For me, November is a month for bottling fruit liqueurs I made in previous years; Damsons, Raspberries, Red Currants, Plums, Oranges and Quince seeped in alcohol, sugar and spice will be ready for filtering and bottling. Each year I make a mixture of tried and tested recipes and something new. They make perfect gifts at anytime of year and especially at Christmas.

Le Vin D’Orange

In Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen, Alison Walker’s recipe for this aperitif from Provence mentions a tradition of making it with Seville oranges.The recipe lists sweet oranges but I decided to try it with a mixture of Naveline and Seville oranges. The end product is slightly cloudy in colour, but the flavour is a blend of fruit and vanilla.

Orange Whisky

Juicy sweet oranges combined with blended whisky and cinnamon create brightly coloured fruit liqueurs. This year I used sweet Naveline oranges from Ave Maria and their fresh, rich flavour proved an ideal partner with the whisky, sugar and spice. The recipe is one I like to share when teaching an Edible Gifts course at Vale House Kitchen Country Skills Cookery School.

Quince Vodka

I first made Quince Vodka in 2010 but resisted bottling it the following year as a lack of fruit prevented making anymore. Six years later, with a fruit from Worcestershire to make up some
for next year, I finally bottled the first vintage. I am confident it has been worth the wait.

A delicate, clear colour and a full flavoured Quince liqueur.

400g Quince, peeled, cored and cubed.
500ml Vodka
Granulated sugar

1) Place the cubed Quince in a 1 litre Kilner or Le Parfait jar. Pour over the vodka and seal the jar.

2) Leave the jar for at least a year, the pieces of Quince should turn a deep orange. Strain the mixture through a jelly bag or a double piece of muslin.

3) Measure the liquid and pour into a bowl. Add 50g granulated sugar to each 400ml of liquid. Stir the sugar over 2-3 days until completely dissolved. Bottle the liqueur.


For bottles, Bottle Company South