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Satsuma liqueur

The satsumas were late this year, with fruit ripening through March. The sad thing is that now as winter approaches, there are hardly any fruit for the upcoming winter season. Perhaps the rains will help with next year’s harvest. In any case, earlier in the year I experimented with making satsuma liqueur, and found that less is more when it came to accompanying spices: Most anything other than vanilla (like cinnamon, star anise, cloves, allspice, or ginger) resulted in a drink as medicinal as an unremarkable cough syrup—without the pleasant citrus flavor! So here is a simple infusion that highlights satsuma’s subtle aromas.

Satsuma liqueur steeping


  • 8 ounces satsumas, washed and dried
  • 1/2 to 1 ounce vanilla sugar, depending on its strength
  • 1 ounce sugar
  • 2 cups vodka


  1. Quarter the satsumas and place in a jar for steeping.
  2. Add both sugar and vodka, and stir a bit. The sugars don’t have to completely dissolve; they will do so over the steeping period.
  3. Seal and steep for 5 to 6 weeks, checking every week until desired strength is achieved.
  4. Filter through double layers of fine cheesecloth. Allow to mature at least 2 months before consumption.

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