There are a lot of damn delicious spirits out there. As such we're going to *try* not have too many recipes that involve spirit infusion, partly because we're not even going to pretend for a minute that we could possibly make something better, and also because certain parts of the world have laws that make messing with yo spirit illegal... and this is most definitely a global message we're trying to spread! Every now and then we're gonna have something too good not to share though, and this shit below definitely ticks that box in a big ol' way.
When thinking of liquor (other than rum) that provides the backbone to many a Tiki classic, it's hard not to arrive at the equally beloved and bastardised curaçao. However, somewhere along the way this classic ingredient got mixed up in a myriad of colour experimentations that we're just going to pretend don't exist just now.
We're here to day to talk about the good ol' classic orange curaçao. Perfumed aroma of sweet oranges, with a bitter and slightly cloying finish, the most famous brands dance either side the line between triple sec and orange curaçao (if you give a shit about knowing the difference, the human booze nerd encyclopedia, Camper English, has written about such on his blog here) with vastly different flavour profiles as a result.
Never having been entirely satisfied with any one brand, as well as seeing the metric shit tonne of orange husks any bar with fresh juice throws out every day, we decided to roll up them sleeves and get stuck in!
Our bench mark for this and the constant comparison for side-by-side tastings was the damn delicious Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao - whilst big fans of this juice, we have wanted something unique to our needs.
What we aimed for (and hopefully created) was something that not only had that big pungent orange nose, but also carried through to be really zesty and fresh on the palette.
BORING DAD ALERT: This recipe involves working with heat, so please, be smart. Read the instruction fully before starting, wear appropriate clothing and make sure you have extraction fans, extinguishers and emergency exits all fully functioning
DISCLAIMER: This is totally a #WorkInProgress and we'll continue to update this post as we go, so check back on the reg to see any changes we've made
O&B Curaçao (WIP)
You're going to need
- 1000g orange husks (like in the picture)
- 1000ml water
- 350ml Cognac - we've been rolling with Martel VS so far
- 750ml Vodka or neutral spirit
- 72g granulated sugar
- 4.5g citric acid powder
- .5g maldon salt
- Hot plate and pot with lid (preferably induction)
- 1L sealable container
- Tongs and whisk
Step 1 - Orange Stock
- Add husks and water to pot
- Bring water to boil then simmer for 10 mins
- Remove orange husks with tongs and place to one side
- Add sugar, salt and acid and give a quick whisk to dissolve
- Give the husks a quick squeeze and add an water or juice to pot - KEEP HUSKS!
- Cover pot and boil till reduced by 2/3's
- Approx yield: 350ml - bottle and store air tight and cold
Step 2 - Orange Infusion
- Pick 350g of the orange husks you just blanched
- Add to container with Cognac, ensuring husks are fully covered in liquid
- Seal airtight and leave at room temp somewhere safe for 24 hours
- Go eat, sleep, work, fuck, party or what ever for 24 hours
- Remove husks and give a quick squeeze before discarding
- Store airtight and at room temp
Step 3 - Blending
- Add orange stock and infusion together (should be equal parts)
- Add vodka and whisk
- Pass through superbag, bottle and store
Two things to note;
- The vodka is added to raise the ABV of the final product so it's better to mix with in as a classic curaçao would be. Depending on what you plan to use it for, as well as the varietal of oranges you use, it may require more (3:1) or less (2:1) vodka
- The final product is going to be a little cloudy. As we batch all our drinks this really doesn't matter and definitely won't have a bad affect on your final drink. If you do want something a little clearer, bang it through a coffee filter.
We created this originally for our signature serve, the Trash Tai, however have had some killer success with it in other non-tiki classics such as an El Presidente. Holler at with any feedback you got so we can keep updating and improving this!