I was privileged to share an exclusive release of the Filoli Gentlemen’s Orchard Cider Vinegar© recipe with Edible Silicon Valley readers in January. Now I’m sharing it here with you too. The Filoli country estate of Woodside is a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The estate produces and bottles its own innovative herb infused vinegars. Fresh herbs from the Filoli gardens infuse their vinegars with unique aromas and tastes. These same aromatic herbs were chef and author Julia Child’s favorites. She specifically requested Filoli’s Grecian Bay ‘lauris nobelis’ for special shipment to her kitchen (referred to as the European Bay leaf in her cookbooks.)
The Filoli Gentlemen’s Orchard Cider Switchel uses this exclusive Gentlemen’s Orchard Cider Vinegar among its ingredients. Switchel is an American drink from the early 1700s. Cider vinegars have been used for centuries to kill off bacteria in drinking water, but it was the addition of sweeteners like ginger, honey, maple syrup, molasses or sugar that created the American switchel. The switchel, also called haymaker’s drink or swizzle, was given to farm workers during the sweltering summers. It’s so simple to make one for yourself. You can skip the ginger if you prefer.
Zest the ginger. Pour 2 cups water into a saucepan, add the fresh ginger and boil for 2 minutes.
Strain the cooled liquid and pour it into a pitcher.
Add Gentlemen’s Orchard Cider Vinegar, honey and 3 more cups of cold water. Stir until blended. Cool and serve.
Photos & Styling by Yvonne Cornell
- 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2-3 ‘berggarten’ sage leaves
- ½ teaspoon mixed peppercorns
- 1 slender cinnamon stick
- 2-3 whole cloves
- 2-3 cardamom pods
- scant ½ teaspoon allspice
- apple cider vinegar of choice
- Wash thyme and sage in 1 tablespoon unscented bleach mixed into gallon water to kill any bacteria.
- Lay out one herb bundle per bottle using thyme sprigs and sage.
- Spoon peppercorns into each sterilized bottle through a funnel.
- Drop cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice into each bottle.
- Wrap sage leaves around thyme and twist the bundle into neck of bottle using a plastic chopstick
- to force the remainder.
- Use the funnel to pour in enough apple cider vinegar to fill to the top.
- Let the herbs and spices infuse for two weeks before using vinegar.
Story and photos by Yvonne Cornell. These exclusive Filoli recipes first appeared in Edible Silicon Valley in January 2017.
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