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Infusions: 44

The 44 Cordial – a rum-based cordial made with orange and coffee – is supposedly Madagascar’s “tropical adaptation of a homemade liqueur that’s popular in France, where it’s called Quarante-quatre and is sometimes made with cloves.” I’m quoting Saveur Magazine here, from March ’08, but I personally found it on this Something Awful forum thread from December ’07. So suck it, Saveur, the Goons are getting the credit for this one.


  • 750mL white rum
  • 1 medium-size navel orange
  • 44 coffee beans

Grab a paring knife and a nice wide-mouth 1L jar. ProTip: make sure the orange will fit into the jar before you start this process or you’re gonna be pissing and shouting in a little bit.

Cut 44 holes in the skin of the orange and cram a coffee bean in each hole. You might want to cut little X’s rather than slits, since the orange skin can be a bit tough and the coffee beans can be slippery little bastards.

Once the orange is fully loaded, stuff it into the jar. (Good thing you checked to make sure the orange would fit earlier, or all that work would have gone to waste.) Pour the bottle of rum into the jar – If you’re using a 1L jar and a large orange you might not be able to get the whole 750mL in there but fill it as best you can.

If you use a larger jar, you can also add the traditional 44  teaspoons of sugar at this point. Me, all I have is 1L jars so I skipped this step in favor of having more room for rum.

Now the hard part – patience. Let it sit 44 days. Every day or two, give the jar a little shake or a turn to let the orange float to the other side and back. Admire the slowly darkening color of the rum. Keep waiting.

Once 44 days have passed, it’s ready to filter. Wide-mouth jars are hard to pour from (especially when they’re brimming with delicious rum) so you might want to dump the contents into a large mixing bowl – something wide enough to catch all the dripping rum, with a spout to allow you to pour it into a funnel.

Grab your funnel and filters (see the previous post about equipment) and filter the orange liquid into a 750mL bottle. A paper coffee filter works just fine.

At this point I say “sweeten to taste” but here’s a tip: I ended up with a little over 550mL of liquid. 44tsp of sugar turns out to be just under 200 grams, so I just filled the bottle the rest of the way with simple syrup and called it good. And damn is it ever good.

The aroma is mostly orange, with a whiff of coffee. The flavor starts out as sweet, mild coffee and then turns into a pleasing orange warmth, which fades into a combo of the two aftertastes. It’s pretty friggin’ great. If you have the patience I definitely recommend it.