Ratafia can be made with sour cherries, strawberries, quinces, or oranges. They are always served in ornate glass decànters and sipped in the afternoons or after dinner. They are good when one feels melancholy, anxious, or even merry—truly wonderful for all occasions.
Wash and dry the oranges. With a potato peeler, peel off only the zesty part of the rind and discard the white part. Chop it into small pieces. Squeeze the oranges and put the juice and rind in a bowl. Add the sugar, coriander seed, and brandy or cognac, and stir. Pour into a large jar or a small barrel or a demijohn and close tightly. Let it rest in a dark, cool place for two months. Pass through a sieve, pour into bottles, and store them, tightly capped, in a dark, cool place.
© 1990 Mireille Johnston estate. All rights reserved.