Posts Tagged With: Orange juice

178/365: National Orange Blossom Day*

Orange you glad we get to celebrate a warm summer day with a fresh and tasty cocktail? June 27 is National Orange Blossom Day!

It’s also National Indian Pudding Day. Considering that we also celebrate chocolate pudding and tapioca pudding this week, I was not happy about what I perceived to be pudding overkill. “Somebody’s pudding me on,” I said. “Whose big idea was it pudding all these similar food holidays together in the same week?” Once my pudding puns were exhausted, I got down to the business of researching Indian pudding, and learned that no box of Jell-O mix would suffice for this rather complicated dessert. Indian pudding is a porridge-like mixture of cornmeal, milk, and molasses that requires hours of cooking. Yikes! I didn’t think orange blossoms would be any easier to cook with (or find), but then I learned that the Orange Blossom is actually a cocktail. Not just any cocktail, but one that contains gin and vermouth (two ingredients we’ve got on hand thanks to our recent Dry Martini day), plus orange juice. Score!

The exact history of the Orange Blossom is unknown, but it rose to prominence in the 1920s during Prohibition, when orange juice was used to cut the rancid flavor of illegal bathtub gin. A.S. Crockett’s Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, published in 1935, contains two Orange Blossom recipes. Orange Blossom No. 1 is served neat and contains equal parts gin, vermouth, and OJ. It was allegedly invented by “some young bridegroom who wanted something novel to use at his final stag party.” Orange Blossom No. 2 is served in an old-fashioned glass with ice and omits the vermouth, calling for a 1:1 ratio of gin and orange juice. Since vermouth is sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of the alcohol world – it truly gets no respect – I’m not surprised that this second recipe doesn’t even bother with it.

We figured, since we’ve got vermouth on hand, we might as well go ahead and use it, so we made a couple of Orange Blossom No. 1s. The result? Maybe not quite as bad as the dry martini…but it’s not something I would drink again. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a fan of vermouth.

National Orange Blossom Day

Categories: Alcohol | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

124/365: National Orange Juice Day*

Orange you glad today’s food holiday is fresh and fruity? May 4 is National Orange Juice Day!

It’s also National Homebrew Today and National Candied Orange Peel Day. I don’t like beer, and even if I did, it’s doubtful that I’d be brewing my own anyway. And candied orange peels? Do people really eat those?? Choosing to celebrate with a tall, cold glass of orange juice is what we in the biz like to call a “no-brainer.”

Orange juice is one of the most popular juices in the United States. Spanish explorers planted the first orange trees in St. Augustine, Florida in the 16th century. The warm climate and abundant rainfall proved to be the perfect growing environment, and Florida oranges became wildly popular. As delicious as the fresh-squeezed juice was, there was no way to make it available commercially, as it would only last a day before going bad. In 1910, an overabundance of oranges in California (which had also begun growing the citrus fruit) forced growers to destroy 30% of the state’s orange trees, as they had nothing to do with the excess fruit. Soon after, pasteurization was developed, allowing citrus growers to juice the excess fruit and ship it to grocery stores all over the country, where it could be stored for longer periods of time. Growers began touting the health benefits of vitamin C, and by the 1920s orange juice had become a breakfast staple in America, replacing stewed fruit (a popular British breakfast accompaniment) as the go-to choice. Frozen concentrated orange juice was invented in 1948, inspired by the lack of fresh fruit available to soldiers during World War II. The slang term “OJ” popped up around this time, referring to both the juice and, later,  a wife-murdering-former-NFL-star-who-took-an-infamous-ride-in-a-white-Ford-Bronco.

We poured ourselves a tall glass of orange juice in order to celebrate the holiday!


Categories: Beverages, Fruit | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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