Ethical Eating

I'm Eating What?! Orange Blossom Water

When the cashier at the Middle Eastern market said he uses Cortas orange blossom water in his tea and he occasionally adds some of the stuff into vanilla ice cream, the first thought that came to mind was, "Hmmm. How exotic yet versatile! Must give this a try."

After all, being a near-native Floridian makes one especially attracted to many orange-related things, correct? (Aside from traffic cones, Home Depot aprons, and such, of course.) It is our state fruit, and the orange blossom is our state flower, so there was no reason to hold back when it came to slugging this drink. Plus the only ingredient listed was "distilled bitter orange blossom water," so how harmful could it be?

Here's a little tidbit I wish was shared before "Bottoms up!" was declared: Orange blossom water is not, I repeat NOT, a beverage. What it is falls more into the condiment category; it is an essence that must be used sparingly. One swig of the stuff nearly made yours truly gag like a cat fighting a wicked hairball.

The flavor is so strong that one can literally smell it even after the cap is replaced and tightened to the point that one's fingers bleed. It is a lovely scent, to be sure, but sometimes even things that smell divine taste revolting. 

After researching the product, we learned it is made of distilled water and essential oils of Seville orange blossoms, known for their strong and rich aromas. Unfortunately, we also didn't find the website claiming, "A little goes a long way, so add it a few drops at a time to determine how much you like," until it was way, way too late. 

But now we also know orange blossom water (AKA orange flower water) is used in France to flavor madeleines, in Mexico to flavor little wedding cakes, and in the United States to make orange blossom scones and marshmallows. And it is also used as an ingredient in some cocktails, such as the Ramos Gin Fizz. Another website suggested folks can add this stuff to bathwater, which is probably how the remainder of this bottle will be employed. (Even those folks warn that bathers don't need more than a "splash" to get the job done. Geesh.)

Who should drink this stuff right from the bottle? Only recovering alcoholics who were once desperate enough to sip their way through Mom's perfume tray in an effort to get buzzed. If you can suck down Chanel No. 5, pal, you can certainly tackle a bottle of this stuff.