Close Your Eyes, You Are In Provence…

At the week-end a couple of my friends came for lunch. It was the first time they visited since we’ve moved house so we had a customary tour of the place (loose lining paper, picture rails hanging off walls and areas covered in “protective” newspaper, what a sight!) and then settled in the kitchen to enjoy the aperitif while I was finishing to cook lunch. It was a lovely day so I decided to mirror the blue sky with some sunshine in our plates, looking at Provence for some inspiration. I will post the lunch recipe later (mustard and feta crusted lamb with roasted vegetables) but I completely forgot to take a picture! So we started with a typical southern drink – and no, it wasn’t pastis! – le vin d’orange, orange wine. It is something my mother and her friends and family would usually prepare in April/May, ready to open in June (in the South of France Summer does not wait until mid-July to show up).

For 2.25L
Prep: 15 minutes, 6-8 weeks in advance

Ingredients:

3 bottles of rosé wine. No need to go expensive, you will add flavour to it!
0.45L vodka (or white fruit alcohol)
350g white sugar
4 oranges
1 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 cloves

Method:

– In a large airtight container, mix the wine, vodka, sugar and spices.
– Cut the oranges in quarters and add them to the mix.
– Add the lemon juice, mix well and close the container.
– Let it macerate for 6 to 8 weeks in a cool dark place. Every week check on the container and mix gently to ensure the sugar dissolves properly.
– After about 6 to 8 weeks, carefully filter the wine, ideally through a muslin (or a coffee filter, although that takes longer), and bottle.

Serve chilled for a very summery aperitif!