Recipe notes: What you will need: 1-qt Mason jar, very sharp paring knife, and strainer. Active time peeling and trimming pith, 1 hour. Inactive time: 90 days for infusion. Difficulty: Easy-moderate. Yields 1 liter.
- 20-juice oranges,* peeled, pith (white part) removed
- 2-vanilla beans split lengthwise
*The rind from juice oranges, such as Valencias, are thinner, and because they yield a greater degree of oil, the orange flavor is more pronounced to mimic the perfumed bitter orange peels used in Grand Mariner.
- Wash oranges thoroughly.
- Using sharp paring knife, peel oranges, being careful to avoid white part. Whatever white part remains needs to be shaved away as seen below in picture (2-3). Otherwise, if left, pith (white underside of skin) will cause the liqueur to become bitter.
- Hold sharp edge of knife at a slight 90 degree angle between pith and skin, and shave pith in strips. It may take a few tries to remove it entirely. I know what a tedious task it is— having made several of these citrus infusions—which is why I turn on the stereo and sit at the kitchen table with a small cutting board for this project. But it’s worth the effort to put out a quality product. Something you will be proud to pour, and display as your personal reserve.
- Collect peelings and place in Mason jar
- Push peelings to bottom of jar using a plunger from a food processor or facsimile to muddle rinds and release additional oils.
- Add brandy making sure peelings are completely submerged.
- Secure lid, and store in pantry to infuse.
- Juice oranges, and pour into ice-cube trays
- Freeze and transfer cubes to ziplock bag and reserve for mixer.
- Shake or stir infusion weekly
- Strain infusion reserving (1) vanilla bean and one or two peelings for display.
- Reserve remaining vanilla bean for baking.
- Discard remaining rind.
- 1-cup water
- 1-cup Stevia
- Bring 1-cup of water to a boil, add Stevia. Allow to cool.
- Pour simple syrup into infusion.
- Stir well.
- Transfer liqueur to desired bottle, add reserved orange peel and vanilla