In January, Gilbert makes Seville orange gin whilst Marjorie is making marmalade. He says there’s nothing like a glass with a stale husk of bread when their marmalade runs out. I’m sure that this never happens as I’ve seen Marjorie stirring dustbin sized vats on their Aga.
Their house was filled with the heavy scent of marmalade last weekend. Like us, they simmer their marmalade for hours to get the depth of flavour and dark colour that livens up even the soggiest piece of toast.
We’ve known Gilbert for years but were surprised to learn that his recent trip to Spain was not for the wintry sunshine but to select and pick his own Seville oranges. It turns out that he has made a pilgrimage to Seville in January for the last twenty years and he’s never let on.
We were delighted to find another man who was willing to undertake the great chopping, simmering, marmalade marathon.
Gilbert shook his head slowly.
“Yes and no. I go to stay with my old pal Juan to catch up and spend a few days in the sun. He lives to the west of Seville. On the last day I rise very early and set out alone to his grove and I pick a dozen oranges to make this grog.”
He reached for a chunky bottle that he plonked on the table and slowly drew out the cork.
“And he always brings me back four boxes of oranges, for my marmalade,” added Marjorie. This explained the vats on the Aga.
Gilbert filled small glasses and pushed them slowly towards us. This fragrant liqueur is fantastic. His recipe is below. Danny is still recovering from the arm wrestling contest that was undertaken to win this recipe.
Citrus liqueurs take ages to mature. Gilbert always allows a minimum of three years for his Seville orange gin. It is well worth the wait. We’re going to make it every year from now on. You can probably use vodka instead of gin if you prefer.
|Gilbert’s Seville orange gin recipe||
- 4 Seville oranges (the rind, no pith)
- 1/2 pound (225g) of granulated white sugar
- 2 cloves
- 1 litre of gin (medium quality, supermarket own brands work well)
- Pour off 250 ml of gin and reserve. (We always buy the same brand and have a half full bottle knocking around for topping up.)
- Carefully pare the orange rind (avoiding the bitter pith) and add to the bottle.
- Add the cloves and the sugar.
- Top up with gin to an inch below the top.
- Leave the bottle in a prominent place for a few days and shake every morning and evening to dissolve the sugar.
- After a week place the bottle in a cool, dry place for three years.
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