Ad finally I did another experiment, which came to me when Tom went looking for the gin for the sloes and inadvertently picked up a bottle of triple sec, a clear spirit flavoured with orange peel, instead.
I scrubbed some clementines,
and sliced them up,
then put them in a wide-necked jar, with a few of their leaves, a stick of cinnamon, some cardamon and a good handful of coriander seeds.
I added some honey
and the triple sec ( along with some brandy and some reddish Rivesaltes aperitif to lighten and stretch it a little bit)
Then I shook it all about plenty.
It was all so luminously, fragrantly gorgeous, I couldn't stop photographing it.
These are only a selection, there are even more on the Picasa album here, which you can see as a slide show, if you want to.
In a very short time, it will have lost its looks, and be just a mushy mess in the jar, and even when it's decanted and filtered it won't look anything special. But the alchemical wonder of fruit liqueurs is in how the original visual beauty of their constituents is transmuted to a beauty of taste, so that the tongue and palate will later remember and re-live what the eyes saw.
That's the idea, anyway.