The French 44

February 10, 2009

I'd written before about The 44 after being inspired by a March 2008 article about the drink in Saveur. But soon after we packed it up and moved back to Seattle, so I never actually completed the process and thus, had nothing to share with you. Shortly after Christmas - and after our liquor cabinet was depleted from the holiday festivities - I decided to embark on the rum-infusing journey once more and stocked up on the required ingredients.

Let's take a little trip down "cordial" lane...

The 44 is a popular rum-infused beverage originally made in Madagascar. It gets its name from the process in which its made as well as the number of days it "brews." In the Madagascan version an orange is pierced forty-four times to allow the juices to release, then forty-four coffee beans are shoved into the slits. The orange is then placed in white rum and set to rest for, you got it, forty-four days.

I decided to make the French version of this drink, called the Quarante Quatre, which calls for forty-four whole cloves in place of the coffee beans. Within days the color of the rum began to darken and the orange and cloves became more fragrant. We left the jar out on the counter to enjoy the changes in coloration and to every-now-and-then open the lid to smell the sweet aromas.

After patiently waiting for forty-four long days we opened the jar and poured ourselves a small cordial.

The Quarante Quatre
This recipe is so good I recommend doubling it, like we did.

1 liter white rum
1 Navel orange
44 whole cloves
44 teaspoons of sugar (optional)

Deeply pierce the orange with a paring knife 44 times. Stuff the cloves into the slits and skin of the orange. Place the orange in a large widemouthed jar (that has a tight seal) and add one liter of white rum. Add 44 teaspoons of sugar, seal and store in a cool dark place for 44 days.

Note: we opted for a non-sugar version and it is still very tasty!



Greg Bulmash's picture

Thinking along these lines, doing limes and vanilla beans in some golden tequila might be really nice.

Thumbbook's picture

Will it turn bad if it is stored for more than 44 days? Did you remove the orange after? :)

Sheri Wetherell's picture

I haven't removed the oranges yet because they look so pretty, but I'm going to soon. I doubt leaving them in longer than the 44 days will hurt - I'm assuming the alcohol will just preserve them - however the cloves are falling apart a bit so that may create too much sediment.

Greg, I'm going to do the vanilla beans! I also want to experiment with some Asian flavors: star anise, cardamom, etc.

Jim Irving's picture

Sheri, just finished anxiously awaiting the 44 LONG DAYS for this to infuse. I made the coffee bean version and it was SO tasty. Just started the version with cloves. My question to you, does it need to be stored in the freezer? I currently have mine there and it is freezing up. Not solid, but very icy and slushing. Can it be saved in the refrigerator instead?
Thank you for your wonderful post and recipe!

Sheri Wetherell's picture

Hi Jim! Congrats on your first batch! It's so tasty, isn't it? I don't think you even need to refrigerate it. We never have. We just store it in the liquor cabinet.

Let me know how the orange version ends up!

Cheers and enjoy!