Triple Sec

I came across this recipe just in time.  I was fresh out of Triple Sec and down to my last dash of Cointreau and I was going to go out and buy an orange liqueur when I came across this gem.  I love, love, love margaritas and since I love making my own homemade liqueurs I decided, “why not?” (if you’ve been following me from the inception of this blog, you probably have realized that I just go for it when it comes to making my own food.)  I had just gotten my crate of oranges from Pearson Ranch California Oranges and wanted to use a few for this liqueur and am I glad I did.

Homemade Triple Sec!  Can’t wait to try this!

It’s ridiculous how excited I am to share this liqueur recipe with you.  It’s just so, so yummy and if you start it now it will be ready by summer.   Can you say MARGARITAVILLE?  Eat your heart out Buffet!  These help make *the best* homemade margaritas – ever!

Also, did you know that it’s International Scurvy Awareness Day?  Limestrong is a non-profit organization who’s focus is to “eradicate” scurvy.  Now, we know that scurvy will never be eradicated but through awareness we hope to reduce any new develpments.  Scurvy is a condition caused by the lack of Vitamin C and a way to combat ever getting scurvy is by eating fresh fruits and veggies, especially citrus!  So, yes, go make a margarita with your new homemade triple sec!  Your body will thank you!
 To make the Triple Sec you want 10 oranges.  Using a vegetable peeler, you want to peel the zest from 4 oranges (much like we did for the limoncello) and put them in a half gallon jar.  Next you want to juice the oranges until you have 2 cups of juice.  In a large pan, you want to heat sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved, then, while stirring, you want to add the orange juice.  Cool the syrup completely and add it to your half gallon jar.  Then add the vodka.  You can also use everclear but since only four cups is used in this recipe, I decided to use vodka.  Cover and place in a cool spot for at least a month.  Strain and bottle.

I see soooooooo many margaritas in my future!
Triple Sec
Yield:  about one and a half 750ml bottles
10 oranges
4 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 cups vodka or grain alcohol
  1. Using a potato peeler, zest 4 oranges, much like we did for limoncello.  Add the peel to a half gallon jar.
  2. Juice all the oranges until you have 2 cups.
  3. In a large pot, heat sugar and water until all the sugar is dissolved.  Once the sugar is dissolved, slowly pour in the orange juice while stirring. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Take off heat and let cool completely.
  4. Once the syrup is completely cooled, pour into the half gallon jar over the orange zest.
  5. Add vodka or grain alcohol.
  6. Cover and let steep in a cool spot for at least a month.
  7. Strain and bottle
  8. Enjoy summertime margaritas!

Real Deal Limoncello, First Phase

Do yourselves a favor and start this Limoncello with me.  This method for Limoncello will create the best damn Limoncello you’ve ever had.  It’s amazing and it takes about 9 months to completely mature, so start it now.   It will be ready to bottle by Christmas.  You can bottle it and keep it for yourself or give it as gifts to people who really deserve it. 

First, you will need a 750ml bottle of vodka, not necessarily high end but one that’s good enough that you would serve to other people (I like using Skyy), and a 750ml bottle of Everclear.   Next, you’ll need 15 lemons who’s skins are just about perfect.  You don’t want many bruises because we need the zest.  Finally, you need a good vegetable peeler and a 2 gallon glass jar.

Using your vegetable peeler, peel only the zest of the lemons into long strips.
Make sure you only get the zest.  You don’t want any of the pith or it will make your limoncello bitter and bitter limoncello will get you thrown out of any self respecting Italian’s house!  The zest is where all the sweetness and flavor of the lemon is. 
Place these strips in the 2 gallon glass jar. It’s best that you use glass because of the acid from the lemons. Once you have all the lemon zest in the jar, pour the bottle of vodka and Everclear in.
Shake this like a Polaroid picture and put it in a dark place.  Every once in awhile, or – if you’re like me – every time you remember, shake the lemon zest and alcohol mixture.  In 3 months, take out a slice of zest and bend it.  If it breaks, you’re ready to add the sugar syrup mixture; if it doesn’t keep the jar in the dark place.  The goal is to leach all the lemon essential oils out of the zest and into the alcohol.  We’ll check in on the liqueuer in about 3 months.
We are going to juice the actual lemon for a canned lemonade concentrate recipe that will follow this post.
Real Deal Limoncello

One Bottle (750 ml) Everclear (95% alcohol 190 Proof)

One Bottle (750 ml) good but not necessarily premium vodka (40% alcohol 80 Proof)
15 large thick skinned bright yellow lemons (without scars or flaws in the skin if possible.)

Day 1
1.  Make sure the lemons are cleaned to remove all pesticides, dirt, and fertilizer chemicals.  Dry the lemons.  use a potato peeler to peel just the yellow part of the skin off the lemons.
2.  Place lemon zest into a 2 gallon glass jar.
3.  Pour the bottle of Everclear and the bottle of vodka into the jar.
4.  Shake the jar and put away in a cool dark place.
5.  Shake jar every other week…or whenever you remember.
6.  We will revisit our liqueur in about 90 days