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Boozy orange goodness sounded like a great addition to my thanksgiving party, but unfortunately it didn't come out that good! I have made lemoncello in the past, so I thought it would be a cool idea to follow the same recipe but with oranges instead. I tried really hard to get all peel and none of the bitter white pith, but the final product still came out SUPER bitter. Like...really really bitter. Also, it was crazy strong. I still offered it to people after dinner, and everyone seemed to actually like it, but they liked a drop of the orancello in a large glass of soda water, not the orancello itself.

Peeled oranges.

A true lemoncello or arancello recipe had grain alcohol in it. Most people use vodka because grain alcohol is harder to find in the states. I let this sit for 2 weeks, shaking it daily.

So bitter.

After I strained the oranges, I added a simple syrup made from 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. It wasnt enough to kill the crazy bitterness.

One daring man tried to drink some from the bottle.

What does he think of the drink?

Clearly he didn't like it!

For this recipe, I put the zest from 12 oranges into a liter of grain alcohol. Let it sit for about 2 weeks. Strain and mix with a simple syrup of 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.


Highly recommend the use of a micro-plane. No pith, lots of surface area. Three or four days is long enough (with lemon-cello) to completely extract the flavor in grain alcohol.
If you have any left of the orange, I'd tuck it away until spring and taste again. You might be surprised.

Hmmmm, maybe it was the type of oranges you used - some have a sweeter/less bitter flavour. There is always next time!!!!

First of all, using a microplane to peel the oranges helps to get just the orange zest part of the peel. Any of the white, pithy part will make it bitter. Not sure how big your oranges were, but you should probably not use more than 8 large oranges. You also need to use much more sugar syrup. I use about 6 1/2 cups water to 6 2/3 cups sugar with 150 proof Everclear. If you use the higher proof, you will need to increase the sugar syrup mixture to probably 7 1/2 cups water and 7 2/3 cups sugar. And if you want smooth orange sweetness, don't strain it before you add the sugar syrup. Let it sit for another 14 days with the sugar syrup in it, and then strain and store in freezer. Arancello (or Limoncello) is not good unless you drink it straight from the freezer --preferably in frosted shot glasses.

Well, I've had 40 mandarin orange zests sitting in 1.75 litres of 151 grain alcohol for 6 months now. I think that I'll try not straining it until the simple syrup has sat in it for another 6 months. Have to get on with it sometime, huh?

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