The Trouble With Orange Juice – Part II

October 29th, 2010 by Colonel Tiki
This is the first in a series of articles on Citrus.

In Part I, I discussed how squeezing fresh juice from common oranges is a poor choice for orange juice, and suggested an easy (though seasonal) solution in a few good varietals suited for juice. We all need to be aware of the method of production of the processed orange juice product.

The Queasy Fix: Processed Orange Juice

orange_frankTo be candid, processed orange juice is Frankenstein’s monster. It doesn’t really matter if it is from concentrate (FCOJ) or not from concentrate (NFC).  The juice may have been freshly squeezed at one time, but the journey it takes to your jigger renders it far from “fresh squeezed.”

In her book, Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange JuiceAlissa Hamilton1, a recent Food and Society Fellow with the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy, describes the NFC process. Here’s the scoop:

Freshly squeezed juice is first centrifuged to remove the oils.2 Next, after pasteurization, the most production popular method de-oxygenates the juice for protection against spoilage. This is because all the excess Valencias (in Florida and Brazil) are processed and held in huge aseptic tanks for storage and use when not in season.

This volume keeps the NFC OJ available year-round. Since removing the oxygen destroys almost all organic-compound flavors in the juice, producers purchase flavor packs from fragrance and flavor companies. The product is re-flavored and shipped to you.

From concentrate orange juice doesn’t get de-oxygenated, but it does get superheated to remove excess water. This process destroys flavors so producers purchase flavor packs from fragrance and flavor companies.3 Sound familiar? The concentrate is frozen and stored to reconstitute and bottle, or sold directly to you in the add 3 cans of cold water containers we all grew up with.

So should you avoid processed orange juice products? It’s up to you. Personally, I do use it in certain circumstances. It all comes down to the taste: Some producers have a relatively decent flavor pack combination that mimics fresh Valencias enough to be a substitute. I call on Frankenstein when all I can find is out-of season or boring common oranges, or if you cannot find a local fresh4 juice in jugs at your Whole Joes, or if you only have convenience stores or mega-grocery-marts near you and you have an OJ emergency.5

Coming in the third and final part, I’ll go into fresh juice products and my own personal recommendation for the orange juice conundrum.

Edit: Please consider purchasing Squeezed:

  1. Who is a very nice person to email []
  2. which are sold to the same market where fragrance and flavor companies shop for raw natural ingredients []
  3. http://www.ultimatecitrus.com/oj.html []
  4. where fresh means sell-by-date ranges of 3 days or so []
  5. it happens more that I’d like to admit []

The Trouble With Orange Juice – Part I

October 25th, 2010 by Colonel Tiki
This is the first in a series of articles on Citrus.

oranges_and_orange_juiceWithin cocktail circles, ‘fresh squeezed’  (or a la minute if you will) is the rallying cry for citrus. While I am not one to go against this, with all rules there are exceptions. This particular exception is the eponymous orange.

Freshly squeezed orange juice is in most cases insipid and may well ruin your cocktail. Oh my, that’s a strong statement (even with the qualifying clause)! Let me explain why I find it to be true.

The Orange Scene

First, let us consider the fruit itself. Most of us would first reach for an orange for orange juice and hand squeeze it at the point of service. This can really bite you in the ass, and you should blame the produce industry. Modern produce propagation is mainly concerned with yield, ease of harvest, appearance, and shelf life. Please note that “flavor” is not amongst them. Not to say that flavor is unimportant; as long as the flavor is non-offensive it is acceptable.

The most popular use for whole orange is for eating directly or zesting; not juicing. The most common nonseasonal1 varietal is the “common sweet orange,” followed by the Bahia Navel. Both of these have good features for our use: They are pleasing to eat, the rind2 contains decent oils and produces flavorful zest. The juice is almost always insipid on each. Use these lovely looking fruit for garnish and oil expression but please don’t juice them for use in your drink.

The Easy Fix: Varietals

Now, I’m sure many reading would be quick to point out the well known varietal Valencia is chiefly for juicing and this truth is the start of our journey. Most things growing in the ground have a peak of their flavor at a certain time of the year even when they produce year round.3 Valencias are no different. Their season (in the most liberal range) is from the end of spring until the beginning of autumn: One third of a year at most. Yes, you can likely find Valencias year round but as with the Navel and generic above4, Off-season or shipped oranges are usually poor specimens for juicing.

