Friday, 7 April 2017

Strange fruit and the Moroney cocktail

We have a couple of little fruit trees in pots, an orange and a lemon, which struggle to thrive in our London garden. Over winter we brought them indoors and I watched as the orange tree produced a couple of fruit. Sadly, it wasn’t very happy and started dropping its leaves until pretty much all that was hanging from its spindly branches were the two fruit, and the stems supporting them were the only green, healthy looking ones. I was hoping that they would in time look like, you know, oranges; but by the point they both dropped off last week they were still resolutely green.

After a week sitting in the fruit bowl they clearly weren’t about to change colour, so I sliced one open. Rather gratifyingly, the inside looked just like an orange. A little on the small side, but nevertheless orange and juicy, like an orange should be. Its juice was somewhat astringent, but definitely orange juice.*

In fact the combination of the green skin and orange flesh is rather striking and, in combination with the white pith, reminiscent of the Irish flag. When I thought about cocktails traditionally garnished with an orange slice I immediately hit upon the Negroni (equal parts gin, Campari and red vermouth) and, to give it an Irish twist I tried using Irish whiskey instead of gin. Or course there is every reason why this should work, since the same thing with American whiskey is a Boulevardier, and I’ve noticed in the past how Irish whiskey, with its milder character than Scotch, lends itself better to cocktails.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Moroney. And very well it works too, with the caramelly warmth of the whiskey balancing the herbal bitterness of the amari with a bit of sweetness from the vermouth (I used Martini Rosso and Jameson whiskey in this case).

I wish I’d thought of this in time for St Patrick’s Day last month. Perhaps I can pretend it is to mark the 101st anniversary of the Easter Uprising…

Ice ball courtesy of a G'Vine ice ball maker

*When I posted a photo on Facebook a friend observed that once upon a time oranges were actually green, until later being bred to have orange skin, so I can tell myself that we must have a Heritage Orange Tree.

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