The Lucayos Cookbook uses predominantly raisin-based fruit wines, and so far I’ve found them to be interesting and tasty. This version is unique in that it is fortified with brandy after fermentation, giving it a bit of an extra kick. To stay closer to Game of Thrones, I swapped the Seville (civil) oranges called for in the original for blood oranges; I’d be curious to try the original, too!
The brandy version is very strong, with a touch of orange flavor about halfway through. After two months, the brandy and orange flavors are still a bit harsh, but it’s drinkable.
After four months, it has melded beautifully. The flavor is smooth, familiarly a fortified wine, with traces of citrus and grapey raisin. You might expect an orange wine to be sweet, but this one is not. It has a full bodied heaviness from the citrus peel that almost tastes of grapefruit, but in the bouquet and the finish the sweetness of the oranges is a distinct and flavorful counterpoint to the heavier punch of the brandy.
In the future, the only change I might make is to add a single spice of some sort, probably either cinnamon or ginger, to give it a bit more complex flavor. A touch of hibiscus, for both flavor and to preserve that characteristic blood orange color, would also not go amiss.
It’s got to be Dorne, all the way. In addition to having “strongwine”, the Dornish enjoy blood oranges with nearly every meal. They grow around the terrace of the Water Gardens in great abundance, and would be an ideal candidate
Recipe for Blood Orange Wine
Makes 1 gallon Initial Fermentation: 8-10 days Aging: at least 2 months
Cook’s Notes: I’ve downsized the recipe further, in order to make it fit in a 1 gallon carboy, and omitted the egg whites, as they were predominantly to help clarify the sugary water. ALSO! You may want to employ a blow-off tube for the first few days of fermentation; the sugar content in the raisins will ensure that the mixture turns into a brewzilla.
Lucayos, #75, To make orange wine: To eight gallons of water, sixteen pounds of dry sugar and the whites of eight eggs well beaten. Let it boile as long as any skim arises; taking it off as it rises. Just before you take it off the fire, put in the yellow peels of a hundred of civile oranges. Let them have one boile. Have ready wash’d and cut eight pound of malagas, pour the boiling liquor upon them and let it stand till its almost cold. Peel off the white of the oranges as clean as you can. Mash the oranges to pieces withe your hands and take out all the seeds you can. To every gallon of liquor allow eight oranges. When mixed, work it with ale yeast. Let it stand in the tubb eight days. Stirring it every day. Then strain it off and put it into your vessell with the fresh peels of twelve oranges, two quarts of the best brandy. When it have done working stop it down and let it stand till fine, before you bottle it. In two months or ten weeks it will be fine. -Lucayos Cookbook, 1690s
Ingredients for 1 Gallon:
- 1 gallon water
- 2 lb sugar
- 12 orange peels
- 1/2 lb. raisins, roughly chopped
- 8 blood oranges (save the peels)
- 1 packet ale yeast
- 1.5 fresh peel
- 1/2 cup brandy
Heat water and sugar, while stirring. Add the orange peels, bring to a boil, then allow to cool just slightly. Add the raisins to your 1 gallon jug, or other primary fermenter, then pour about half the orangey water over them. Mash the peeled oranges, then add to liquid. Pour over enough of the remaining orangey water to bring the level up to about 2″ below the neck of the bottle. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, pitch the yeast. Attach airlock, and let sit for 8-10 days, or until the airlock is no longer bubbling. Strain, pour over fresh orange peels, and add brandy. Let sit 10 weeks minimum.
Rack the wine into a clean carboy, and press any remaining liquid out of the fruit pulp. Allow the wine to sit for at least a day until the yeast has settled, then bottle, taking the usual precautions.
For variety’s sake, I’ve also included two as-yet-untested recipes that I stumbled upon while researching this wine. They are both a bit more like cordials, rather than proper wines, as the orange peels are set to infuse spirits. However, the second includes some sack, an old fashioned type of sherry, so could arguably be a sort of orange “wine”. The first has such an interesting selection of ingredients that I’d love to see what the final flavor combination would be.
The Jewell House of Art and Nature, Sir Hugh Platt, 1594, How to give a prettie grace both in tast and propertie, unto the spirit of wine: If you infuse the same uppon the rinde of a civel sower Orange, or Lymon, you shall finde a pleasaunt and comfortable taste thereby, or if you woulde not have the same descried by his colour, you may redistill the spirit so tincted in balneo. Some give a tuch unto the spirit of wing with rosemary, some with annis seedes, some with sweet fennell seedes: som with one seed, or hearbe, and some with another, by infusing the same a day or two upon them.
Queenlike Closet, 1672. To make Spirit of Oranges or of Limons: Take of the thickest rin’d Oranges or Limons, and chip off the Rinds very thin, put these Chips into a Glass-bottle, and put in as many as the Glass will hold, then put in as much Malago Sack as the Glass will hold besides; stop the bottle close that no Air get in, and when you use it, take about half a spoonful in a Glass of Sack