Patience is the main ingredient required when making orange gin as it is best left to mature for at least a few years. For this reason it is also a good idea to make a large quantity.
I have been recommended a recipe which uses: 20 Seville oranges, 4½ litres gin, 1.35kg granulated sugar and six cloves. Firstly, thinly slice the peel from the oranges, making sure no pith is attached. Place the peel in a demijohn, add the gin, sugar and cloves and cork the demijohn (this can be done using some kitchen roll wrapped in cling film). Store this in a cool dark place and shake regularly.
After about three to four months the sugar should have dissolved. Taste and then siphon off into bottles and seal. You might need to filter the gin through coffee paper to remove any sediment.
To ensure the gin keeps for years you can seal the top of the bottle with sealing wax, and add the family crest for an impressive finish. Orange gin really does improve with the years, so if you can wait you will reap the benefits. The peeled oranges can be used for making marmalade.
Send queries to Rosie Macdonald, Country Queries Editor, The Field, Blue Fin Building,
110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU or email Country Queries.
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