Vin d’Orange Recipe | Wild Drinks & Cocktails Book Review

Food and drink books written by an American authors don’t always translate well for a UK audience but Wild Drinks & Cocktails  by Emily Han is one of the exceptions; the recipes list ingredients in both Imperial and metric units, and the vast majority of ingredients are familiar and available across both sides of the pond.

Wild Drinks & Cocktails: Handcrafted Squashes, Shrubs, Switchels, Tonics, and Infusions to Mix at Home is packed full of recipes for drinks you can make using ingredients that can be grown in your garden or readily foraged – in the countryside or even in the urban landscape. Of course, you can buy many of the fruits, herbs and spices in shops and markets.

Wild Drinks & Cocktails

Before sharing recipes, Han runs through some key introductory topics: First, a guide to foraging, which stresses the importance of absolute certainty in plant identification, and provides a gentle reminder to consider the ethics of harvesting rare species or plants that local wildlife rely on for food or shelter; Next, how to harvest, with techniques for leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and roots and suggestions of harvesting tools you may find useful; After that, an ingredients primer which covers herbs, spices and a comprehensive list of sweeteners from processed sugars and molasses to honey, agave nectar and maple syrup; and last, a list of kitchen equipment for making the recipes, including a guide on sanitising and sterilising tools and containers.

Recipes are divided into six chapters:

  • Teas, Juices and Lemonades
  • Syrups, Squashes and Cordials
  • Oxymels, Shrubs and Switchels
  • Infusions, Bitters and Liqueurs
  • Wines and Punches
  • Fizzy Fermentations

At the start of each chapter, Han explains the origins and methods for each type of drink it covers, so if you don’t know your infusion from your dedoction or your shrub from your switchel, you will soon! Likewise, many of the recipe introductions are enormously informative about ingredients and recipe history. In many cases, there is guidance too about health benefits of certain ingredients or concoctions, though there’s a wise reminder in Han’s introduction that the contents of the book should not be taken as medical advice. On a personal note, it’s good to see the world of western medicine waking up to the claims of traditional medicinal systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese about a variety of natural ingredients, many of which are now being investigated scientifically and several of which have been found to have beneficial effects.

Interspersed in the recipes for teas, cordials, vinegars, wines and so on are suggested cocktails – a great way to use some of your home made items.

Not every recipe has an accompanying photograph, but most do, and these are bright and appealing.

The recipes also provide an indication of how long you can keep the finished product. Although the liqueurs have a long shelf life, my only disappointment with the book is that many of the other recipes have surprisingly short one – for me, one of the key reasons to make cordials, vinegars and syrups is to preserve the season’s bounty to a time of the year when that ingredient is no longer available. I would have thought that cordials and syrups with a high sugar content – if made in clean equipment and stored in sterilised bottles – would surely last much longer than 2 weeks.

What I do like is that these are not just the run-of-the-mill recipes we’ve all encountered time and time again – instead Han brings an inventiveness not just in terms of some of the ingredients she uses but also in the combinations she suggests for well-known ingredients.

The good news is that I have two copies of Wild Drinks & Cocktails  to give away. Scroll down for the chance to win this beautiful book.

In the meantime, enjoy Emily Han’s delightful recipe for Vin D’Orange.

Wild Drinks and Cocktails Vin dOrange crp

Homemade Vin D’Orange

Here’s a vital bit of kitchen (and wildcrafting) wisdom: some recipes are meant to be enjoyed right away, while others are lovingly prepared for future pleasure. Vin d’orange falls into the latter category. Infused with winter citrus fruits, it reaches its prime in spring or summer—and that’s when you’ll thank yourself for having such foresight. (It’s also when you’ll lament that you didn’t put up more!) Served as an aperitif, vin d’orange is traditionally made from bitter oranges and dry white or French-style rosé wine. Depending on where you live, bitter oranges may be hard to locate, so this version calls for more readily available navel oranges plus grapefruit. The result is a wine that’s pleasantly bittersweet—delicious on its own over ice, or mixed with a little sparkling water.

Servings 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 2 large navel oranges (preferably Cara Cara)
  • 1 small grapefruit (preferably white)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean , split
  • 100 g sugar
  • 120 ml vodka
  • 60 ml brandy
  • 750 ml dry white or dry rosé wine

Recipe Notes

Variation: To use bitter oranges, replace the oranges and grapefruit with 3 Seville oranges.

