Golden-hued and decadent, the rum-based Cordial 44 might be the most beautiful coffee-infused liqueur we’ve seen. With citrus season upon us and a little more than fifty days until guests arrive at your door, we wanted to share this old-fashioned recipe that combines rum, orange, coffee, and sugar, and comes to us by way of France.
The cordial’s name, “44,” is a clever mnemonic: It takes forty-four days to make and uses forty-four coffee beans and forty-four teaspoons of sugar, in addition to one liter of rum and one orange.
Simply make shallow slits in a whole orange and fill each incision with a coffee bean.
Combine the orange, sugar, and rum, and then watch and wait.
In a matter of weeks, the rum goes from clear to tawny, and the flavors commingle to make a complexly spiced concoction in the vein of Carpano Antica, a beguiling sweet vermouth—except, of course, that 44 is homemade, higher-proof, and perfumed with your favorite coffee.
There's no right coffee, though, so experiment with your favorite blend or single origin, or opt for the caffeine-free Night Light, which would make a splash of 44 a fitting nightcap after a holiday meal.
Cordial 44 Recipe
Adapted from Saveur
1 large orange
44 Hayes Valley Espresso coffee beans (or your preferred single origin or blend)
¾ cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
1 liter white rum
Using a paring knife, poke forty-four slits into the orange. Push a coffee bean into every opening. Place the orange into a wide-mouthed vessel (don't worry if the orange gets bruised), and add the sugar and rum. Seal tightly with a lid and swirl the mixture initially to help the rum make contact with the sugar.
Store in a cool, dark place. Every couple of days, gently swirl the jar to help the sugar dissolve completely.
After forty-four days, pour the liqueur through a fine-mesh strainer, or a strainer lined with cheese cloth, into clean bottles. Serve neat or on the rocks. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Glasses and strainer are from Oakland's Umami Mart.
Already in the holiday spirit and too impatient to wait? Try another coffee-inspired cocktail, our Cascara Bourbon Fizz.