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Food & Drink

Remix: a fresh take on classic cocktails

Cordial 44

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I first heard of this classic homemade orange-and-coffee liqueur while researching coffee cocktails for last month's Remix (which led to the inside-out Irish Coffee). Cordial 44, with its easy-to-remember, numerically alliterative recipe, has a corny 1950s appeal, but actually dates back much further. The origin is tough to trace, though, since it's not a commercial product. Some call it a variation on limoncello, with which it definitely shares DNA; some say it originated in Brittany, France (there called Quarante-Quatre); some say it's from Madagascar; some say it's an old pirate recipe. (Arrgh.)

Wherever and whenever it came from, it's delicious and dead easy to make. My only Remix twist is to make it 100 percent local (or pretty damn close). If you don't have an orange tree in your yard, you probably have a neighbor who does, or a co-worker who'd be more than happy to share. Domino sugar (which owns Florida Crystals), of course, is refined down south. Orlando-based company Breyting owns and operates Snake Bomb Coffee (snakebombcoffee.com) – it's imported from Laos, yes, but enabled by their passion and determination (and dollars). And for the alcohol that brings all the flavors together, instead of the traditional vodka or rum, I used Winter Park Distilling's Bear Gully Classic, a clear corn whiskey with a fiery nose and a nutty, floral finish that coordinates well with the coffee and citrus.

Cordial 44

1 orange
44 coffee beans
44 sugar cubes
4 cups vodka or white rum
1 large, clean, wide-mouth Mason jar

Drop 44 sugar cubes in the bottom of the jar.

Wash the orange thoroughly, carefully scrubbing off the wax if you bought it at the supermarket. Using a sharp paring knife, cut 44 slits in the orange, about 1/2-inch deep, and insert one coffee bean into each slit.

Cover the orange with 4 cups of liquor, screw on the cap and store in a cool, dark place for 44 days. To serve, spoon or pour out liqueur, leaving the orange in the jar. Serve straight at room temperature.


Cordial I-4

1 yard orange (the largest one that will fit through the mouth of your jar)
44 Snake Bomb coffee beans
44 Domino sugar cubes or a scant cup (44 teaspoons) of Florida Crystals
4 cups Bear Gully Classic corn whiskey
1 large, clean, wide-mouth Mason jar

Put the sugar in the jar. Wash any dirt or sand off the orange and stab it 44 times with a small sharp knife. Insert a Snake Bomb bean in each poked hole. Pour in the corn whiskey and give the jar a good swirl. Store in a cupboard for 44 days; gently swirl the jar once a day.

Once the cordial is fully infused, remove and discard the coffee-bean-studded orange, strain liqueur through cheesecloth, and store in the refrigerator. Serve neat, or over ice, or mixed with seltzer, or in coffee, or mixed into a cocktail – go to our Salivation Army blog for recipes (blogs.orlandoweekly.com).

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