An Easy Orange Liqueur





Introduction: An Easy Orange Liqueur

I've been obsessed with making liqueurs lately and this is my version of an orange liqueur (basically a stronger triple sec). Perfect to add to a margarita or an apertif!

What you will need:

3 large oranges
A bottle of Everclear or higher proof vodka
An airtight jar or bottle
A zester

Veggie Wash

Step 1: Wash Your Oranges!

Use a veggie wash or be sure to rinse your oranges very well. Since you are using the peel, anything residue on the outside of the orange will end up in your final product! I got this Veggie Wash from a local grocery store for about $4, and it took all of the wax and dirt off of the oranges.

Step 2: Zest the Oranges

I am so horrible at zesting. I bought a cheap zester from Target and it broke almost immediately. I won't make that mistake again! You can also use a vegetable peeler but be extremely careful not to get any of the white pith as it makes the liqueur bitter.
Zest all three of the oranges and put the peels in your bottle/jar.

Step 3: Pour in the Booze

Put the orange zest and add 2 cups of Everclear or strong Vodka. You'll store this for at least a month while the liquor absorbs the orange flavor.

Step 4: After a Month (Or So...)

Remove the peels from mixture. You can do this by straining it thru a mesh colander. I dissolved a half cup of sugar in a half cup of water and then added it to this mixture, however this produced a liqueur with a very high alcohol content (I used Everclear). Start with this amount and do a taste test. If it is too strong add another 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water mixture.

Put everything back in the jar, back on the shelf for at least another month. This will allow the flavors to mature.

Step 5: Bottling

After the long wait, you can bottle up your concoction for easier storage. I use Grolsch bottles for everything because they are inexpensive and because they are reusable. You can also pick up similar bottles at kitchenware stores like Sur La Table.

Replace it in any recipes that call for Triple Sec, or enjoy it cold.

If you have any tips/suggestions, let me know!



    • Stick It! Contest

      Stick It! Contest
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    I prefer to use a fine grater with its attached container. The container has lots of oils in it after grating, and I "wash" the container out by adding my vodka to it, capturing what is lost by using a Microplane. My $4 Ikea grater works beautifully (the fine one, not the coarse one, which cuts too deeply), and Kitchen Aid has a nice one, too, at Target.

    Sounds really good. Not terribly complicated. Can't wait for the finished product. A bit easier than my mom's way. She peels the oranges in strips, scrapes off all the pith, dries out the peels in a low temp oven, then soaks them. Actually, her way is a good way to store peels for later use instead of having to go shop and using fresh. She saves them as she has oranges. Has anyone heard of that technique?

    1 reply

    your mom's way is valid for storage for other uses, but this is way easier. I dry orange peel all the time for use in tea and learned to just take a veggie peeler and slip off the peel w/o the pith(white part). Sine I do not do veggie wash I wash my fruit if I am doing this (or using it for a "twist" of lemon in a drink. If you let the peels dry bone dry you will find they have a white waxy powder coat. That is fruit wax and of course pesticides, although I was told big growers wash off pesticides b4 waxing. I can't couch for the veracity of that thought. But I have seen the waxy powder on the plate with the peels.

    Make this with a standard 80 proof high quality brandy and sweeten by dissolving sugar in water, then adding everclear (no taste and higher alcohol), to bring proof back to 80 or as it was when I was a kid, 86.8. since proof is double the % you can do the simple math to see how much everclear to add to how much water. (I am in my 50's and the alcohol content was dropped at one point to make the product less expensive due to federal excise tax on booze.)


    I can't wait to make it. I do have the same exact bottles in this picture. Thanks for making this available on Instructables!!

    Question: Do you store this in a dark cabinet at room temperature, or in a refrigerator? Thanks.

    You will never go wrong with a fine Microplane zester. They are the best. It will not break on ya. Maybe it's time for a new one.

    An OXO peeler works well ~ it's very sharp, and gets a thin peel w/o the white pith ~ if you're careful.


    A cheese grater will work inplace of a zester, and it's a bit more durable.
    stopping without getting any white from the rind can be done but it takes practice.

     Could one add orange juice to make it less alcoholic
    but still be a liqueur?   And how do you make the viscosity?

     Very nice work on this instructable. Could inverted sugar be substituted for the sugar and water combo?

    does the orange zest taste anything like oranges? i read about limoncello and i remember reading that it isnt sour like lemons and doesnt actually taste much like lemons at all. i would try this myself but im too young to drink. just curious.

    2 replies

    ya that's what everybody says :)

    It is a very orange-y taste. I think the only reason limoncello doesn't taste as lemon-y is because it is missing the sour. So, it smells like lemons but is very sweet. The orange liqueur is a pretty strong orange taste though :)

    How does it compare to the taste of Cointreau?

    I've also made a limoncello! I will post an instructable soon :) Thanks for all of the comments!

    The lemon version of this is called Limoncello (lee mun CHEL o). I had a non alcoholic version in Boston last week. YUM! If you look hard for recipes, you'll find a site from a guy who has been to Italy looking for recipes. He found that when making the home made stuff, they don't bother with zesting the lemons. They squeeze the juice out of the lemon and toss the lemon skins (whole) into the alcohol. I bet a lime version would be good. Grapefruit??? I'm not so sure but it might be worth a try.

    1 reply

    oh yes, limoncello... what wonderful stuff. I must check the tea towel we got in Italy that has a recipe on it. It was a while ago and I never got around to making it up. I feel quite inspired to have a go now.

    Great idea. It seems very easy. I will try it.

    Yum! I'd drink this... in... like... 10 years...