Orange liqueurs are incredibly versatile and among the most often used liqueurs in cocktails. While there are multiple options available at any liquor store, making orange liqueur from scratch is easy and offers multiple ways to customize it to your specific taste and needs. The recipe requires just a few ingredients, and while it isn’t the fastest homemade liqueur, it’s mostly a hands-off project
You can take this orange liqueur recipe in several directions to mimic the variety of commercially available options. When made with vodka, the combination of fresh sweet orange and dried bitter orange peels creates a sweetened bitter citrus flavor that’s most similar to a triple sec or orange curaçao. It becomes a replica of darker orange liqueurs like Grand Marnier if you add brandy to the mix.
To make orange liqueur, you’ll begin by infusing vodka with the orange peels for at least a couple of weeks; letting it infuse for an entire month intensifies the flavor. After that time, the infusion is blended with simple syrup to transform the citrus liquor into a liqueur. The liqueur is drinkable right away, though the taste is even better when it’s allowed to rest for an additional week or two.
The recipe makes about 3 cups of orange liqueur and will fill a standard 750-milliliter liquor bottle. You can use it in any cocktail recipe that calls for an orange liqueur, including margaritas or the cosmopolitan and orange martini.
- 30 grams (1/2 cup, unpacked) fresh navel orange peel, from 2 medium oranges
- 2 1/2 cups vodka
- 10 grams (2 tablespoons) dried bitter orange peel
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
Steps to Make It
- Gather the ingredients.
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from two navel oranges.
- In a 1-quart jar, add the vodka, fresh orange peel, and dried bitter orange peel. Seal, shake well, and let infuse in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks (or up to 1 month), shaking the jar every day or two.
- The day the infusion is complete, make a rich simple syrup: Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir in the sugar until completely dissolved and the syrup is clear. Reduce to a simmer. After 5 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely.
- Strain the orange peels from the vodka using a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.
- Rinse out the infusion jar and use it to blend the orange liqueur by adding 3/4 cup of the simple syrup to the orange-infused vodka. Shake very well for at least 30 seconds. Taste the liqueur and add more syrup to sweeten to taste.
- Transfer the orange liqueur to a bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid and use in your favorite cocktail recipes.