Alton Brown Makes an I.C. Fennel Cordial | NEW Good Eats: The Return Segment

Fresh fennel fronds turn the vodka a vibrant green hue in this subtle but strong cocktail, made with an immersion circulator!

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I.C. Fennel Cordial
Level: Easy
Total: 1 hr 15 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 1 quart


1 quart vodka
2 cups fennel fronds, loosely packed
85 grams granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
10 green cardamom pods
1 whole star anise


Special equipment: an immersion circulator, one-gallon zip-top freezer bag, coffee filter, sieve

Install an immersion circulator in a water bath and set it to 140 degrees F.

Place the vodka, fennel fronds, sugar, fennel seeds, cardamom seeds, green cardamom pods and star anise in a one-gallon zip-top freezer bag (see Cook’s Note). Remove as much of the air from the bag as possible then seal and submerge the bag in the bath for 1 hour (see Cook’s Note).

Transfer the unopened bag to an ice water bath. Once cool, strain the mixture through a coffee filter set inside a sieve and discard the solids. Don’t squeeze or press the solids to extract additional liquid: It will cloud the liqueur and release off flavors.

Chill before serving.

Cook’s Note
I’ve found that generic or store-brand bags tend to have seals that fail so spring for national brands and make sure you use freezer bags. If the bag refuses to sink, even after you try sucking out the air, consider adding some weight to the bag. I keep a couple of 1-inch diameter stainless steel ball bearings around for just such a use.

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29 Replies to “Alton Brown Makes an I.C. Fennel Cordial | NEW Good Eats: The Return Segment”

  1. Am I supposed to have some fancy boiler with an electronic thermostat? What is that thing? Can I boil that in a pot of water on the stove, using a candy thermometer to maintain 140°? Sorry if that's a dumb question. Thx.

  2. Will this "accelerated extraction with mild heat" technique work when making Alton's tomato-infused vodka for THE best Bloody Mary's ever? If memory serves, I had to wait a week using Alton's recipe.

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