It’s citrus time in the desert which means my kitchen is brimming with all sorts of herbcraft. I use almost the entire tree in all sorts of yummyness. One of the most amazing things about living in a place where citrus is everywhere is the smell that fills our city when the trees blossom. A rich scent that is both deeply sweet and floral with just a touch of orange mist. It is one of the last moments of the beautiful desert winter before the heat starts to encroach upon us. It reminds me to sit and be slow, savoring in every last perfect winterspring day. Our blossoms won’t be ready until sometime in early March, perhaps February, but I’m sharing a recipe today for a heavenly elixir for the Wild Things Roundup since it’s a good boozy treat.
The orange blossoms are so rich in aroma and fragrance, this elixir can actually be made in a day, rather than waiting for a tincture like most recipes.
Gather the blossoms when they are very white, and fresh. You can smell the fragrance for blocks and blocks. Make a cold infused tea by filing a bowl full of flowers then adding room temperature water to cover the bowl. Leave the bowl on the counter, or set it outside to infuse in the sun all day. When the flowers begin to wilt, and break down, it should be ready.
Strain the liquid through fine cheesecloth. For every quart of liquid add about 4 cups of brandy and 1/2 cup of honey for a light cordial-ish tea. You can however, increase or decrease this to taste depending on your sweet tooth and how strong you want the cordial. The orange blossoms are very sweet themselves, and I often find myself wishing I had put in less honey. Shake well and serve!
It can be served cold or at room temperature, or even warmed with a sprinkle of cinnamon or rosemary on top as a toddy. I am sure it will store in the refrigerator indefinitely, but I have never had to test that theory.
I, of course, think it is crucial that you find a fancy bottle to store and serve this beautiful drink in. This one was picked up at the thrift store for $2 and I bought the cork at a craft store.
Gather some friends, make a picnic lunch with pretty table cloths, tiny square herbalicious sandwiches, dress up in fancy clothes and share. Tell stories of our lovely winterspring holding on to a bit of gratitude for this beautiful desert you can take with you into the summer.