It's impossible to have a well-stocked bar without orange liqueur, also known as curaçao or triple sec. It would be quicker to list cocktails that don't contain orange liqueur than to list the ones that do. Top-shelf brands like Grand Marnier and Cointreau are a little pricey, while the bottom-shelf options can drag a good drink into the gutter fast. But homemade orange liqueur is just right...and it's a blast to make.
Notes: Dried bitter orange peels are available at homebrew shops or herb specialists, but you can also order them online. If you're feeling like playing mad scientist, try new herb or spice combinations like adding cinnamon or vanilla. Your homemade orange liqueur does not need to be refrigerated. It can last for a year, but is best when used within a few months.
About the Author: Marcia Simmons is the author of DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks. She also shares cocktail recipes and tips on the DIY Cocktails blog and on Twitter @DIYCocktails.
- Yield:makes about 4 cups
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:22 days
- 1/4 cup zest from 3 small naval oranges
- 1 tablespoon dried bitter orange peel
- 1 cup brandy
- 1 cup vodka
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
Combine zest, dried orange peels, brandy, and vodka in a small sealable container. Seal and shake. Let steep for 19 days at room temperature. On day 20, add the cloves, then seal and shake. Let steep for an additional day.
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat stirring to dissolve. Let this simple syrup cool. Strain the contents of the jar through a fine mesh strainer and then through a coffee filter. Discard the solids. Combine the strained mixture with the simple syrup in a jar or bottle. Shake and let it rest for a minimum of one day before use. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to one year (it's best within three months).