Design New England

Vin d’Orange

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Vin d’orange takes at least 21 days to make. Photo: Heidi Murphy.

By Courtney Goodrich

In our excitement for this week’s release of Maggie Battista’s book, Food Gift Love, featured in the “et al.” department of our September/October 2015 issue, we stocked up on rose and tried her recipe for vin d’orange (below), an infusion of the crisp wine with orange and lemons slices, sugar, and vanilla beans. The recipe is simple (the best ones always are) — having to wait weeks for the pretty wine and fruit combination to properly infuse, not so easy. In the end, the sweet citrusy taste is refreshing and dreamy. It makes a great gift, or it could be a fun bottle to pull out at your own dinner party and intrigue your guests.

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Photo: Heidi Murphy.

Battista says: “Traditionally, oranges infuse the wine for 40 or more days to reach peak flavor. After making so many vin d’orange batches, I consider the infusion process to be a conversation between me and the wine. Every 1 or 2 days, I taste to determine the just right amount of bitterness. I take a sip, remove 1 sour orange, take a sip, remove 2 or 3 sour oranges, and take more sips. By the 3-week point, the vin d’orange is bottled and added to my pantry for long-term aging where it just gets better.”
And since the book is about gift-giving as much as it is about food, Battista describes how to give the bottles a beautiful flourish. She recommends punching a hole in a toasted orange slice, threading ribbon through it and making a knot at the end. Then, the ribbon is wrapped around the neck of the vin d’orange-filled clear glass bottle, and the strands get pinned together so the ribbon stays in place.
Simple and satisfying whether given or kept for personal celebration.
Vin d’Orange
(Adapted from Food Gift Love)
Makes about 6 to 7 bottles
Preparation time: 15 minutes active time (up to 21 days total time)
Ingredients:
12 sour Seville oranges
2 navel oranges (Cara Cara or Valencia
1 Eureka lemon
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
3/4-liter vodka
5 750-milliliter bottles crisp rose or white wine
Special Equipment:
2 gallon (or larger) glass jar or food-safe bucket with airtight lid
Cheesecloth
Wash the oranges and lemons well and cut them into quarters.
Place the cut citrus, sugar, vanilla beans, and vodka into the glass jar. Do not squeeze the juice from the fruit; the extra juice may make the final vin d’orange cloudy.
Add the wine to the glass jar, reserving the empty bottles for the final bottling. Stir briefly to dissolve the sugar. Cover the jar and store in a cool, dark place. (Battista sets the jar in a dark corner of her kitchen. “It’s just too pretty to hide away in a cabinet,” she writes, “and will brighten your day like a bouquet of flowers.)
Rinse the wine bottles and allow to air dry. Store until ready to use.
Once the vin d’orange has infused for 14 days checking it every day or two, tasting it for bitterness. If it’s getting too bitter, use tongs to remove a few pieces of sour orange. This process can take 21 to 40 days, depending on the sweetness of the fruit and conditions in which the jar is stored.
When the vin d’orange reaches the desired flavor profile, remove the solids with tongs and strain the liquid through cheesecloth. Using a funnel, pour the vin d’orange into the reserved rose bottles, being careful not to add any sediment. There will likely be enough vin d’orange to fill an extra 1 to 2.
Seal the bottles and store at room temperature for up to 1 year. As it ages, the vin d’orange strengthens in flavor and deepens in color.
Serve well chilled or over a couple ice cubes, with a twist of orange or lemon.
Note: To make a smaller batch of vin d’orange, use 2 bottles of rose or white wine and adjust the ingredients to 4 Seville oranges, 1 navel orange, 1 lemon, 1 cup sugar, ½ vanilla bean and 1 cup vodka. For a less bitter libation, eliminate the Seville oranges and use only navel oranges (such as Cara Cara or Valencia) or try blood oranges.

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