mixed citrus liqueur.

Mondays are kind of the worst, am I right?

No matter how much you love your job or your classes or whatever your weekly obligations may be, Mondays are still a bummer. The blissful freedom of the weekend is totally, completely over, and Friday seems ridiculously far away.

If I were Garfield, eating a whole tray of lasagna would make me feel better about Mondays. I would also be the world’s first lactose-intolerant cat who also happens to be allergic to cats. My own worst enemy!

Sadly, I am not a morbidly obese wisecracking cat. Sorry to disappoint you.

I am, however a pretty radical girl who happens to be quite awesome at making homemade liqueurs. Which, in my opinion is way better than a cartoon cat.

Oh, and did I mention that today is the beginning of Citrus Week? Yes! See how much better I am than a cat?!

Citrus fruits are way delicious, and way in season right now. The hubs and I visited my parents last weekend, whose citrus trees were literally exploding with ripe fruit. Literally. So needless to say, we came home with 238 tons of oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, clementines and blood oranges, which is totally okay with me. Free fruit? Don’t mind if I do!

Each day this week, I’ll be sharing a new, wonderfully delicious recipe with you for something wonderful and citrusy. Fun, right? The thing is, I have made SO MANY THINGS that Citrus Week could turn into the Ten Days of Citrus. Or A Fortnight of Citrusy Delights. Maybe even The Monthlong Citruspalooza Extravaganza.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope you guys like citrus…because there’s going to be a lot of it happening. In a lot of different ways. Sweet stuff! Savory stuff! Non-edible stuff! Boozy stuff!

Speaking of booze, I have a really great idea! This mixed citrus liqueur is really, really dreamy and I think you should make some. Today! This liqueur is like a mix tape of awesome citrusy goodness. A Greatest Hits Collection, if you will. Also, what better way to get your mind off of Monday than by preparing a lovely boozy concoction that’ll be ready to enjoy by the time Friday rolls around?

The liqueur literally takes about 10 minutes to make, and then it’s just a matter of being a little patient for a few days. After three days, strain it and in no time you’ll be sipping pretty (puns!), listening to “Everybody’s Working For the Weekend” by Loverboy on Friday evening, welcoming a new weekend brimming with excitement, freedom and endless possibility. Let’s do this thing, shall we?

Stay tuned for the next installment of Citrus Week–er, fortnight. Month? Lifetime? Honestly, I have no idea how long this might go on. I love citrus (and you guys, duh, awwww) and the world needs to know about it!

mixed citrus liqueur

Yield: about one quart liqueur

Prep Time: 10 minutes

this recipe is wonderfully adaptable and endlessly customizable! You can swap out whatever types of citrus you love for those you might not be crazy about. If you've got grapefruit, use it! Do you have access to even more amazing, exotic citrus fruits like buddah's hand finger limes or yuzu? First of all, I'm jealous. Secondly, use 'em!


2 blood oranges, quartered
3 clementines, quartered
3 lemons, quartered
2 limes, quartered
3 tangerines, quartered
10-12 kumquats, halved (if you don't have kumquats, you can leave them out and just substitute an extra orange or tangerine!)
1 cup simple syrup (see below for instructions)
2 whole cinnamon sticks
4-5 whole green cardamom pods
3-4 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
sufficient vodka or grain alcohol (how much you need depends on how big your container is--you want enough to ensure the fruit is completely submerged. i used a little under a quart!)


for the simple syrup

combine one cup granulated sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan and place over medium heat.

stir the mixture occasionally, taking care that it doesn't reach a boil. we're really just looking to dissolve the sugar and create a homogenous mixture, which will take anywhere from 2-5 minutes.

when the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is uniform, remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature before using.

transfer any leftover simple syrup to an airtight container and store in the fridge, where it will keep for upwards of a month.

for the mixed citrus liqueur

wash a large airtight glass container with a tight-fitting lid with hot, soapy water and dry completely. i used a half gallon-sized mason jar, but as long as the container is glass and it has an airtight lid, you're good to go!

combine all of the sliced citrus, simple syrup, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves and allspice in the large jar.

pour enough vodka or grain alcohol into the jar to completely cover and submerge the fruit.

screw the lid on tightly and give the container a few gentle shakes to distribute the liquid throughout the jar. take the lid off and check to make sure the fruit is completely covered with liquid. top it off if need be, and screw the lid on tightly again.

transfer the container to a cool, dark area, such as a pantry or closet. once a day, give the jar a few gentle shakes back and forth.

the liqueur is ready for consumption in just three days, but you can let it mature for as long as one week if you'd like.

straining the liqueur

place a large mesh sieve over a large bowl. have a second large bowl standing by.

pour the entire contents of the jar into the sieve and allow the liquid to strain into the bowl. using the back of a spoon or a spatula, gently press on the citrus pieces to extract as much liquid and flavor out of the fruit as possible.

discard the fruit pieces, cinnamon sticks and other solids.

place the sieve over the second large bowl and line with two paper coffee filters.

