Over the past several weeks I’ve shared my forays into combining seasonal fruit from the garden with my efforts at making my own alcohol. This time it was using oranges. I’ve previously made a Homemade Grand Marnier recipe that infused oranges into brandy so this time I decided to try infusing the oranges into neutral spirit first and then distilling it to produce a clear spirit (or so I thought).
1L neutral spirit (vodka or preferably for more flavour using ‘eau de vie’ spirit that you have made from fruit – I used my feijoa spirit)
Brown sugar or honey
Spices e.g. cloves if you wish – a little goes a long way
Thinly slice 6 whole oranges and put into a large jar. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp of brown sugar or honey.
Pour 1L of neutral spirit over the top. Shake well and leave for 24-48 hours.
Pour all the liquid* from your mixture into the copper pot of your still. Place as many of your orange slices as you can on the sieve plate to enhance the flavour even more.
Set up your still and start your distillation.
Collect fractions and check the taste when you have collected 500ml and continue to keep taste checking. When the taste is bland with no flavour or spirit, stop the distillation.
*I added the orange slices as well. My distillate was lovely and clear – until I added some water to lower the percentage alcohol to 40%, when it turned cloudy. I added about 100ml of the last fraction of my distillate that was low alcohol but still had a orange flavour and some colour. I was hoping that the colour might offset the cloudiness but it made it worse! It still tastes okay but I think perhaps next time I will not add the orange slices to the still.
** I was extra frustrated because when I’d made homemade ouzo or pastis previously, I wanted to get the reaction of it turning cloudy when water was added but without luck.
As well as the obvious use of drinking orange liqueur as an after dinner tipple, you can also use it in desserts or in chicken dishes, or use it in pre-dinner cocktails and spritzes.