site and to my delight what do I see, these adorable, kumkuat wanna be’s staring back at me. KALAMANSI, I like the sound of that…lemonade coming right up…thanks again for being my site for all things citrus…

  23. Erika

    I LOVE kalamansi. My introduction to tequila back when I was in college (thanks to my slight-younger cousin Mike) involved a bottle of Cuervo, a bowl of kalamansi, rock salt, and loudly-played 80s new wave hits. (Spandau Ballet sounds even better after a few shots.) Of course, that’s not why I love kalamansi, but it doesn’t hurt either.

  24. Cat @ Breakfast to Bed

    Holy Moses, that looks delicious!!!

  25. Snippets of Thyme

    Kalamansi?? I’ve never heard of this adorable fruit. They sort of look like little kumquats, which are delicious popped entirely in the mouth, skin and all. I love the photo of the fruit laying next to the cutting shears.

  26. Cookin' Canuck

    What a great read this was. I have never come across kalamansi, but chalk them up as another reason I should move to California.

  27. May May

    This reminds me of my childhood days back home (Phils.) I have not drunk calamansi juice in a very long time…Wish I can find them here in the east coast :) Love the pictures as always :)

    1. Lowell Taclob

      Mansi juice is now available at Fairway market

  28. RV Goddess

    This post brought back so many memories from The Philippines for me as well. We lived in Manila for three years in the 1980s. Kalamansi was served to squeeze over fish – a very nice change from lemon or lime… but when my Mother came to visit, she thought the fruit was created/perfect for a gin & tonic! Sadly, we can’t grow the fruit in our (cold, wet) Oregon climate. Occasionally we find kalamansi at the Asian grocers… but they never taste the same… or maybe my taste memories are slipping in my old age. Thanks for the lovely photographs – and your GREAT WRITING!

  29. Chris & Skip in Avl

    Two things. First. You are very engaging writers. You achieve something a lot of pros can’t, that is, your voice shines through in everything you write. Reading your posts I feel as if you’re right here talking to me—as yourselves. That’s a real talent.

    Second. The Kalamansi looks like the little orange trees you see everywhere in Vietnam (and in some businesses here) around Tet. Is that the tree? First trip to Vietnam was before Tet and it was fun to see them whipping down highways on backs of scooters. We only saw a few real ones in Vietnam, a lot are plastic. You’re so lucky to live in Eden.

  30. Jun Belen

    Lovely piece (and photographs as usual!) on the beloved calamansi. Our tiny tree in our tiny patio here in San Francisco has some fruits that are ready to be picked. Thank you for the inspiration!

  31. pleasurepalate

    I actually have a calamansi tree in my backyard and am definitely going to try this recipe this summer. :)

  32. Bakerbynature

    This looks amazing; I think there has to be somewhere in NYC I can find Kalamansi’s… I hope!

  33. chinmayie@lovefoodeat

    Hey! I had tons of Kalamansi when i visited Hanoi! It was delicious!! I have so many pictures of beautiful street vendors selling Kalamansi! I think that was one of the first fruits we bought there as we had never seen anything like that before :)
    and of course your photos are as always stunning!

  34. Elizabeth from AsianinAmericamag

    What a wonderful post! I love Kalamansi (also spelled “calamansi” in the Tagalog language), the local lime I grew up with in the Philippines. I miss it and don’t get it in these parts of the east coast. Thanks for sharing this beverage. Will try it soon as I get my hands on some Kalamansi from NYC Chinatown. Cheers!

  35. Helene

    So cute the story with the little boy. I have never heard of Kalamansi before. I don’t think we can find it in Canada. Your glasses are really nice.

    1. Kirsten

      If you can visit your local Asian market you might be able to find some Calamondin syrup or Calaminsi syrup.

  36. Urban Wife

    I have not had the pleasure of trying Kalamansi. Now my mission in life is to hunt some down (in Florida, nonetheless!) and make this delicious beverage right away. :)

  37. Fran

    Oh my gosh! Kalamansi was a staple for me when I lived in the Philippines! It was never too sweet, very much on the tart side, as a matter of fact and so bright and refreshing. Seeing your beautiful fruit makes me question whether they always picked and served the fruit before it was ripe, because I have never seen a kalamansi such a beautiful golden color. And… they called them kalamansi limes. Kinda funny, but not unlike my 2.5 years there. Always something that made me scratch my head and say, huh? :)

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with them. Kalamansi limes are another term they are frequently called. As well as Calamondin. All the same.
      They are quite tart, just like kumquats. Something most wouldn’t care to eat straight! But when sweetened up – ohh so good as you well know. The color may be just due to the climate in the Philippines. In Vietnam oranges aren’t orange. The flesh ripens perfectly to a sweet pulp, orange in color too. But the peel is always green.

      1. Deborah

        I have a dwarf Calamondin tree, which I bought because of the small orange color of the fruit, (doesn’t sound very gourmet! I never had this particular citrus before, but I fall in love with them. I use them in Margarita’s, instead of limes. Love, love, love them. Your photo’s show off the fruit, beautifully.

  38. charsiew

    Green kalamansi limes are quite common here in Singapore and I love the slightly sweetish floral hints in the lime juice. On hot days, this drink is such a welcome respite in our hot weather and an iced kalamansi juice just makes the sunlight here more mellow, and the world seems a nice place! thanks for the reminder! :)

  39. Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)

    I live in San Diego and for awhile lived in a 1920s era house (complete with horrid plumbing!) but it had amazing citrus trees in the backyard: orange, lemon, meyer lemon, and kumquat. I have honestly never ever heard of a Kalamansi tree. But now, I kinda think I have to try the juice from a Kalamansi.

    Your recipe, and your story, are awesome! And your photography, too, of course :)

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