Making liqueurs and cocktails at home is surprisingly fun. You might know Limoncello, and you might have even made it yourself. Lemon-based Italian liqueur goodness – what’s not to like. Well, we can do one better: Let us introduce Arancello, Limoncello’s stroppy younger sibling!
What is Arancello?
As the name might hint, Arancello is of Italian origin. Like Limoncello, it’s a liqueur made with fresh fruit. Where Limoncello uses lemons, Arancello uses oranges. And not just any oranges, either! To make truly authentic Arancello, you’ll want to get a hold of nothing less than Sicilian blood oranges. A good Arancello will combine fresh fruit acidity with some pleasant spices and a balanced alcohol level.
Where can you buy Arancello?
Search online and you’ll find some commercially-produced Arancello for sale. As with anything, the quality level will vary from producer to producer. One of the best Arancellos on the market is not Italian at all: Arancello Federica is produced by the technical team at the Pago de Tharsys winery in Spain!
There are two very good reasons not to buy Arancello at all, though – and why you should make your own Arancello at home!
- Commercial Arancello products simply can’t offer the ripeness and freshness of a homemade batch, and;
- It’s a whole lot of fun to make Arancello yourself! Don’t believe us? Take note of our recipe below and try it out!
Homemade Arancello recipe
One charming trait of Italian cooking is how many subtle variations there are in the same recipe, between one region (or person) and another. The way one neighbour makes a pasta carbonara may be entirely different from how they make it next door. This is just one delightful aspect of the food and wine culture of Italy, and it’s the case with Arancello, too.
There are plenty of Arancello recipes online and in cookbooks. There’s no shortage of different ingredients and methods, and the nice thing is that you really can’t go wrong. We’ve come up with our favourite, but don’t be afraid to disagree with us – or to tweak things a little. Don’t like vodka? Try something else! Our recipe isn’t spicy enough for you? Go heavier on the cinnamon!
There are plenty of variations out there, so don’t be afraid to improvise a little. Our recipe is for a spiced Arancello, so if that’s not your thing then just leave out the ingredients marked with an asterisk*.
- 1 litre of vodka – Grey Goose is always a good bet, but it’s up to you. If vodka’s not your thing, try grain alcohol or Italian grappa.
- 5 large oranges – Sicilian blood oranges if possible, and the fresher the better!
- Cardamom pods and vanilla pods, at least a couple of each*
- 500 grammes of caster sugar
- 2 litres of water
With your ingredients set, making Arancello is a relatively simple proposition. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be enjoying homemade hooch in no time!
- Peel the oranges, taking care to remove the white pith from the skins. Mix the skins, vanilla and cardamom in a large, sealable container. Add the vodka (or other alcohol), seal, and leave for about two weeks, shaking every day.
- After two weeks, filter the liquid from the orange peels. Boil the water and add the caster sugar to make a paste. Mix this with your orange-flavoured alcohol and re-seal for another ten days, shaking regularly.
- After about ten days, your Arancello is ready. You can serve it right away, or bottle it for up to six months!
How to serve Arancello
There are a number of ways to serve up your new Arancello, though few are more satisfying than served chilled in a large jug on a hot summer’s evening. If you’ve gone heavy on the spices, your Arancello is a perfect digestif to serve after Christmas dinner!