If you like limoncello, then you’re going to love orangecello: a simple, but sophisticated liqueur that you can make with leftover orange peels. Learn more here.
Like limoncello, orangecello (arancello in Italian) is a vibrant homemade liqueur made from the zest of the fruit. Soaked in high-proof alcohol, the orange zest slowly infuses its flavor to make a colorful drink packed with orangy goodness. Orangecello also provides an excellent way to reuse orange peels rather than toss them away.
Instead of peeling ten oranges at once, you can zest the oranges as you use them: simply toss the zest into the alcohol each time you eat an orange. That way, you won’t have ten or more skinless oranges on your hands. Take as long as you need: the high alcohol content ensures that the orange zest won’t spoil while infusing.
Orangecello is simple to make and only requires four ingredients: orange zest, alcohol, sugar, and water. Because orangecello uses only the zest (juice or pulp usually causes bitterness), opt for organic and unwaxed oranges that are thoroughly washed before using. High-proof alcohol (80-95 percent) is also recommended because it will draw out more flavor than regular vodka.
- 10+ oranges (or more for stronger flavor and color)
- 1 bottle (750ml) of high-proof alcohol (grain alcohol, rectified spirit, Everclear)
- 3½ cups water
- 2 cups sugar (more or less to taste)
- Wash and zest your orange, making sure to avoid any of the white pith, which will infuse bitterness into your alcohol. Using a microplane/zester is recommended to avoid the pith and to create more surface area for the orange to infuse. If using a peeler, make sure to scrape off any white pith from your orange peels.
- In a large mason jar, submerge the orange zest in alcohol. Seal and store in a dark place for at least one month. When ready, the orange zest will be pale and the infusion will be a vibrant orange color.
- When infusion is complete, strain the zest out with cheesecloth, cheesecloth alternative, or a wet coffee filter.
- Make a simple syrup: bring the 3½ cups of water to a boil and add the 2 cups of sugar. Wait until cooled and slowly pour into your orange infusion. The orangecello should turn a vibrant cloudy color.
- Store your orangecello for at least another 3 weeks for the flavors to mellow out. After this point, taste-test your orangecello and add more sugar, water, alcohol, or orange zest to taste.
- Enjoy! Chill your orangecello in the refrigerator or freezer before serving. Since the alcohol content will be around 30%, orangecello will last indefinitely, though is best finished within two years for peak quality.
*For a more complex flavor, add vanilla bean, lemon zest, or even a small splash of lemon juice.
**If using vodka, double the infusion time and don’t add any water.
Curious about using other citruses? Limoncello, orangecello, limecello, and even grapefruitcello can be made by using citrus peels that you might otherwise throw away. Each has a distinct flavor and follows the same exact recipe as orangecello. When making limoncello or limecello, use at least 12 fruits due to their smaller size and don’t be afraid to combine flavors like lemon-lime or grapefruit-orange. Unlike undiluted liquor (vodka, rum, tequila), orangello should not be taken as a shot: sip it to savor the flavor or use it to create a summer spritz cocktail.
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