pour the liqueur from one bowl to the other, taking care to ensure the liquid pours through the coffee filters. depending on the thickness of the coffee filters and the viscosity of the liqueur, the liquid may filter quickly or slowly. you may want to exercise caution and use a ladle to control the flow of liquid so you don't lose any deliciousness!

taste the liqueur. if you think it needs to be sweeter, now would be a good time to add the leftover simple syrup!

once the liqueur is to your liking, you may drink it straight away, or line the sieve with two more paper coffee filters and continue the filtration process a few more times if you'd like a smoother finish. i would recommend doing this if you plan on drinking the liqueur straight up, but if you're planning to use the liqueur in mixed drinks one filtration session is probably good!

transfer the liqueur to a clean glass container with an airtight lid. you can store the liqueur at room temperature or in the fridge. either way, the liqueur will keep for upwards of six months. enjoy!

a food + words original

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30 Responses to “mixed citrus liqueur.”

  1. #
    Danguole — February 20, 2012 at 1:29 am

    That would make my Monday better for sure! It’s so pretty. I want to hold it and cuddle it and call it my happy juice.

  2. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — February 20, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Yes, please! Love this idea!

  3. #
    Amanda — February 20, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Gorgeous! Love how fresh and colorful this is. Thanks for sharing!

  4. #
    Sam — February 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    So purty! Making this tonite for sure! What can I do with my alcoholic leftover fruit? And will this work the same with Gin and/or whiskey??? Yum!

  5. #
    Carolyn — February 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Oh wow, I definitely have to try this!

  6. #
    Russell van Kraayenburg — February 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    This is so cool! I didn’t know you could make something like this. I want a martini with this!

  7. #
    Alison @ ingredients, Inc. — February 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    love this!!

  8. #
    Lisa @ The Cooking Bride — February 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Hi! I remember you as the girl with the awesome tattoo from IFBC New Orleans last summer. Just saw this on Pinterest. Can’t WAIT to try it!

  9. #
    Living The Sweet Life — February 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I think I can safely say – – you just saved mondays ;)

  10. #
    Fruit Maven — February 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Ohhhh. So glad I found this. I’m drowning in unique, fun citrus and dying for a cocktail. Yay to you! And cheers!

  11. #
    Casey — February 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Ooh! Pretty! I bet it will taste amazing too.

  12. #
    Sprigs of Rosemary — February 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I’ve made limoncello before and liked it but I think I would love this mixture of citrus even more.

  13. #
    Sean — February 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

  14. #
    ErinsFoodFiles — February 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    This looks amazing!!! (…says the preggo girl)

  15. #
    Pat Reis — February 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I can’t wait to try this,do you by any chance know how I can make brandied fruit? I discovered this years ago but could never get the recipe, if you know it I sure would appreciate you sharing, thanks!

  16. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Haha! After you have that little bundle of joy, I will totally send you a giant half gallon mason jar full of liqueur!

  17. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks Sean! I am most definitely obsessive about making everything I can from scratch. I love Punk Domestics, I’m heading over to submit this right now! :)

  18. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I LOVE limoncello! This citrus liqueur is definitely a bit different than limoncello, it’s got a little kiss of spice and incredible flavor. I think you’ll love it!

  19. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks Casey, it was almost too pretty to strain. It’s delish!

  20. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Yes! I am officially a superhero now, right?

  21. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Hey Lisa! I love that you remembered me from my tattoo, that’s the greatest ever! I hope you’re doing well! Thanks for the sweet comment on my citrus liqueur, it’s so delicious. You really need to make it! :)

  22. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I’m basically an amateur mixologist…you should see how many mason jars I have in the cabinet, all full of random DIY liqueurs. It’s kind of an obsession.

    And yes! A martini would be so amazing with this liqueur. I’m a classy lady, so obviously I love martinis!

  23. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Yes! Do it with gin for sure, I’m not sure how it would turn out with whiskey. There’s only one way to find out…

  24. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks Amanda! It’s definitely bright, happy and colorful, which is so nice to look at during winter :)

  25. #
    Jaclyn — February 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    That’s essentially what I’ve been doing all week! It makes my heart happy.

  26. #
    Matt — May 8, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Having done a lemon lime infused vodka similar to this I made one batch and it was perfect, however when I went to make a second it got incredibly bitter and undrinkable, not citrus bitter but almost chemically bitter, what I was wondering is if you ever had any problems with the when you leave the fruit in too long? The first batch I left for 2-3 days the second was only 3-4 and in that day it went from heaven to undrinkable I have read that doing it with just the meat and the zest but none of the pith (white parts) helps that

  27. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — June 3, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I’m most intrigued by this. I’ve just finished making Limoncello and know it’s most important to not include any of the pith in that process or it will impart a bitter taste. I’m guessing that the shortened brewing time must not allow that to happen with this mixture? Looks lovely, sounds fabulous and guess I’ll be finding out!

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  30. #
    Peter — December 23, 2014 at 1:43 am

    Phenomenal Recipe !!! The Flavor and Fragrance is Great. Thanks for being a Sweet Heart and Sharing !!!

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