Orangecello (or arancello) is a spin off of the traditional limoncello, a popular Italian liqueur that has been around for a hundred years or so – long enough to inspire several variations. So for today’s Saturday Sips recipe, we’ve decided to go a step further by taking advantage of the current late winter to early spring blood orange season while they’re still widely available in grocery stores. The deep color and slight difference in flavor makes for a special gift for the liqueur lovers in your life, or a delicious after-dinner digestif.
And because we’re using blood oranges, we’ve decided to present two variations upon the recipe. The first follows the more traditional method of preparing limoncello, where the orange zest is soaked in vodka for three to four weeks until the oils have been thoroughly extracted. It is then combined with a (roughly) 1:1 ratio of basic simple syrup, and poured into liqueur bottles where it can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
The second method, while not as long-lasting, manages to feature that distinct blood orange color that we love so much by incorporating the juice of the fresh fruit into the simple syrup. And because there’s so much flavor and sweetness in the juice, the oils from the zest won’t need to be extracted as thoroughly, making this the go-to method for those who are pinched for time:
- 8 blood oranges
- 1 bottle of vodka (100 proof is best)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Scrub and dry the blood oranges so the skins are clean and free of wax. With a vegetable peeler or zester, remove the peel from each orange, being careful to avoid the pith, and place in a quart sized mason jar. You might need to use a knife to scrape off any stubborn pith that comes with the peel.
- Pour the vodka over the peels, leaving about 1-inch headspace from the top. Screw lid on jar, and place in a cool, dark place. Tip the jar once or twice every few days to mix up the flavors and encourage extraction.
- Juice the blood oranges. Strain 1 cup of the juice into a small saucepan and add 1 cup sugar. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once syrup has come to room temperature, place in an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator.
- After one week, remove the jar of vodka and orange peels from cupboard. Combine the infused vodka with the blood orange simple syrup and strain into liqueur bottles. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.
- Let the jar of vodka sit with the blood orange peels for at least three weeks, gently shaking once a day or so to help the flavors meld. Once three to four weeks have passed, combine 2 cups water with 2 cups granulated sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer until sugar has dissolved, and remove from heat. Let cool.
- Once syrup has cooled to room temperature, add to the vodka and stir to combine. Strain liqueur into bottles and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
- To Serve, chill a bottle of Blood Orangecello in the freezer for at least an hour, and pour straight into a glass for an after-dinner digestif. Enjoy!
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