Recipe: Melissa Clark's Kumquat-Clementine Cordial

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Time: 10 minutes plus one week macerating time

1/4 cup sugar, preferably superfine

1 tablespoon boiling water

1 3/4 cup white rum (375 ml)

3 tablespoons clementine juice (from 1 to 2 clementines)

6 kumquats, thinly sliced and seeded

1 clementine, thinly sliced

3 whole allspice berries

2 whole star anise, broken in half if necessary to fit through the bottle neck


1. Have ready a glass bottle with a cork or jar with a lid for macerating. Place the sugar in a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Stir in the boiling water for 1 minute. Add the Clementine juice and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute longer.

2. If using a bottle for storage, shove the kumquat and clementines slices through the top (you might have to curl them into cylinders first). Add the sugar syrup and remaining ingredients. Leave it at room temperature and shake once a day for at least 4 days and up to a week before serving.  After a week, store it in the fridge.

3. Serve as is, or over ice, or with a splash of seltzer, or topped with chilled white wine or sparkling wine, or as a hot toddy topped with boiling water.


Yield: about 2 cups


Variations: To make a brandy cordial, substitute brandy for rum, and replace the spices with 1 cinnamon stick and 1 whole clove. For a gin version, substitute gin for the brandy, reduce the sugar to 3 tablespoons, and replace the spices with 3 peppercorns and 6 coriander seeds. For Bourbon, use 3 tablespoons sugar, and replace allspice with a cinnamon stick.