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Oranges & why they are so a-peeling!

Navel, Clementine, Blood, Seville, Tangerine, Mandarin… These are just a few fruits belonging to the orange family. Did you know that an orange can technically be defined as a berry? The most common oranges to us here in South Africa are the navel and valencia varieties, with the latter being produced and exported in volumes more than double that of navel oranges.

Navel oranges are seedless and derive its name from the second tiny fruit growing at the orange’s base which looks like a human belly button. Valencia oranges on the other hand has a thinner skin and are a little sweeter than navel oranges. All oranges are non-climacteric, meaning that they have to ripen and develop their colour and flavour on the tree before getting picked. Most oranges produced in our country are exported with most of them going to Europe.

Now that you are a little more clued up about this delicious fruit, let’s talk a bit about why we love it so much and why this ailment cure makes a great companion to our drink of the hour, week, month and year - gin!

Citrus fruits like oranges are best paired with London Dry gins, which is why we love pairing it with our triple distilled, smooth and spicy Alchemist. The acidity of the fruit really enhances the botanicals infused in the gin, balancing out the flavours perfectly.

To really get the most flavour from your orange in your gin, we recommend only using the rind (also known as an orange swath). Thinly slice the skin off in pieces (or in a spiral for an orange twist!) and add it to your cocktail with lots of ice just before serving. Not only are the rinds delicious, they’re rich in antioxidants and packed with nutritional value! Just make sure to rinse your oranges before use.

You can preserve orange rinds if you wish by boiling them in a sterilised jar and storing them in the fridge for a few months. Not only can you use it in your drinks, but also in baked goods like cake. Fresh is always best though and we are moving into orange season soon so preservation might not even be necessary.

Other than using orange rinds for your cocktails, you can also use an orange flavoured simple syrup or freshly squeezed orange juice. Move over mimosa!

If you need to stock up on gin please come visit us at the distillery. You can try our orange inspired cocktail, a Ray of Sunshine! What a good way to get in some additional vitamin C!

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