I love to give liqueur as a gift or hostess gift. It is perfect as a hostess gift because it won’t interfere with the meal and it can be served as an aperitivo (pre-dinner drink) or digestivo (after dinner drink). Creating your own liqueur makes it an extra special gift too.
I’ve combined two flavours that I really enjoy, chocolate and orange, to create this Chocolate Arancello liqueur. If the alcohol is too strong of a flavor, it is also nice to serve it with a drop of heavy cream or dollop of whipped cream on top – then you can call it Crema di Cioccolato Arancello and serve it as a dessert cocktail. It also works really well if used to make an affogato (an Italian espresso coffee and vanilla ice cream dessert).
Cacao nibs are used to achieve the chocolate flavour in this liqueur which are pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted. Many grocery and health-food stores carry them, however they are also available online from a variety of sources.
Vodka is used as the base as it is easy to source and it’s affordable. Keep in mind that the higher quality of vodka that you use, the smoother your final product will be.
I make about 5 liters at a time so I place one bottle in the freezer ready to serve and the rest in a cool dark place. Refrigeration isn’t necessary, and the liqueur should keep for about 2 months. If refrigerated, it can last up to six months. I like to freeze it so it’s always cold.
Bottle, freeze and serve this Chocolate Arancello for a refreshing aperitivo or digestivo at any time of year! Cheers!
DIY Chocolate Arancello
- 1 bottle vodka (1.75L)
- Peels from 10 oranges
- 2 cups Raw Organic cacao nibs (or blood oranges)
- 10 cups simple syrup (10 cups of sugar to 10 cups of water)
- Combine the cacao nibs and orange peels and vodka in a sealable glass jar. Stir and then let steep in a cool dark place for about 8-10 days.
- After the initial steeping period, bring the sugar and water to a boil and continue to heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let this syrup cool completely, then add it to the jar and let it steep for an additional day.
- Strain out the nibs and orange peels through a sieve and then filter through a coffee filter into the bottles or jars you’ll use for storage.
- Refrigeration isn’t necessary and the liqueur should keep for about 2 months.