If you’ve ever been to Sorrento, then you know what great limoncello tastes like. Many shops sell the delicious and locally sourced liqueur in bottles of all different shapes and sizes. Classic limoncello is definitely the most popular flavor among tourists (you can also get a creamy style limoncello), but oftentimes they have unique flavors made from oranges and even melon. The shops usually allow you to sample them before you decide on your purchase – my favorite part. If I had more room in my suitcase, I would have bought one of each flavor available.
Limoncello is slightly tangy, sweet and citrusy. The ingredients usually consist of vodka and the peels of lemons, and sometimes sugar. That’s it! So how could I resist making a Blood Orangecello version since it’s citrus season?! I couldn’t. I bought a couple bags of blood oranges at Trader Joe’s and I went to work.
It’s all about the peels. Oranges pack a lot of oil in the peels. When you bathe a bunch of blood orange peels in vodka, they disperse into the alcohol and create a powerful citrus flavor. The longer you leave the peels in, the more intense the flavor will become. For a bolder blood orange taste and color, I make a blood orange simple syrup with sugar and juice from the oranges. Why not use all parts of the orange? No waste!
When making blood orangecello, I use vodka that’s not too cheap, yet not too expensive. If it’s pretty smooth on the palate on its own, then it should work just fine. If you don’t like the vodka “naked,” you probably won’t like it with your orangecello.
After your blood orange vodka mixture has steeped for about a week, strain out the peels and add your blood orange simple syrup and stir. If there is any pulp you want removed, strain the mixture with a sieve. Bottle your blood orangecello in an airtight container. You can also pour them into smaller decorative bottles like the shops in Sorrento and give them away as gifts. Everyone loves homemade – especially when it’s alcohol ;)
(makes 1 bottle)
Peels of 7-8 blood oranges
1 cup blood orange juice
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups vodka
1. Wash and dry the blood oranges. Remove peels carefully, avoiding too much pith.
2. Juice the oranges and place in a small saucepan with sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
3. Place orange peels in a large, airtight container with vodka and let steep for 5-7 days in a cool, dark space. When ready, strain out the peels using a sieve.
4. Take out simple syrup from the fridge and add to blood orange vodka mixture. Stir. Sample. If there are still pulp segments you want removed, strain again.
5. Store in fridge or freezer and pour when ready to drink! This blood orangecello can be enjoyed on it’s own or used as an ingredient in a cocktail. It’s especially delicious with a little ice and soda water (I like to add some fresh lemon thyme to the glass for a garnish).