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Yes – I know there is already a drink called “Orange Crush”. I also know it is a dreadful concoction of artificial everything and tastes like orange colored hell. I grew up on crap orange soda. Even with the whole small craft beverage explosion, I have yet to find a great orange soda. The answer – as usual – was to make it myself.
The syrup is made using a modified oleo-saccharum method. After juicing the oranges, I macerate the rinds in granulated sugar. This is left out at room temperature four hours and stirred every hour. The sugar will break down, pull moisture and oils from the rinds, and create a syrup. That syrup has a deeper, more floral taste than just using orange juice and simple syrup. While I have used turbinado to make this syrup, the larger crystals do not break down as well resulting in a syrup that requires secondary processing – usually thinning with water.
What I ended up with was a perfect orange syrup – big notes of orange flavor with the brightness of the oils from the rinds. Mixed with a bit of seltzer from my favorite soda siphon and I finally have a soda I can truly call my Orange Crush.
Cold brewed orange syrup, seltzer
Makes 1 drink
4 ounces orange syrup
3-4 ice cubes
Place ice in a 12-ounce glass. Pour orange syrup over ice. Fill the glass with seltzer. Stir.
1 part orange rinds
1/2 part granulated sugar
NOTE: The proportions of this recipe are based on the weight of the orange. If you have 16 ounces of orange rinds you’ll need and 8 ounces sugar.
Cut orange rinds in quarters and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover and let sit on the counter for at least 4 hours – stirring every 30 – 45 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain syrup. In small batches, press rinds in the mesh strainer with a spoon to get every drop. Pour into bottle and store in the refrigerator.