Homemade Cointreau?
June 6, 2011 4:18 PM   Subscribe

DIY Liqueur: Cointreau. I've finally run through the bottle left by a fellow MeFite. How do I make a rough approximation? I've searched around a little, and the "recipes" all involve stringing and hanging oranges. Why that technique?

Also: Any other liqueurs that are easy to make at home, especially fruity ones? Any caveats to consider?

Any good, cheap suppliers of straight ethanol (as that seems a lot better in the long run than bottom-shelf vodka)? Especially in the Los Angeles area?
posted by klangklangston to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure why that specific technique: probably because making any sort of Triple Sec involves using dried orange peels (of traditionally sweet and bitter oranges), and hanging the oranges is probably the easiest way to dry them out without doing it artificially.

My understanding is you basically just let the dried peels sit in alcohol and then distill. Sugar is usually added.

I actually would use a bottom shelf vodka. Ethanol can yield a really intense and harsh result, more so, ime, than using cheap vodka. But the ethanol will be slightly more effective in really gutting the orange peels, etc of their flavors and nutrients. It also depends on how the vodka you get was distilled (or from what), I would imagine.

Other DIY liqueurs? Pretty much anything you can imagine. I know lots of people to Triple Sec and maybe a Limoncello, but you can make up just about any liqueur you can imagine.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:26 PM on June 6, 2011

Cointreau (I think that was my bottle?) is the original Triple Sec, if you are looking for recipes of similar stuff, this looks like a good place to start.

As for the hangin / drying of oranges, I guess to make a strong peel flavor, which it looks like the listed recipe gets around it by adding a ton of orange.

(Also, that website is awesome and I am adding it to my to read list).
posted by mrzarquon at 4:27 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Everclear (high proof stuff) itself is illegal for consumer purchase in California from what I understand, the closest you can get there is 151 proof stuff. Which is still a lot higher than traditional vodka. In the above linked recipe, I'd maybe steep the mandarin oranges longer in the 151 to help with mixing of the flavors.

As for a vodka, Svedka vodka shows up as a over 90 points, but $13 750ml bottle, of vodka. I'd call that a simple choice to use as a base vodka spirit.

You'd be looking at $30-40 in expenses, for almost two liters of orange triple sec. You might want to try a $18 1.75L bottle of DeKuyper's first to see if you find it palatable as well.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:40 PM on June 6, 2011

Any other liqueurs that are easy to make at home, especially fruity ones? Any caveats to consider?

Limoncello is easy and awesome.
I've done DIY Amaretto, but didn't save any money or get a better flavor; almond extract = expensive.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:40 PM on June 6, 2011

Without Seville (bitter) oranges you won't come close. In any case, I prefer Grand Marnier...
posted by jim in austin at 4:41 PM on June 6, 2011

As klang's partner in alcohol infusions, I can assure you we've got the limoncello down. We're aiming for an orange liquor now because I have a friend offering up the rather tart oranges from the tree in her backyard, so that is the orange we'll be working with.

If anyone has an awesome ideas for bergamot oranges (there is a tree in the alley nearby) though...
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:56 PM on June 6, 2011

Response by poster: Mr. Z — It is your Cointreau. It lived well and was loved by all. I do have the DeKuyper's and it's pretty vile stuff, with a strong chemical bitterness. Mandyman and I are already making limoncello out of foraged lemons, but she's got a friend with an orange tree, so we were thinking about doing this too.

I wonder if just zesting the oranges would be better than stringing the oranges.
posted by klangklangston at 4:57 PM on June 6, 2011

Response by poster: Preview's for chumps.
posted by klangklangston at 4:58 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

The thursday happy hour link in my first comment talks about baking the orange slices for 1-2 hours, sounds like a good, faster, approach than trying to dry out the oranges. I think that would be a good place to start.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:04 PM on June 6, 2011

(also, I am glad that the Cointreau didn't end up living out its days on some dusty corner self, only to be thrown out at an estate sale, or passed down to children as some sort of lazy inheritance)
posted by mrzarquon at 5:06 PM on June 6, 2011

I must admit I'm also just really curious about the whole string a whole fresh orange up over the alcohol thing. Is it some trick the French are trying to play on us?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:07 PM on June 6, 2011

Any other liqueurs that are easy to make at home, especially fruity ones?

You could try your hand at falernum. Not fruity. But involves fruit.
posted by thinman at 5:42 PM on June 6, 2011

44 is fun to make.
posted by mkb at 6:01 PM on June 6, 2011

Check out this old thread at Chowhound for lots of great ideas for home infusions and liqueurs.

Hey mandymanwasregistered, bergamot is the flavoring that makes Earl Grey tea so delicious. And I've been reading lately about tea/liquor infusions. So why not go for an Earl Grey liqueur? I thought I was a genius for inventing this just now but apparently people have done it already. You can google around.
posted by Askr at 6:04 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I suspect the reason for drying them is that the juice would change the flavor and dilute the hooch. That limoncello recipe calls for the peel only. In the interests of science, why not try it both ways?
posted by theora55 at 12:29 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

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