Orange & coffee liqueur recipe

Orange & coffee liqueur: bottle & glass
Delightfully simple to make: satisfyingly complex to taste.

That sums up this grand liqueur which you could make now and enjoy over the festive season. If you can bear to part with some, it’d make an ideal present for a very special person.

The aroma of the brew is what a perfect sunset should smell like. Dark, roasted coffee spice punctuated by rich highlights of orange. You’ll relax & delight in its changing complexities.

The recipe is my adaptation of the one that appears in Niki Segnit’s brilliant book The Flavour Thesaurus. I highly recommend the book which is both fun to read and very useful. Niki credits the idea to American culinary guru Patricia Wells.

I was very lucky to have a supply of slightly bitter oranges from my foodie friend Carla Tomasi’s garden in Italy. These will help – but are not essential. Use the best quality oranges you can find. I used vodka this time, but will definitely try the brandy & rum versions.

Read on for the recipe…

Orange & coffee liqueur recipe

This will make about 1.2 litres of liqueur.

You will need a clean container larger than 1 litre to steep the liqueur in and a bottle or bottles to store your finished creation.


2 large or 3 smaller oranges
About 80-100 roasted coffee beans
300g of white granulated sugar
1 litre of vodka, brandy or rum


Divide the coffee beans up equally by the number of oranges you have. If necessary, give the oranges a wash or scrub.

Then press the coffee beans one by one evenly around the orange. You may need to make a start on a hole for them with a small knife or skewer. Some of the beans will fall out. Don’t worry about it. I think the important thing is that the orange skin is punctured to allow oils & juice to dissolve in the spirit. Here are my oranges with coffee beans after they’ve been macerating in the vodka.

Oranges studded with coffee beans

Put the bean covered oranges into your container, pop in any stray coffee beans. Add the sugar to and pour over your chosen spirit and cover.

Leave for 6 weeks or more. Stir or shake your concoction every now & then to make sure the sugar dissolves.

Then strain off the oranges and beans. You could do this through a double layer of scalded muslin for a clearer result.

There are two options from here: to squeeze out the orange juice into the spirit or not. I didn’t 😉 Why not enjoy the juice on its own?

Bottle the spirit. You could decorate the bottle with a strip of orange peel and a coffee bean or two if you fancy.

My thanks to Helen at A Kentish Kitchen for bringing this recipe to my attention.

Do any of my blog reading coffee aficionados have a recommendation for bean types for this recipe?



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15 responses to “Orange & coffee liqueur recipe”

  1. […] this isn’t a miniature Halloween pumpkin but an attempt at orange and coffee liqueur, rum, cheap, awful, undrinkable rum in this case, as inspired by Carl Legge. Don’t you love […]

  2. michaelawah Avatar

    “the aroma of a perfect sunset”… Ah… you got me there.

    This sounds brilliant! I have this bottle of rum that i hate (cheap stuff that tastes…cheap) and this might just do the trick to make it palatable.

    I imagine this would be lovely too in coffee or in desserts, yum

    1. Carl Avatar

      Sounds like an ideal use for it Michael – good luck 🙂

  3. Paul Bernard Mercer Avatar

    i’ve just finished straining my chocolate orange vodka , have already done it with brandy and rum , rum was the one i liked most…… 🙂

  4. backyardnotes Avatar

    Hello Carl,
    Thank you for this post. Orange and coffee is an interesting infusion. Since it is citrus season, I think it worth the small effort and will give it a try.
    I am currently infusing vodka with pomegranate and cardamom. About another 2 weeks and it should be ready. My sister lives on the Long Beach, WA peninsula, cranberries are plentiful in late October and into November so I have been making cranberry infused vodka for several years. Crushed cranberries with a cinnamon stick is also quite nice; the cranberries add a nice tartness and brilliant color. I find a minimum of six weeks to be best for complete transfer of flavors. I find coffee filters to be a better alternative for straining out solids and tiny particles. A clearer product is prettier in the bottle.

    1. Carl Avatar

      Hi Gretchen

      Thanks for this very helpful comment. Some lovely recipe ideas there and good advice 🙂


  5. Meg Avatar

    Do you have any feel for whether the caffeine leaks into the vodka & orange melange? This sounds very tempting – even if my erstwhile fellow Slavonics students might cringe at the thought of not drinking vodka straight 😉 – but since kicking the legal career I can no longer drink coffee…

    1. Carl Avatar

      Hi Meg

      Caffeine is alcohol/ethanol soluable. However the amount from such a small quantity of unground beans must be very small & the amount in a shot glass (or two!) of liqueur similarly not great.

      Also, as a former lawyer and former very strong coffee drinker I feel no caffeine from the drink. I’m now a tea drinker unless coffee is all that’s on offer. Debs does not drink coffee at all and finds this irresistable 🙂

      Hope that helps


  6. narf77 Avatar

    Citrus season is still with us here in Aus. so this delicious concoction is just about to be made. I just saw 2 bottles of vodka on special at a local bottle shop for $30. I doubt it is amazing stuff but adding oranges and coffee to it will surely make it drop dead gorgeous. Cheers for this sterling drop 🙂

    1. Carl Avatar

      Ahhhh, that sounds just right 🙂

      Serendipity indeed



      1. narf77 Avatar

        We will and here’s to many more experiments thanks to cheap imported vodka! 😉

  7. Carl Avatar

    A coffee bean recommendation from an email follower of the blog, Nita.

    Monsooned Malabar –

    “The blend is heavy bodied, pungent, and considered to be dry with a musty, chocolatey aroma and notes of spice and nuts.”

    Sounds perfect, thanks very much Nita 🙂

    What other suggestions are there?

    1. Martyn Oliver Avatar

      Monsooned Malabar is my number 1 favourite bean, full flavour and strength but with no bitterness at all. Normally I’d say no, never, don’t adulterated this perfect nectar (I take neither sugar nor milk), but I suspect bitter oranges and good vodka will make great companions.

      1. Carl Avatar

        Hi Martyn

        Sounds like I should have a try of the beans and perhaps use them for my next batch 🙂


  8. lindaswildlifegarden Avatar

    will give it a try sounds nice Carl