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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. Ruth Berridge

    I’ve just looked this recipe up again as I’d mislaid my scruffy old copy. I’ve been making for several years now and it’s a firm favourite in our house!!
    A varient I tried a batch or so ago was using a few cardamom seeds lightly crushed instead of cloves … Also seriously good! I’m just about to do this year’s batch – roll on 2026!

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Ruth, I like the sound of the cardamom instead of cloves. Thanks for the tip!

  2. David Horwell

    Another three year celebrant! I made my Seville orange liqueur on 24 January 2020 and nurtured it in the cool and dark these 3 years, occasionally gently inverting the jar until the peel floated through. I resisted tasting it throughout – until I poured my first glass tonight. Wow! Worth waiting for! It’s ambrosial – a wonderfully orangey but dark flavour, and a crystal clear amber colour. This litre will last me a while (I’ve got my sloe, cherry-plum, redcurrant and rhubarb gins to get through…) – so I’ll start a new jar tomorrow and look forward to enjoying it in three years! Thanks for the recipe, and for your site.

  3. I’ve been making a bottle of this for three years and waiting to taste in in an act of faith …. this year have strained the first bottle and its is delicious, well worth the wait, and now I have an annual supply

  4. Amanda Comber

    Hi, can I just check you leave it for 3 years with the peel and cloves in situ? All other recipes I have made for fruit liqueurs remove the fruit after a few weeks/months before maturing?

    • Did you get a reply? I have left mine in and just strained it through muslin and it is VERY strong! Do you think I can add more gin to dilute the taste?

      • Fiona Nevile

        Yes Sue, Adding more gin would dilute the strength. Personally I never strain any liqueur as the fruit can be used in other things later.

    • Do it – all in for three years
      It’s worth it!
      Try a LITTLE drop after 1,2 and then the finished product.
      Worth the wait! I promise
      Make in successive years being sure to dste the jars when sober!!???
      After 3 years…… Cointreau eat yer heart at!!!

      • Fiona Nevile

        Spot on David! I kept a lemon gin for 5 years before quaffing. It was unbelievably good.

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