Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vin D'orange

Anyone who knows me knows I love Lillet. It's a delicious aperitif on it's own (on the rocks with a slice of orange), and it is a versatile ingredient in cocktails. You might remember it in such drinks as:
The Third Rail
  • 1.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon
  • 0.75 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 0.5 oz honey
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice
  • 5 dashes Fee's Brothers orange bitters
  • small chunk of orange
  • Shake, fine strain, serve up. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Lillet is essentially a commercially made Vin D'orange, which is an aperitif made by fortifying white wine with some sort of spirit, and infusing it with orange, vanilla, and other botanicals. Making this and other aperitifs is common throughout France, and each region has it's own specialty. It's a tradition that I want to push here, too, so I have started my own batch of Vin D'orange, using a simple recipe I found in a book called Aperitif, by Georgeanne Brennan. I altered it slightly due to container constraints, and because I can't help but mess with recipes (see Ramos Gin Fizz: Parts 1-4 below). Here's the actual recipe:

6 2/3 bottles French-style rose or white wine
1/2 quart vodka
2 cups granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans
1 lemon, cut into several pieces
peels from 6 Seville or other bitter oranges

Combine the ingredients in a glass jar. Cover and store in a cool, dark place for one month, stirring each day for a week, or until the sugar has dissolved. At the end of the month, using a fine-mesh sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth, strain the wine into another container. The wine is ready to serve in two months.

At the beginning of September I plan to take half of my Vin D'orange, and begin aging it in a small oak barrel I have at home. After a month or two I will combine the oaked wine with the non-oaked wine and it will be ready to drink. Even after just a week it's pretty tasty, so let's cross our fingers that it'll only get better.


Mr. Manhattan said...

I was inspired by your post to start my own batch of vin d'orange which I wrote about here. That was about one week ago. One thing I've noticed is that in the last few days it's gotten quite a bit more bitter. I am guessing this is from all the peel and that it will get even more bitter before it's done. I'd be curious to know how your batch compares.



Mr. Manhattan said...

You know you can't read the comments because they are in black type over a black background.

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