After two weeks of slumbering in 100 proof grain alcohol, my alchemical mixture of Seville orange peels, coriander, fennel seeds, gentian and quassia bark was ready for stage two on the road to becoming orange bitters.
After pouring the alcohol—now tinged a pale orange hue—through cheesecloth, I put it back into a mason jar to rest. Then I took the dry ingredients and muddled them into submission with a wooden spoon. I then added the orange peel mix to a saucepan along with 3 1/4 cups of water, brought it to a boil, let it all simmer for ten minutes, turned off the heat and let it cool slowly for one hour.
Then (whew) I reunited the alcohol and the orange peel water, back into the Mother Jar, where the brew now sits in a cool dark place (my wine cellar/garage) for one more week.
After that, I’ll do some voodoo with sugar syrup, remove and toss out the orange peel mix, let it all age for at least two more weeks before decanting into some beautiful little bottles.
Stay tuned—it’s definitely fun being a culinary shaman for the winter.