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Gilbert’s Seville orange gin recipe

Seville oranges

Juicy Seville oranges

In January, Gilbert makes Seville orange gin whilst Marjorie is making marmalade. He says there’s nothing like a glass with a stale husk of bread when their marmalade runs out. I’m sure that this never happens as I’ve seen Marjorie stirring dustbin sized vats on their Aga.

Their house was filled with the heavy scent of marmalade last weekend. Like us, they simmer their marmalade for hours to get the depth of flavour and dark colour that livens up even the soggiest piece of toast.

We’ve known Gilbert for years but were surprised to learn that his recent trip to Spain was not for the wintry sunshine but to select and pick his own Seville oranges. It turns out that he has made a pilgrimage to Seville in January for the last twenty years and he’s never let on.

We were delighted to find another man who was willing to undertake the great chopping, simmering, marmalade marathon.

Gilbert shook his head slowly.
“Yes and no. I go to stay with my old pal Juan to catch up and spend a few days in the sun. He lives to the west of Seville. On the last day I rise very early and set out alone to his grove and I pick a dozen oranges to make this grog.”
He reached for a chunky bottle that he plonked on the table and slowly drew out the cork.
“And he always brings me back four boxes of oranges, for my marmalade,” added Marjorie. This explained the vats on the Aga.

Gilbert filled small glasses and pushed them slowly towards us. This fragrant liqueur is fantastic. His recipe is below. Danny is still recovering from the arm wrestling contest that was undertaken to win this recipe.

Citrus liqueurs take ages to mature. Gilbert always allows a minimum of three years for his Seville orange gin. It is well worth the wait. We’re going to make it every year from now on. You can probably use vodka instead of gin if you prefer.

Gilbert’s Seville orange gin recipe
Recipe Type: Liqueur
Author: Fiona Nevile
  • 4 Seville oranges (the rind, no pith)
  • 1/2 pound (225g) of granulated white sugar
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 litre of gin (medium quality, supermarket own brands work well)
  1. Pour off 250 ml of gin and reserve. (We always buy the same brand and have a half full bottle knocking around for topping up.)
  2. Carefully pare the orange rind (avoiding the bitter pith) and add to the bottle.
  3. Add the cloves and the sugar.
  4. Top up with gin to an inch below the top.
  5. Leave the bottle in a prominent place for a few days and shake every morning and evening to dissolve the sugar.
  6. After a week place the bottle in a cool, dry place for three years.

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  1. Geraldine

    Hello Fiona,
    Love your blog! I came across it by chance googling a recipe for baked cod for our dinner this evening and found this treasure trove! I’ll look daily!

  2. Has anyone g9ot a receipt for blackcurrent Gin or do you think it might be horried?

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sam

    The land cruiser sounds like a good bet. Nick would use far less fuel if he commuted to work in a Fiesta 🙂

    Don’t take out the sloes before six months.

    I love the idea of a liqueur family!

  4. what an amusing image you have planted in my head! nick, at work in the office doing bicep curls with two bottles of gin with floaty bits in!!!
    we gave the sloe gin a taste last night, all 6 bottles of it! we discovered that nick likes it slightly sharper than i do. all of the sloes have gone hard and shrivelled…time to take them out, i wonder. they have been in there since october. the raspberry gin was coming along nicely too, and having felt cold all day, we both had a lovely rosy colour to our cheeks to accompany the giggles!
    on the truck front, nick has a land cruiser that he uses just to go to work and back, work and back. i think i need to enter into negotiations to procure said vehicle to ferry our small children and growing liqueur family around.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sam

    Make a bottle of each and in a few year’s time you will be queen. It doesn’t have to go in the car but a year in the boot would help grind down the rind. The constant vibration and movement eventually makes the rind dissapear. The other option is for one of you to jiggle the bottles for an hour or so a day. This could be great exercise for Nick if he is stuck in an office 🙂

    Seriously, they are all worth making. After 3 years you taste them and if you haven’t made the next year’s follow up you will cry. We did. Sloe gin has nothing on these.

    Well matured citrus liqueurs are the biz. Often better than the commercially produced liqueurs.

    Time to grab my hard hat and run!

    Perhaps you should consider trading in your car for a truck 🙂

  6. oh no!!!!
    seville oranges or kumquats? dare i risk the wrath of husband and try both? does this one go in the car too? this is such a dilemma! i think i need to go and test the sloe gin to help me decide, although an input from you would be gratefully received!


  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Graeme

    I am sorry, my post wasn’t clear. We make a lot of fruit gin and any left over gin could be used for the next batch of fruit gin that we make.

    That is not to say that we don’t relish the occasional G&T in between!

    The rind, if it is thin enough, will disappear within three years. Don’t panic, as long as you haven’t included the pith it will be fine.

    All the citrus fruit liqueurs are well worth making. Try another next year and so on so that in 3 years time you will have other liqueurs coming up the line.

  8. Hi, thanks for the recipe.

    Just some clarification.

    I made up some orange gin today adjusting the recipe to 70cl bottles. What I have left over is about 10cl of gin which now will not fit in the bottle. Do I understand from your recipe that I will need to keep on topping up the bottle over time, or can I use this ‘spare’ gin for a G&T?

    Another question is do you remove the rind , or do you leave it in for the full 3 years?

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Mary Ann,

    Kumquats make a good gin or vodka liqueur, our recipe is here
    I don’t think that ordinary oranges would work nearly so well.

    It’s worth making the Seville orange gin, when they are in season as it is wonderful if you are patient enough to wait the three years.

  10. mary ann dearlove

    I had a nip of this at a recent country fair and am going to give it a go. It’s a long time to Seville orange time, can I do it with ordinary oranges, or kumquats?

    Thanks, Mary Ann

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