The sweet taste of limoncello is synonymous with summer days passed in il bel paese, and whilst we love the way that a glass of this gorgeous yellow liqueur transports one to the Amalfi coast, today’s blog is dedicated to its lesser-known - but no less delectable - sister, arancello.
Arancello is a similar citrus liqueur, though darker in colour with a more orange, sometimes reddish, tone. It will likely come as no surprise that this is made from oranges, rather than lemons, though not just any old arancia (“orange”). The best Arancello is made with fresh Sicilian blood oranges, often grown in the region around Palermo that has come to be known as Conca d'Oro which literally translates to mean “basin of gold”. Blood oranges in Sicily are ripe for picking in January and February so now is the perfect time to experiment with these delicious fruits.
This delightful digestivo, enjoyed after a meal, will round off any Italianesque dinner party and, what’s more, it’s surprisingly simple to make for yourself!
Our Arancello Recipe
Serves: about 10 (will make at least two 500ml bottles)
Arancello can be enjoyed year-round, and if you're making it to enjoy through the winter then the addition of select spices will enrich the liqueur and imbue it with a warming quality.
- ½ litre (500ml) vodka or grappa
- 5 blood oranges
- 1-1½ litres (500-1000ml) water
- 500g caster sugar
- Optional spices: 2 cardamom pods, 1 vanilla pod, 1 cinnamon stick
- You will need a large jar with a capacity exceeding 1 litre (1000ml)
- Peel the oranges, carefully removing all the zest whilst avoiding the white pith where possible (as this will make your arancello quite bitter)
- Place the peel in a large jar with the spices if you’re using them and fill up the jar with the vodka or grappa. Seal the jar and place it in a cool, dark cupboard and leave for 1-2 weeks so that all the flavours can infuse. Shake the jar every few days to mix contents
- After this time, sieve the contents of the jar, placing the liquid back into the jar and disposing of the peel and spices
- Next, dissolve the sugar in about 500ml boiling water (keep adding water until all of the sugar has dissolved)
- Add the water-sugar solution to the jar of alcohol and leave for a further few days for the flavours to infuse again. Shake regularly
- Finally, decant the arancello into smaller, decorative bottles - garnish with some fresh curls of orange peel if you desire - then seal the bottles
- Arancello is best enjoyed chilled, many keep their bottles in the freezer until they wish to serve the liqueur
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