“I suggest a sweet vermouth”, “I’d go with a dry white vermouth… Dolin Dry?”, “I agree, what about something like Cocchi Americano Bianco?”. Apparently it’s extremely easy to get booze based marmalade advice around Durham. Who would have thought? 😉 Tis the marmalade season and ’tis the booze based preserves season… Last week Marisa from Food in Jars announced a year long Mastery Challenge. As I just missed out on the Tigress Can Jam held back in 2010, I immediately jumped on the band wagon. Up first, marmalade… both a challenge for me as I’ve only made it once, and second because I knew I wanted to make it vermouth based. You may have noticed that the title of this recipe includes the word experiment. The struggle with booze based jams/jellies/marmalades is the loss of booze flavor during cooking, plus the inundant sugar necessary for a set. As my goal was to retain the vermouth flavor, I decided to play around with two different vermouths and two different marmalade processing methods. Plus, with nearly a foot of snow fall in Durham this week, I had plenty of time on my hands.
My initial hypothesis was that the 2 cups of sugar would overwhelm the flavor of a sweeter white vermouth (Cocchi Americano Bianco) and that the dry white vermouth (Dolin Dry) would offer a more pungent flavor backed by the lemon and sugar. To initially test this hypothesis I made two sugar, lemon juice, and vermouth drinks. Surprisingly, I was wrong, the Cocchi presented a stronger lingering flavor. For the first vermouth/method I followed Marisa’s small batch marmalade method found here. This resulted in a thicker consistency with less booze flavor. I figured that cooking the lemons for 55 minutes before processing them into marmalade caused too much vermouth flavor loss.
With plenty of left over lemons and vermouth to spare, I moved onto recipe number 2 (attached below). I figured that by using the overnight soaking method, I’d cook off less of the booze flavor. In reality, this just resulted in a longer marmalade processing time which essentially cooked off the same amount of flavor. That being said I do find that the dry vermouth flavor does stand out a bit more than the Cocchi Americano vermouth. Bottom line, unless you have a super refined bartenders’ pallet you may not actually taste the vermouth at all here. And at ~$20/bottle that’s a lot. Enjoy!
- 2lbs organic lemons
- 3 cups Cochi Americano Bianco Vermouth or Dolin Blanc Dry
- 1-1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Wash lemons. To each lemon, cut the top and bottom off, slice in half, remove fleshy core and seeds (keep) by cutting diagonally, then slice into 1/8th inch slices.
- Wrap seeds and cores in a piece of cheesecloth and tie ensuring no solids escape. Place prepared lemons in a large bowl, bury the cheesecloth seed ball in lemons, and cover with 3 cups of vermouth.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.
- When you're ready to finish your marmalade, remove bowl from fridge, remove plastic wrap, and then remove cheesecloth ball from submerged lemons.
- In a large-sized, non-ionized pot, combine, lemons, soaking vermouth, and 1-1/2 cups of white sugar. Over low to medium heat, bring marmalade mixture to a simmer. Simmer over low heat until your liquid volume is reduced by half and your marmalade passes the plate test and reaches a temperature of 220 degrees F.
- Wipe rims, apply lids and rings (finger tight), and process jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and let cool on a folded towel for 8-12 hours.
- Remove rings and store jars in a cool dry place.