Vin d'Orange Classique

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One of the great anticipatory pleasures of life in the Languedoc is watching a friend get up from the dinner table, disappear downstairs into his family's cellar, and reemerge with a dusty bottle or two of richly colored liquid. These are homemade cordials or liqueurs are made from plums, blackberries, lemon verbena, green walnuts, myrtle berries, or sloe berries, among others. Vin d'orange is among the most approachable and easy to make. It's a subtly explosive fortified wine that smells like an orange grove and balances tenuously between sweetness and an edge of bitterness and alcoholic bite. Chilled with a single ice cube, it is a perfect opening act to the drama of an evening's conversation, a meal, or merely watching the sun's waning glow in the western sky.

Vin d'Orange Classique
Photo: Photo by Mary Jo Hoffman
Active Time:
20 mins
Steep Time:
40 days
Total Time:
40 days 20 mins
Yield:
8 to 10

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Seville or navel oranges (about 1 lb. 2 ounces)

  • 1 (750-ml.) bottle dry white wine (such as Faugères or Languedoc)

  • 6 ½ tablespoons (3 1/4 ounces) 151-proof grain alcohol (such as Everclear) or 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 120-proof grain alcohol (such as Everclear)

  • ¼ cup cane sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried culinary cherry bark (optional)

Directions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove peel from oranges in long (about 3-inch) strips. Cut 1 peeled orange crosswise into thin slices; discard seeds. Reserve remaining peeled orange for another use.

  2. Combine orange peels, orange slices, wine, grain alcohol, sugar, and dried cherry bark (if using) in a large (about 48-ounce) sterilized lidded wide-mouth jar. Seal jar; shake to dissolve sugar. Let mixture steep in sealed jar at room temperature 40 days, gently shaking jar once per day.

  3. Pour vin d'orange classique through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher; discard solids. Pour into glasses, and serve at room temperature or over ice.

Note

Find culinary cherry bark online at herbco.com.

Make Ahead

Vin d'orange classique can be stored in a sealed wide-mouth jar in a cool, dark room for 2 to 3 years.

Updated by Erik Eastman
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