Instructions

  • Rinse and dry the oranges and grapefruit. Trim and discard the stem ends. Cut each orange into 1/4-inch-thick (6 mm) rounds. Cut the grapefruit in half and then cut each half into 1/4-inch-thick (6 mm) half-circles.

  • Combine the oranges, grapefruit, vanilla, and sugar in a sterilized quart (1 L) jar. Pour the vodka, brandy, and wine into the jar and push the fruit down with a wooden spoon to submerge it as much as possible (it will insist on floating up). Cover the jar tightly.

  • Store the jar in a cool, dark place for 1 month, shaking it daily to moisten the floating pieces of fruit with the alcohol mixture.

  • Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids.

  • Bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

  • Age for at least 1 month before drinking: the Vin d’Orange will continue to improve with age. Serve chilled.

Recipe extract from Wild Drink and Cocktails by Emily Han, published with permission from Fair Wind Press. Kavey Eats received a review copy of Wild Drinks and Cocktails. Published by Fair Winds Press, a member of the Quarto Publishing Group, this title is currently available for £14.99 (RRP).

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
31 Comments to "Vin d’Orange Recipe | Wild Drinks & Cocktails Book Review"

  1. Urvashi

    Blimey what a fabulous sounding book. Just up my street. I love the way she’s given specific varieties of the ingredients like the navel oranges in your recipe above.
    I’m not sure I have a favourite drink made of fruits, vegetables or herbs. One that evokes many childhood memories though is the Indian Lime Soda. My mum used to make a version with oranges and just a hint of cardamom. It was soothing and refreshing at the same time.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yes, I really like it, I’m definitely going to try several of the recipes as things come into season.
    And yes, I looove nimbu pani too!

    Reply
  2. Crystal S

    I love a good strawberry lemonade made with all natural ingredients. That book looks like it would be a lot of fun to make drinks with!

    Reply
  3. kellyjo walters

    I always make elderflower cordial and blackberry cordial all from fruit in the wild

    Reply
  4. Lucy

    The book looks great. I’ve never heard of oxymel or switchels, let alone have any idea of how to make them. It sounds great for a present for a foodie!

    Reply
  5. Shereen

    My favourite drink made from fruit is a blackberry whiskey I made to a recipe from The Cottage Smallholder website. It’s fruity, a bit spicy and had a lovely warmth. Even whiskey haters like it.

    Reply
  6. Kevin Chambers-Paston

    Oooh, this book sounds fab and right up my street! I’ve no idea what a Oxymel or Switchel is, so I guess I’ll have to buy the book to find out! I’ve experimented a fair amount with infused alcohol but there’s always more to learn. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Alida

    I love this interesting drink, I would have it for Christmas when you want something special for friends and family. Nice!

    Reply
  8. Ana

    I love the humble elderflower cordial! So fragrant and delicious. I’ve been making my own for the last couple of years, loving how the fragrance fills the house.

    Reply
  9. Emily Han

    Hi Kavey, Thank you for reviewing my book and sharing it with your readers! It’s hard to pick a favorite recipe (all the recipes are like my children!), but that Vin d’Orange is high on the list 🙂

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Hello Emily, thank you for commenting. There were so many delicious looking recipes, it was a wonderful dilemma choosing which one to share. Thank you to you and your publishers for allowing me to host this giveaway. Can’t wait to use done of my allotment harvest and foraged fruits to make some of these drinks!

    Reply
  10. Maxine G

    Sounds a lovely book – I make elderflower ‘champagne’ every year, a real taste of summer

    Reply
  11. Ray Becker

    Naughty Night large glug of Vodka, gin , white rum , white wine & a very small dash of raspberry cordial

    Reply
  12. Jane Willis

    Is it OK to say wine because it’s made from grapes? No, I thought not, so I’ll say sloe gin. This year’s is looking incredibly good, I’m itching to crack it open.

    Reply
  13. Rachel Blythe

    My absolute favourite for the morning is a sort of thin smoothie made by whizzing up half a galia melon, two pears and a generous grating of fresh ginger. Zingy and refreshing – a real pick-me-up.

    Reply

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