There are three common varieties of blood oranges available: the Moro (the most common), the Tarocco and the rarest, Sanguinello (which some say is the tastiest!) They are not generally available year-round and have become known as a seasonal treat, similar to clementine oranges or pomegranates. Between December and April, blood oranges are usually readily available in most grocery stores.
After reading an article in Canada's "Food & Drink" magazine (a free catalog distributed by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario) about using blood oranges in festive cocktails, I decided to share them on the blog. I intend on trying the sparkler and the margarita this season! I hope you'll try a few too!
BLOOD ORANGE GINGER COSMO
This cocktail requires the freshly grated ginger to be put directly into the glass and the cocktail poured overtop. For a more subtle ginger flavour, put grated ginger into the shaker.
3/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1 oz freshly squeezed blood-orange juice
Garnish: Candied blood orange wheel
Place freshly grated ginger into Martini glass. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine vodka, Cointreau and blood orange juice. Shake and strain into glass. Garnish with candied blood orange wheel, if desired.
CANDIED BLOOD ORANGE WHEEL
3/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup extra for coating
1/2 cup water
1 blood orange, sliced
Stir the 3/4 cup of sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the peels to a sheet of parchment paper to dry slightly, about 10 minutes. Place extra sugar in bowl and toss slices individually until coated. Dray on a parchment-lined tray in a single layer.
BLOOD ORANGE BASIL MOJITO
A traditional mojito is made with mint. Basil is in the mint family and is the perfect complement to the bolder flavour of blood oranges.
3 torn fresh basil leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 1/2 oz light rum
2 oz soda water
Garnish: fresh basil leaf
Add basil, sugar and 12 oz blood orange juice into glass. Muddle the mixture. Add remaining blood orange juice, rum and top with soda water and ice. Garnish with a basil leaf.
BLOOD ORANGE GIN MARTINI
The addition of Campari not only intensifies the colour but adds a punch of flavour to this cocktail.
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz Campari (optional)
Dash of vermouth
1 1/2 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice
Garnish: broad twist of blood orange zest
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add ingredients. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with blood orange zest.
BLOOD ORANGE SPARKLER
This is a version of a traditional Mimosa, and it could not be simpler.The blood orange is a hybrid of ancient origin between a pomelo and a tangerine and is grown in Sicily.
2 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice
4 oz Prosecco or sparkling wine
Into a Champagne flute, pour blood orange juice and top up with Prosecco
BLOOD ORANGE MARGARITA
This is a festive version of a summertime favourite.
2 oz freshly-squeezed blood orange juice
1 tsp sugar
1 oz Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1 1/2 oz tequila
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a margarita glass or rocks glass.