Do you like Earl Grey tea? Did you know that this tea is flavored with the essential oil from the skin of bergamot orange? My homemade limoncello is a very popular digestif with my dinner guests. When I saw bergamot oranges, I thought it would be nice to try to make bergamocello rather than limocello for a change. The process is exactly the same as for limoncello, but instead of using lemons I used bergamot oranges. The result was wonderful and very special indeed! The scent and flavor are like Earl Grey as expected, and the flavor is more elegant than limoncello and lingers longer. Unlike limoncello, bergamocello is not generally for sale commercially. So if you want to try this very special drink, you have to get your hands on some bergamot oranges and make this yourself.
For 1.5 litres (about 6 cups)
peel of 4 bergamot oranges
500 ml (2 cups) 95% proof alcohol
750 ml (3 cups) water
600 grams (3 cups) sugar
Wash and dry the bergamot oranges. Remove the skin with a potato peeler.
Try to get as much skin as you can, but it is no use to get the really narrow bits.
The most important thing to do (and most of the work) is to remove all of the white pith from the peels with a sharp paring knife. The white pith is bitter, you only want the yellow peel.
You should end up with about 60 grams (2 oz) of yellow peel after cleaning.
Put the peel in one 1.5 litre (6 cups) bottle, or 2 .75 litre (3 cups) bottles.
Add 400 ml (or 200 ml per bottle if using 2 bottles) of 95% proof alcohol.
If the peel is not completely submerged…
…push it down.
Close the bottles and store them in a dark place for 3 weeks to a month. (A liquor cabinet is of course very appropriate.)
After that time, prepare a simple syrup by combining water and sugar in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, stirring, and allow to boil for a minute.
Allow to cool to room temperature. (You can speed up this process by submerging the saucepan in (ice) cold water.)
Add the remaining 100 ml 95% alcohol (or 50 ml per bottle if using 2 bottles).
Add the syrup.
If using 2 bottles, divide the syrup between them.
Close the bottles and allow the bergamocello to mature for at least a couple of days. Then chill it in the freezer.
If all went well, the bergamocello should not freeze but rather become thick and syrupy.
White asparagus ice cream with black truffle was inspired by a marvelous dish we had at El Celler de Can Roca.