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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. Just about to start my fourth annual batch of this but have still to actually taste any of it! This year we will open the 2017 bottle and indulge in the orangey goodness. If we can find it – every year I ask my husband to hide the bottles so I’m not tempted before they’re ready but now he can’t remember where he’s stashed them!

  2. Tina Williams

    Thanks for the recipe. Making some now from Sevilla oranges from a friend’s Cortijo here in Andalucia. They’re so ripe they’re literally dropping off the trees. ‘Do not open till 2022’ label ready.
    With the rest, its jars of marmalade next. Cant wait to taste the gin, thanks again

  3. Teresa Watson

    Just put up a batch of this, after the shaking and dissolving I will need to find a secure place where I can forget about it.?? Thanks for the recipe. Always make sloe gin, though sadly this year there were none to be found at my usual haunt. Also limoncello/orangecello, which goes great with champagne! Hope good things happen for you in 2018. Teresa

  4. Audrey Field

    I made this 3 years ago and tonight is the first tasting. It really is gorgeous and worth the wait.

  5. I will give this a try as my tree is laden with fruit. Apart from the cloves it is very sounds very similar to Limoncello. That is strained, bottled and then kept in the freezer or fridge as it best drunk icy cold. The turn around is only a few months. Do you keep the SO gin in the fridge also??

  6. Paul in Cumbria

    Just decanted my two year old SO gin (to free-up container for this year’s damson gin). The perfume this is is giving off is sublime! Distinctly sherbetty. It’s so fabulous already I’m more than happy to stash it away for another year or two. Thanks for the brilliant recipe!

  7. Hi
    Making this year’s batch of marmalade reminded me to give last year’s Seville gin a shake (and a sniff) – it smells soooo good, giving it a shake just makes me want to open the tonic! I labelled it with a ‘Do not drink before 2014’ note…oh, the pain 😉

  8. Andrew

    It seems like I’ve been waiting for years already and it’s only been months!

  9. Am I reading this correctly; do I pour out 250ml then add just then rind, no juice, to the remaining 750ml of gin?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Andrew

      Just add the rind (no pith) – if you add juice it will ruin the grog!

  10. Geraldine

    On the subject of fruit spirits, I make vodkas every year for Christmas; lemon(twist of peel and a couple of black peppers), vanilla (a pod), pepper (small red chilli), krupnik (with honey) and damson (added some sugar along with the fruit). Have made sloe vodka and gin, but sadly my source of sloes is no longer with us. Will certainly try the Seville gin this week, but will seriously have to hise it away and forget about it for 3 years if that’s the maturing time! Thanks for the recipe – will have a go during my annual marmalade making next weekend!

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