A great combination of blood orange juice and bourbon!
One of the best things about winter is the abundance of fantastic citrus that fills the stores. The bright fresh fruits bring a much needed burst of sunny warmth to the chill of winter, and make for some wonderful ingredients that can be used to make delicious cocktails.
One of our favorites might just be the most beautiful citrus, the blood orange, a sweet orange with a deep crimson color fruit that brings to mind the color of blood! The beautiful blood orange and its deep red juice make it a perfect ingredient in cocktails, which is why we chose to highlight the blood orange in our Blood and Bourbon Cocktail.
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What is a blood orange? The blood orange is a relatively new variety (if by new you mean only a few hundred years of history of growing) and likely originally cultivated in the Mediterranean during the 17th century. The blood orange is likely the result of a happy little quirk of fate due to a mutation and the environment where it is grown! The Mediterranean is the perfect environment for growing the blood orange, as there are warm days but cool nights, which is where that little mutation comes into play.
The mutation is a simple little bit of natural chemistry that results in an excess of an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is a naturally occurring pigment found in flowers and fruits that happen to be deep red, blue or purple, like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries and flowers like lavender or the Butterfly Pea Flower (have you seen our color changing cocktail?)
In the blood orange, anthocyanin is found in big amounts thanks to the cool nights of the Mediterranean falls and winters when blood oranges are grown! The more cool nights, the redder the flesh of the orange, and the more colorful the juice!
In the cocktail world, blood orange juice is prized for its deep red juice and the sweet tangy flavor that is more intense than a normal orange. The most common blood orange found in the United States is the Moro, which has the darkest red color and a richer juice that has hints of berry in addition to the common orange juice. The hint of berry in the blood orange juice makes this a fun ingredient to use in cocktails as it adds another layer of flavor that makes this more than just your regular old orange juice.
Joy Jolt Glasses (aren’t these so cool?!)
Blood orange juice also is a natural partner to many spirits, but our favorite pairing is bourbon. Bourbon goes really well with orange and you will find all kinds of cocktails that combine bourbon and orange (like our Earl of Orange or the venerable Old Fashioned!) The tart brightness of an orange enhances the flavors of the bourbon like caramel, toasted grain and baking spices, and brings out the natural sweetness of the bourbon. Add in the hint of berry and the more intense orange flavor from the blood orange juice, and bourbon and blood orange juice make for one heck of a pair!
The great partnership between blood orange and bourbon is the basis for our Blood and Bourbon, a cocktail that really lets the two stars shine in a beautiful cocktail! The bright tangy blood orange juice not only adds a bold tangy citrus flavor, but also brings a lovely reddish orange color to the Blood and Bourbon that makes this cocktail a gorgeous addition to your table!
Adding in a splash of lemon juice helped balance the sweetness. A hit of rich simple syrup helps bring a silky smooth sweetness that rounds out the Blood and Bourbon. A couple of dashes of aromatic bitters adds a bit of spice that rounds out the cocktail, making the Blood and Bourbon one smooth sipper!
Like this recipe? Try these below, too!
More Blood Orange Cocktails
Blood Orange Gin & Tonic – Lauren Caris Cooks
Bruleed Blood Orange Winter Spiced Gin & Tonic – Craft and Cocktails
Blood Orange Raspberry Mojito – Cooking LSL
Blood Orange Boulevardier – Striped Spatula
Blood Orange Margarita – Mommys Home Cooking
More Bourbon Cocktails
The Earl of Orange – The Gastronom
Bacon Washed Bourbon Champagne – Such the Spot
Cold Brew Bourbon – The Gastronom
Pineapple Bourbon Lemonade – Take Two Tapas
Bourbon Smash – Giraffes Can Bake
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1.5 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- 1 oz rich simple syrup
- .25 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Fill shaker with ice.
- Add ingredients to shaker.
- Shake until chilled.
- Strain into a chilled rocks glass.
- Garnish with a blood orange slice.
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