Orange infused wine, or vin d’orange, is a warm weather Provençal aperitif, but I never remember to make it during the summer months, only during the holidays. Although, when drinking it, I like to imagine sipping orange wine from a garden cafe somewhere (anywhere!) along the Côte-d’Azure. Vin d’orange is marvelously easy to prepare and makes a much appreciated holiday host/hostess gift.
Over the years I’ve experimented with the original recipe, which was, to my way of thinking, much too sweet—add more sugar if you like a sweeter aperitif. I think you will find this concoction intoxicatingly fun, light, and aromatic. I hope your family and friends enjoy as much as do mine!
12-15 Clementines thoroughly washed and cut in half
3 bottles modestly priced dry white wine
1 Cup sugar
½ Cup Courvoisier
Long strips of orange zest
In a large glass or stainless steel bowl combine the wine and Clementines, gently squeezing each half to release some of the juice. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 5 days. Save the empty wine bottles and corks; wash and remove labels. You will need a fourth empty bottle.
Remove orange infused wine from the refrigerator and squeeze any liquid remaining in the orange halves into the large bowl. Discard oranges. Add the sugar and cognac, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Pour wine concoction into wine bottles. Insert a strip of the zest into each bottle and cork. Chill the wine for one week. Serve neat or over ice.
Vin d’orange will keep for 6 months when chilled. Makes approximately 4 bottles.
Dear Readers, There must be a southern Italian equivalent to vin d’orange? In Italy they make something entirely different, also called orange wine. Italian orange wine is made from white grapes that have been left to ferment with their skins, treated in essence like red wines. These wines may macerate for days or even months, which gives the wine color shades varying from rosy pink to amber cider to vivid orange, however this is a different process than wine infused with oranges. Please write if you know of an Italian version of the Provençal aperitif or some similar deliciously fun fruit infused wine recipe.