Never For Breakfast | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Never For Breakfast

Never For Breakfast

Seville oranges are small, bumpy and perfect for punch.

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This is one of my favorite times of year. No, I’m not talking about the “holiday season” but rather the time when two exotic culinary treats come into season — Périgord truffles (which have become far too costly for me to actually buy) and Seville oranges.

Also known as bitter oranges, Seville oranges are small, have a bumpy skin and are only in season from mid-December until mid-February. Seville orange juice is sour, and more like the juice of a lemon than that of a navel orange. But what makes Seville oranges so special is their zest — it’s richly fragrant and loaded with essential oil — which for centuries has made them a “must-have” ingredient for orange cakes, marmalades and punches.

According to cocktail historian David Wondrich — whose 2010 book, “Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl” (Perigee), has spawned a “punch revolution” at cocktail bars across the country — Seville oranges are “the king of punch citrus.” In his book, Wondrich pieces together the Seville orange punch recipe of James Ashley, an 18th-century London publican whom Wondrich describes as “the world’s first celebrity mixologist.” When The Jewish Week recently asked Wondrich for a modern version of this punch, he replied, “It needs no modernization. It’s simple [to make] and incredibly tasty.  ... It’s a perfected drink.”

Ashley’s punch was made by mixing an “orange sherbett” with either rum or brandy (Wondrich suggests making it with a mixture of the two) and water. So before the Seville orange season disappears for another year, make sure you try a tipple of Seville Orange Punch. You won’t regret it.

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