6.1.11 Home Brew: Vin d'Orange

Vin-dorange-2-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
I love a little tipple before dinner, especially in the summer. It just feels a little indulgent, leisurely. The apéritif was actually a 19th century invention for the purpose of delivering extremely bitter, malaria-fighting quinine. Herbs and spices were added to mask the disagreeable flavor and voilà! A French invention, of course. Although most agree that 18th-century Italians were well versed in the aperitivo. Campari is a perfect example of such a slightly bitter and agreeably complex concoction. I use the word tipple because the apéritif is a light drink, a small amount of alcohol just to awaken the appetite. (For you tee-totallers out there, I am going to do a post on the non-alcoholic versions very soon.) I personally love Lillet, technically called a tonic wine because of the addition of a liqueur of Chinchona bark from Peru which contains quinine.You can create your own version, by steeping citrus fruit in rosé with a few spices. Julia Moskin, in her fantastic online DIY cooking handbook for the New York Times, provides a great recipe, adapted from London chef Sally Clarke. The original version is made with Seville oranges, which I happened to have on hand from making marmalade. Julia adapts it with more readily available citrus. It has a powerful flavor that develops during a 6-week fermentation period. So, if you want to serve yours on July 4th, as I do, you'd better get cracking.
Rosé-seville-oranges-790-xxx
a lovely french rosé and a pile of seville oranges
Your citrus should be organic and clean, because anything on the peel will end up in the wine.
Spices-790-xxx
vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and pink peppercorns
The original recipe calls only for vanilla and cinnamon, but I couldn't resist adding my beloved cardamom and some pink peppercorns.
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the color is a promise of lovely flavor to come
If you haven't already, now may be the time to invest in some large glass wide-mouthed jars. I use them for everything, from making this wine, to fermenting sauerkraut to brewing sun tea. (Something like this.) Here's to a perfect summer!
 

Vin d'Orange

makes about 2 litres
  • — 1/2 cup dark rum
  • — 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
  • — 2 liters good quality rosé (about 2 1/2 bottles)
  • — 1 cup vodka
  • — 8 whole green cardamom pods
  • — 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • — 1/2 vanilla bean
  • — 1 1/2 cups organic sugar
  • — 2 lemons or grapefruit, or one of each
  • — 3 tangerines or oranges with a good balance of tart and sweet

Wash the citrus and slice them in thick wheels. Place them in a clean container (glass or hard plastic) with a wide mouth and a tight-fitting lid. Add the sugar, spices, rosé and vodka.

Stir this well with a spoon (not wooden, as it may harbor bacteria that could inhibit fermentation) and fasten the lid. Keep the jar in the refrigerator, or a cool dry place, shaking occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

After about 6 weeks, mix in the rum, then pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or several layers of cheesecloth. Stored in bottles at a cool room temperature or in the refrigerator, your vin d’orange it will last indefinitely. Drink it plain on the rocks, or mixed with sparkling wine or water, garnished with a slice of orange.

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6 Comments

I will be making this ! Thanks for the recipe.
alwayshungry on June 2, 2011 at 12:09 am — Reply
Enjoy, alwayshungry!
laura on June 2, 2011 at 3:13 am — Reply
Gorgeous! I just received a case of rose wine and included were 2 bottles of white zinfandel from California. I'm not a big fan so think I'll improve those with this recipe. Will probably cut back the sugar slightly to compensate.
Dee G on June 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm — Reply
Perfect, Dee! Let me know how it turns out.
laura on June 2, 2011 at 6:28 pm — Reply
This is just so good! Have been mixing it half and half with orange flavored seltzer, and it is truly divine with champagne. Life made it so I didn't strain it until more like 10 weeks after putting it together so it is more of a fall indulgence than your summer tipple. Truly wonderful. Thanks.
Dee G on October 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm — Reply
Dee, so thrilled you're happy with your brew. I think it can sit for quite a long time, getting more and more flavorful. It was so popular in our house that I'm already getting ready to make another batch!
laura on October 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm — Reply