Preserving foods in sugar is an ancient practise which dates as far back as ancient China and Mesopotamia. Around the 14th century Arabs were making candied roses and citrus and spread the technique through Europe as they moved to conquer the West. Candied fruit, also called crystallized fruit or glacé fruit, has been documented in written recipes as far back as the 16th century.
Today you can find candied orange peels in higher end candy stores, online or you can make your own. Believe it or not, it's an easy candy treat to make and it has the added benefit of using something you would normally throw away. Candied peels are a delicious sweet treat and even better when dipped in a nice dark chocolate and can be used in a number of recipes. I've added diced pieces to a homemade pound cake batter, used it as garnish on desserts and even tossed it in salads.
Thanks to National Candied Orange Peel Day, it occurred to me I could also make a candied orange cocktail - so, I did!
Insert 2 orange slices in your ice mold and freeze until solid.
Muddle some rosemary leaves with the orange simple syrup, lemon and orange juices and the Rye in the bottom of the mixing glass.
Strain this into the cocktail shaker then add in the egg white and orange bitters and dry shake (shake without ice) for one minute to emulsify the egg and develop the foam. (You can also do this step using a blender.)
Add the ice and shake about 20 seconds or until the cocktail is chilled.
Slide the orange slice ice sphere into the glass then strain the cocktail over the sphere.
Garnish with the rosemary and some candied orange slices then serve.
For an extra special happy hour, dip a few of the candied oranges in a nice dark chocolate and serve alongside the cocktail.
* Yes, that sugar syrup that's left over after you boiled the oranges in it is exactly what you have if you wanted to make an orange flavored simple syrup. Don't throw it out, it will keep in your refrigerator for several weeks. Not only is it wonderful as a simple syrup for cocktails, but it can be used in iced tea or hot tea, marinades, salad dressings, brushed on cake layers to keep them moist or used as the sweetener in orange or lemonade.
This cocktail recipe calls for candied orange peels, but the same process can be used for any citrus peel including lemon, grapefruit, tangerine and other similar citrus fruits. Change up the bitters and fruit juice to match and you can have Candied Lemon, Grapefruit or Tangerine Cocktails, although I think I would use a nice, aged rum with the lemon and vodka in the grapefruit version.
National Candied Orange Peel Day is May 4th, just in case you need a special day to celebrate.