A few months ago, my lovely Wife found a nifty little book, Classic Liqueurs: The Art of Making & Cooking with Liqueurs by Cheryl Long and Heather Kibbey. It’s full of fun and interesting recipes on mock-creations of your favorite liqueurs.
Taken from the book, my 2 latest endeavors are below:
1 cup dried (bitter) orange peel
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 cups cognac
¾ cups ea. sugar and water
Combine cognac, orange juice, orange peel, and coriander in aging container (mason jar works well). Shake daily and keep in cool, dark place for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, drain using sieve, cheesecloth or other fine mesh strainer. Make 1:1 simple syrup and combine with tincture when cool. Age at least 3 months.
I adjusted the recipe in book to suit my tastes: the book has you use a grain-neutral spirit. I wanted to use cognac in my first test. I just put it up a few days ago and I did test the flavor: Delicious, but incredibly bitter. I’m hoping the aging will take the edge off that bitterness (as I assume the aging will do). I’ll let you know in April how it tastes.
The next little guy I made yesterday. Blair made this last month and I was lucky enough to get a bottle for Christmas. It is an attempt to re-make the now lost Forbidden Fruits liqueur. I know Blair was disappointed with the recipe and only afterwards learned that the main fruit used was the pomelo (pumelo, pumello) or “Shaddock Grapefruit.” it is not the grapefruit we all know and see half-cut on on plate or pushed into Mae Clark’s face. Apparently, our grapefruit is a hybrid of the pomelo and an orange (much like our lime is a hybrid of a lemon and a key lime). Look at the pith on a pomelo (right)! Also that is my hand so you can see the size (it’s the size of a baby’s head). I decided to give the old recipe a try with my own changes to see if I could get it closer. Cocktail DB lists the flavour profiles as citrus, honey, brandy. I used a pomelo instead of grapefruit, and replaced the lemon rind with pomelo rind. I also replaced the sugar in the recipe with honey. I also replaced the vodka/brandy mix with a cognac/brandy mix. Because I love Donn’s Spices so much, I added one stick of Ceylon cinnamon to marry with the Vanilla. You first create a syrup of the citrus rinds, juices, spices and honey. Bring this to a boil, then simmer. This is then added to the aging container with the brandy and cognac for 3 weeks. The last week is spent straining and clarifying. The recipe I used is roughly:
Forbidden Fruits Liqueur (approximation)
2 Pomelos, rind of 2 and juice of 1
3 Oranges, rind of 1 and juice of 3
1 Lemon, rind and juice
1 Vanilla pod, split lengthwise
1 Ceylon Cinnamon stick, crushed
2 Cups honey
1 Cup Cognac
1 Cup Brandy
I think I’ll have a winner here. The pomelo and honey together were a combination that was instant alchemy. The simmering pot of syrup had such a magical, forbidden scent I wish I could explain it more. Similar to donn’s spices, yet with a character fresh and enticing. I can’t wait for February on this one.
Coming next? Results of the Simple Syrup experiment, announcement of the Falernum experiment (making falernum with the cold- and hot-method simple syrups), and the canning-processed falernum experiment. Of course, more cocktail recipes, liqueur recipes and trials, and as always the witty banter you’ve come to dread.
p.s. Falernum #3, just out of batch is the best I’ve made yet. I’ll divulge the secret ingredient if the Wife doesn’t kill me (it was her idea).