Other varietals can help fill in the gaps in the year, and here are some to consider if they are available at your local Whole Joes:

800px-caracaranavelorangesCara Cara: California:
Season: Late Autumn – Spring

This cross between two Navel varietals5 shows dark orange color and complex juice flavor. Most available come from California or shipped from Venezuela. You should favor the closer locality: everywhere should now be declaring the source of produce. The rind is thin yet produces good oils, I would suggest zesting for culinary uses rather than twists or expression.

Hamlin OrangesHamlin: Florida & California
Season: Mid Autumn – Mid Winter

This lovely little orange made it through the great freeze of 1875-6 which destroyed most other orange crops and plants. It has a high juice yield of a light, flowery orange flavor with undertones of honey. I prefer these oranges for the Nui Nui. The rind is thin and of little use, though it does aid in pliability for good juicing.

valencia-orangesValencia: California & Florida
Season:
Late Spring – Early Autumn

Orange Juice products are produced from Valencia stock in season: While at the peak you cannot beat a good Valencia for the quintessential flavor of fresh juice. The rind is thinner than Navels yet still can yield good oil expression.

Note:

It isn’t impossible to find an accessible Navel or general sweet when in season from November to March. Your chances will improve greatly by looking for these characteristics: location, weight, color. The locality should be your closest coast line state: California or Florida. The weight should be heavy for its size – it should feel dense. The color should be as close to green as possible. All oranges are green in their native tropics: colder climes and senescence cause the process that lead to the reveal of the orange color. Yes. Oranges are green.

What are other options?

In Part II, orange juice products – both from concentrate or not from concentrate will be presented as possible replacements for fresh orange juice.6

  1. more like grown everywhere on earth in conventional or forced methods then shipped. []
  2. The proper term is ‘flavedo’ which I adore, but find twee to use in the common parlance. Footnotes are a place where my fancy flies free. []
  3. such as the first spring sprigs of mint []
  4. Both of these have the height of season in the winter. At their peak, the juice raises from insipid to ‘OK’ []
  5. Washington and Bahia []
  6. SHOCK HORROR []

The Dark Magic

October 15th, 2010 by Colonel Tiki

The Dark Magic

My lovely wife has a weekly cocktail column over at alt.life. This week she chose to cover an original creation of mine: The Dark Magic.

This drink is inspired by The Mai-Kai’s Black Magic, but has evolved into its own animal. Here’s the recipe:

Dark Magic
1 oz fresh lime juice
½ oz unsweetened pineapple juice
½ oz Coffee Syrup1
¼ oz Passion Fruit Syrup2
¼ oz Vanilla Syrup3
2 oz Coruba Dark Jamaican Rum
1 dash Aromatic Bitters
8 drops (1/8th oz) Herbsaint

Blend ingredients with 8oz ice for 5 one-second pulses. Alternately, mix with crushed ice using top-down drinks mixer. Pour into 12oz hurricane glass.

  1. 1 part strong coffee, 2 parts sugar: bring almost to boil, remove from heat, bottle and store in fridge for up to 30 days []
  2. Colonel Tiki recommends Trader Tiki brand Cocktail Syrups []
  3. Colonel Tiki recommends Trader Tiki brand Cocktail Syrups []

A Grapefruit question:

October 6th, 2010 by Colonel Tiki

forbiddenfruit1750barbados

Does anyone out there have an earlier reference to grapefruit?

From The Natural History of Barbados, By the Reverend Mr. Griffith Hughes, A.M., Rector of St. Lucy’s Parish, Published 1750.

For those who have trouble with the out of fashion ‘long s,’ it reads:

The Trunk, Leaves and Flowers of this Tree, very much resemble those of the Orange-tree. The Fruit, when ripe, is something longer and larger than the largest Orange; and exceeds, in the Delicacy of its Taste, the Fruit of every Tree in this or any of our neighbouring Islands. It hath somewhat the Taste of a  Shaddock; but far exceeds that, as well as the best Orange, in its delicious Taste and Flavour. This is delineated in Plate VII.

“Shaddock” was the contemporary term for a Pomello.

More »

NYE 2009 – Tom & Jerry

December 31st, 2009 by Colonel Tiki

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?

Hope you had a great 2009. The Colonel will be back in 2010 to help you forget your pesky resolutions.

Cheers!

Hot Buttered Rum While Decorating

December 5th, 2009 by Colonel Tiki

Seemed like Hot Buttered Rum Time.

