Bitter Sweet Orange

Bitter Sweet Orange

It takes at least two years to make this bitter sweet orange liqueur but the taste is so well worth it. The orange is from a small shrub like tree called Poncirus Trifoliatia or Japanese Bitter Orange tree and is most well known by architects and gardeners who proscribe it as the most effective legal shrub to deter unwanted intruders owing to its exceedingly thorny attributes! 

We are so very lucky to have a knowledgeable aboriculturist in our neighborhood who has a collection of rare and splendid trees in his collection. One of these trees is of the bitter orange variety and he recently presented me with a nice selection direct from his garden. Here they are:

You will see they are small and crab apple like with an intense smell. They are almost all pulp and could be most used in a marmalade recipe. However the orange liqueur is much more exciting and exotic. 


12 bitter oranges
200g white sugar 
1 litre white rum


Bring a large pan of boiling water to boiling point. Clean the oranges and quickly blanch by placing them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove from water and let cool. Stérilise a one litre bottle with wide screw top. Place the sugar in the bottle followed by the oranges and top up with enough rum to cover all the oranges. Screw the lid on tightly and shake vigorously at least every day for the next ten days. Store in a dark cupboard and forget all about it for two years. Check and shake occasionally when you come across it! Probably a good idea to label with date and contents!

So thank you Chris for your lovely bitter sweet oranges and fortunately always make two bottles because one is never enough. 

Serve as a liquor with chocolate orange cake or as an ingredient with sparkling wine to make a delicious cocktail. 
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