Want to know how my experimental orange milk liqueurs turned out?!
The orange vanilla liqueur, based on this recipe(ish), turned out really well!! It tastes just like an adult creamsicle in liquid form! So, here’s my recipe (easy to double for a larger batch):
- 1 cup vodka (flavorless, I use Oregon Springs brand, which is like 1 step up from the cheapest options)
- 1 cup milk (I used whole for this one, but I think 2% would be fine)
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 mandarin oranges, sliced into 4 pieces each (other kinds of oranges should work fine too)
- 1/2 lemon, sliced into 3 pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix the milk, vodka, and sugar together in a glass jar, then add the fruit and vanilla. Put the lid on and shake a bunch so it’s well blended. The next day it’ll be separated and look something like this:
Mix it up by shaking the jar once per day, and the separating will be less as the days pass. I made two batches and filtered one after 11 days and the other after 3 weeks, to test how much of a difference it would make… I can taste the difference between the two, but barely. The 3 week liqueur is a wee bit more flavorful, but the 11 day one is superduper delicious too.
So, my conclusion for that is: if you’re in no hurry, let it sit (shaking once per day) for about 3 weeks, but if there’s a reason you want it done sooner (like if it’s a gift), then about 10 days is enough time.
Now comes the filtering – there are a few steps here. First, strain the whole thing through a fine mesh strainer, and/or cheese cloth, to get out all the solids. Next, line a strainer (or a funnel) with a paper coffee filter, and pour the milky liquid in. It’ll take some time to filter through (overnight maybe), and it’ll coat the filter in milk solids, so you’ll need to change filters a few times as needed.
Once all your liqueur has gone through the coffee filters once, I recommend giving it one more run through – now that all the milk solids are filtered out, the second time goes very quickly and only one more coffee filter should be needed. You can run that second filtering through a funnel, directly into your glass bottle, and then you’ll be left with a beautiful golden, delicious liqueur!
Above are the 2 batches of orange vanilla liqueur (center and right) and then my super experimental orange spice liqueur… The orange spice is not ready to share a recipe yet – I learned some huge liqueur-making lessons with that experiment. Well, one huge lesson: don’t make liqueur with ground spices! I think the ground cinnamon was the main problem. Filtering took about 4 days, 3 or 4 times through, and probably about 12 or more coffee filters – not fun! Once all that filtering was finished, it made a totally drinkable liqueur, but man, it has bite! I can’t really taste the orange, just the spice! Good, though!
So, I’m now trying out some updated experimental liqueurs using cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and some crystalized ginger pieces…
There’s an orange spice, an orange+apricot spice, and a plain dried apricot milk liqueur. I got some liqueur making books, but there’s no mention of milk liqueurs (I think they are a traditional Portuguese thing that’s just starting to be known in the states thanks to this book, but I could be totally wrong and they could have some other origin… anyone know?) – so, I’m using the idea of a dried apricot liqueur from one of the books, and turning it into a milk liqueur. Based on how the orange ones turned out, I think it’ll work well!
Oh, a couple other things I want to share before I go – first, don’t use the kind of jar from Ikea like I used for the spiced liqueur! Major leaking, no good! I later found these jars at The Container Store that are working really well, and the biggest size I found is big enough for a batch with 2 cups each of milk/vodka/sugar, as long as I don’t need to add lots of solids (like orange slices) that take up space.
And one last thing – I used this idea to remove the labels from recycled jars and bottles, and it works really well! Once you use up the vodka for your liqueur, and whatever other glass bottles that have good lids, soak them in water with some shampoo for a few hours – with some kinds of labels, they will literally just fall off the bottle in the water (I think TJ’s blood orange soda was one of these), but others will just become looser and easier to scrape off.
I think that’s all I’ve got for you now. Happy daylight savings day!