2 Tablespoons ColTiki Hot Buttered Rum batter
1½ oz Rum of choice((I put out Coruba, A Martinique, and the Scarlet Ibis))
4 oz Hot Water
Fresh Nutmeg, Mace

Mix batter with 2 oz almost boiling water until dissolved. Add rum and stir while adding the last 2 oz of water. Dust with fresh ground nutmeg and mace.

MxMo September 2009 – Dizzy Dairy

September 28th, 2009 by Colonel Tiki

mxmologoI’m doing a drive-by MxMo this month: Lately my free time has been somewhere between thin on the ground and nearly invisible. This certainly hasn’t stopped my thinking and plotting though.

I just love Black Cardamom – it has the same fabulous pungency mixed with a haunting smoky character that comes from the wood fires used to dry it.

I’ve been hanging on to it for a while and recently put it to good use macerating in blanco tequila. The smoke and camphor suit the agave.

Then the folks at eGullet host this month’s MxMo and the idea came to me: Milk punch using the black cardamom mixed with the flavors of horchata. Rice milk turned to be too thin; Milk likewise.  ½ & ½ was perfect.

So without further ado, I give you “Leche Libre.” Yes, a bit too precious a name but I like it.

Leche Libre

Leche Libre
2oz Black Cardamom macerated Blanco Tequila
3oz ½&½
¾oz cinnamon syrup
nutmeg

shake all but nutmeg with ice and strain into glass coffee mug or brandy snifter filled with ice. Garnish generously with freshly ground nutmeg.

Happy Anniversary TDN!

September 1st, 2009 by Colonel Tiki

thursdaydrinknight_mixo1Thursday Drink Night is turning one year old this week! I can’t believe it’s already been a year of mixing, cajoling, japing and merriment.

And what a TDN it will be. We have a superior theme: Tiki! We have a superior Guest: Jeff Berry! We have fabulous prizes: Greg Boehm is providing gold bar tools, Mudpuddle books will be offering up vintage reprints of classic cocktail books, Port of Barcelona Gin and Obsello Absinthe will be up for grabs, and let’s not forget Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum as a prize.

Get your syrups and fruit juices and rums in gear and get on into TDN this Thursday night at the Mixoloseum’s online bar. We have a new full-featured chatroom to enjoy if you haven’t stopped in recently.

I’ll see you this Thursday, September 3rd!

Things are a-brewing

July 31st, 2009 by Colonel Tiki

Greetings!

Here is a teaser of things to come:

Powdre Forte Tinctures

Monkey Hut Double Rocks Front

TDN – Bols Genever: G.V.D. (godverdomme)

June 8th, 2009 by Colonel Tiki

Sometime ’round about 2002 a friend of mine returned from Amsterdam with a ceramic bottle of Corenwyn. Since then, I’ve been completely enamored with Corenwyn, genevers, and old-tom gins. Blair over on the Mixoloseum Blog can tell you more about Genever and such, I’ll just say it is delicious.

This past Thursday’s TDN was centered around Bols new launch of their Genever. It is a fabulous product. Right now it has limited availability and I look forward its expansion (and support from the OLCC, I hope). It has a mouth feel of velvet and a refined balanced flavor profile that ends in warm malty notes.

The strange late spring heat wave we’ve been having here in Portland directed me toward my concoction that I delivered to TDN. My friends Molly and Zorn (both PDX bartenders with decades of experience) introduced me to the wonder of chile peppers and fruit in cocktails. Greg Hoitsma over at Andina also has great success with Habañero and Passion Fruit (an amazing combination). I am particularly obsessed with the pineapple/lemon/simple/chile, featuring a good earthy chile such as a Jalapeño or a Serrano. For a Thai chile or birds-eye I think I might switch out the lemon for lime.

I’m very happy with the result from the below concoction. It is amongst the four finalists over at the Mixoloseum Blog. Please go over there to vote for it if you find it surpasses the competition, as I do. Also if you’re over there try out the “Malt Gasoline.” It’s a wonderful swizzle only slightly less of a winner than mine. 😉

G.V.D. (godverdamme)

Photo courtesy Tiare (www.amountainofcrushedice.com)

G.V.D (godverdomme)
2 oz Bols Genever
½ oz pineapple juice (fresh, please)
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz vanilla syrup (sub simple)
few pinapple chunks
3 slices jalapeño or serrano chile
dash aromatic bitters (fee’s old fashioned, angostura, &c.)

Muddle pinapple chunks, chile, and juices. Add remaning ingredients and shake with ice to mix and form head. Double strain into cocktail glass and garnish with lemon twist (or as Tiare has in her beautiful shot, pineapple wedge and chile).