Homemade liqueurs.

Finished liqueurs.

Liqueur is very easy to make. For Christmas this year, I made five different flavors from citrus peel, herbs and spices. From left to right: Tangerine Spice (with nutmeg and cloves), Chocolate Orange, Orange Saffron, Mint Lime, and Meyer Lemon Cardamom.

This is how I made them:

First I grated each kind of citrus peel into its own mason jar and covered it with grain alcohol. I covered each jar and let them sit for a few days, until the color of the citrus peels had completely leached into the alcohol.

Then I strained the liquids, put them back in the mason jars and added the next ingredients (spices, cocoa, saffron, mint and cardamom, respectively). I let them sit for a few more days, and then added about 3 parts light simple syrup to the 1 part alcohol mixture in each jar.

Then I waited a few more days, strained the liqueurs, tasted them, adjusted for strength (I had to add more syrup to some that were too strong) and bottled them.

Really, it’s mostly a question of waiting. And they are worth the wait. The Meyer Lemon Cardamom is my favorite—I like to mix it with sparkling water and maybe a little vodka. The Mint Lime and Orange Saffron are great that way too. The Chocolate Orange is good with milk, and I’m going to try making hot bourbon toddies with the Tangerine Spice.

(That’s my stone grinder in the background of the photo. It’s one of my favorite kitchen things ever. I promise to blog about it soon.)

26 Comments »

  1. Rebecca said,

    March 2, 2007 @ 2:00 am

    Are you willing to share proportions for the ingredients in the liqueurs? I’m particularly interested in the Meyer Lemon Cardamom one, as I’ve unexpectedly ended up with 3 times as many Meyer Lemons as I was planning on this week in my produce box. I’m already planning on making some liqueur, but yours sounds like a great change to the regular recipe. Do you just put in whole cardamom pods or the seeds or ground? Thank you very much.

  2. crabappleherbs said,

    March 2, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

    Well, I pretty much just eyeballed it. But as far as I can remember, I used about 1/4 cup grated citrus peel to about a cup of alcohol.

    As for the other ingredients: In the meyer lemon cardamom I used only about 4 pods worth of cardamom. In the orange saffron I used about 2 pinches of saffron. In the tangerine spice I used 3-4 cloves and maybe 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. In the chocolate orange I used about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. And in the mint lime I used a big handful of fresh mint and about 1/8 cup of lime juice/pulp.

    For the spices, I made sure to crush each one in a mortar and pestle to release the flavor before I put it in the alcohol.

    When I make these again, I think I’ll probably add some citrus juice to each of the liqueurs like I did with the mint lime. It makes the flavor brighter, which is really nice.

    (How wonderful to have extra meyer lemons! My grandmother has a tree in her backyard in California, and sometimes she sends them to me. I like to pickle them. Maybe I’ll post a recipe for that soon, since it’s the season.)

  3. The Herbwife’s Kitchen » Citrus season: pickled lemons. said,

    March 4, 2007 @ 11:53 am

    […] Rebecca asked for details on my citrus liqueur recipes because she has too many meyer lemons on her hands. What a lovely problem! […]

  4. rebekka said,

    October 24, 2007 @ 10:09 am

    Amazing!!!!!

  5. crabappleherbs said,

    October 27, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

    It’s really very easy, Rebekka. You should try it!

  6. Jen (Modern Beet) said,

    March 5, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

    This looks delicious! I’ve infused vodka with cut up fruit before, but I like your method using the peel only. Within the past two days I’ve been given both 10lbs of Meyer Lemons and 10lbs of sour oranges — way to much to eat right now, so I’m thinking of different ways of preserving.
    Have you ever made salt-preserved oranges (like Moroccan preserved lemons)?

  7. crabappleherbs said,

    March 6, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

    Salt-preserved oranges sound amazing. I think you should try a batch and let us know how they turn out!

    I made a meyer lemon marmalade last time my grandmother gave me a bag of lemons — it was amazing. Just sugar and lemons, cooked as for jam (with the seeds tied up in a little cheesecloth bag for pectin).

  8. Barbara said,

    March 17, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

    You had write “I let them sit for a few more days, and then added about 3 parts light simple syrup to the 1 part alcohol mixture in each jar.”
    Please let me know what is “light simple syrup”, the proportion of sugar to water. I like to try your recipes for liqueurs, they sound fantastic.Barbara

  9. Carolyn said,

    December 4, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

    this sounds interesting I have an over load of lemons on my tree. When you wrote grain alcohol what is it.. (am in Australia) is it whiskey,? I have no idea ..

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    June 18, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    This is a topic which is near to my heart… Thank
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  11. Karen said,

    December 10, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

    I also do an orange version and salted lemons and limes which you can also make for a fraction of what you pay in store…

  12. Arabella said,

    April 6, 2014 @ 1:03 am

    Here in Transylvania (Romania) everyone makes their own liqueurs from home-grown and foraged fruit – sour cherries, wild raspberries, wild blueberries, strawberries (and I tried Spring-fresh beech leaves last year – delicious). They do it here the other way round, by pulling the juice, colour and flavour from the fruit by cramming a jar full of fruit and tipping sugar in to fill the gaps in the jar. After a week or so out in the warm sunshine, the juice is strained off into another bottle, and alcohol (grain, probably) added in whatever proportion you like, strength-wise. Put the cap on the bottle and that’s it. Same principle (fruit+sugar+alcohol), just in a different order. I will definitely try your citrus and spice (and mint – yum!) recipes, thanks!

    A sudden thought – if one infused alcohol with birch bark, one might have a hangover cure in with the cause…

  13. 20 Clever Ways To Use Citrus Peels said,

    April 28, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

    […] peels with grain alcohol and adding syrup is a fantastic way to make your own tasty liqueurs. Check out this tutorial revealing how to make your own Tangerine Spice, Orange Saffron and Mint Lime […]

  14. jeanie said,

    April 28, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

    Whenever I get too many lemons/oranges/grapefruit, I either cut them in half, or leave whole, freeze them, and when I want juice, or peels, I microwave them for about a minute, and then put a little hole in the whole lemon and get more juice than I ever thought possible. Love these recipes.

  15. 18 Surprising Ways To Use Oranges | The Lighter Side of Life said,

    February 18, 2015 @ 3:34 pm

    […] Homemade Citrus Peel Liqueurs – Tangerine spice, orange saffron and chocolate orange are just a few examples of the delicious liqueurs you can make from citrus peels! […]

  16. 18 Surprising Ways To Use OrangesThe NEW N!FYmag said,

    February 18, 2015 @ 3:42 pm

    […] Homemade Citrus Peel Liqueurs – Tangerine spice, orange saffron and chocolate orange are just a few examples of the delicious liqueurs you can make from citrus peels! […]

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  21. 11 Genius Ways To Use Citrus In The Kitchen | Home Improvement said,

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  24. Surprising Ways To Use Oranges said,

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    […] Homemade Citrus Peel Liqueurs – Tangerine spice, orange saffron and chocolate orange are just a few examples of the delicious liqueurs you can make from citrus peels! […]

  25. Awesome Ways To Use Oranges - DIYCraftsGuru said,

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    April 24, 2018 @ 6:36 pm

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