It’s two weeks to Christmas! I’m trying my hardest to get into the festive spirit, but it’s taking time this year – I wish I had time to make more presents and sing carols and eat mince pies, but it’s all being crammed into evenings at the moment, when I actually just want to flop on the sofa… This weekend we are buying a real Christmas tree which I think will help me get into the festive mood – I’ve always had an artificial tree, and been fine with it, but this year I want the scent of pine to lift my mood and make me feel Christmassy!
One Christmas gift I’ve squeezed into an evening or two this year, is some Liqueurs – Limoncello and Arancello. Limoncello is an Italian sweet lemon liqueur, and Arancello is the orange version. The Arancello has the added flavours of cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom to give it a spicy, almost mulled, flavour. I’ve made the Limoncello before and it was a success, but the Arancello is new to me so I’ll be interested to see how it tastes.
They’re both made with vodka (again), as it’s the spirit with the least flavour, lemon or orange peel, and sugar syrup.
They take two weeks to make, so you’ve just got time to whip up a batch for Christmas day! (If you want to give them as presents before Christmas day, remember to put a ‘best after’ label on them…)
I bought one litre bottle of vodka and made half-and-half of these, but I will put the amounts for each recipe down as though you’re just making one or the other, then you can choose what you do!
Both make approx. 2 litres of liqueur.
1l bottle vodka
5 unwaxed lemons
750g caster sugar
700ml boiling water
1l bottle vodka
5 large oranges
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 cardamom pods
1 vanilla pod
600g caster sugar
500ml boiling water
Remove the zest from the oranges or lemons using a peeler, try to make sure none of the white pith is left on the peel as it will make the drink taste bitter. You might need to scrape this off with a sharp knife.
Put the zest into one big jar, or several smaller ones if giving to multiple people. If making Arancello, add the cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla pod also. Add the vodka to the jars/bottles and leave for a week, shaking the jar each day.
After a week, you can add the sugar syrup. Put the sugar in a heatproof jug, then pour over the required amount of boiling water, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the syrup into the vodka mixture and leave for another week, shaking the jar regularly.
When the two weeks is up, strain the liqueur into your bottles, and throw away the peel (and spices). These drinks will keep bottled for 6 months, but I doubt they’ll last that long!
Limoncello is delicious ice-cold from the freezer, but I suspect the Arancello would be nice warmed up… I’m looking forward to trying them 🙂