Naranjilla, which I mistakenly described as a clementine in my first mention of it, and as a sour orange in my second mention of it, is actually a herbaceous nightshade shrub – not a citrus at all. It does have a sweet-sour citrusy flavor and a bright orange exterior, hence the name “little orange.” I know that using those fruits may not make for a very authentic representation of the drink, and I’ve also used a much higher ratio of juice to cinnamon water than seems to be typical, but it’s still a bright, warming combination that’s worth giving a try. I did find the traditional aguardiente, a spirit distilled from sugar-cane and sometimes flavored with anise. If you can’t find it near you, either rum or cachaça would be a fine substitute. Now that I have the ingredients, plus a healthy supply of cinnamon sticks, I’m all set to make these babies throughout the winter.
- 3 c. water
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 2 c. freshly squeezed orange juice, divided
- 1 c. freshly squeezed tangerine juice
- 2 limes
- 4 to 8 oz. aguardiente or white rum
- tangerine slices for garnish
- Place the water, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, and 1 cup of the orange juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat slightly and simmer the syrup for 30 minutes. The syrup should be heavily perfumed with cinnamon and a dark brown color. Add the remaining orange and tangerine juice to the pot and heat just until steaming, then remove from heat. Ladle the cinnamon-orange mixture into four heat-proof glasses. Pour 1 or 2 oz. of aguardiente into each glass depending on taste. Squeeze juice from half a lime into each glass, then briefly stir. Garnish with tangerine slices if desired, and serve immediately.