You thought maybe the fruitcake fiasco was going to get me down? Ha!
I’m on to my next artisanal exerciseâ€”orange bitters, the old-fashioned way (another pun I simply couldn’t resist, but only serious tipplers will get it).
First I had to locate Seville oranges, whose sour rind is one of the basics of any decent orange bitters. A Berkeley specialty produce store had some, so I had my agents rush on over.
Grain alcohol was another de rigueur ingredient (the words “grain alcohol” bring back queasy memories of fraternity party punch bowls). That was pretty easy. EverClearâ€”which comes with no fewer than three “highly flammable” warnings on its label. Coriander, caraway seed, cardomom, gentian extract â€” you practically trip over these semi-exotic ingredients thanks to our profusion of fine natural foods emporia. And Amazon.com obliged with a source for quassia chips.
But quinine powder.Â Hmmmmmm – I’m still looking.
Meanwhile, I dried the orange peels in a very low oven. Then added them, plus seeds, to two cups of 100 proof alcohol. Now the infusing takes place. Two weeks worth, until the next step. (to be continued…)