December through May, for many, is a depressing marathon that consists of below-freezing weather, medicinal Hot Toddies and endless bundles of blankets and sweaters. Finding motivation to do much of anything is highly unlikely. But there is one bright light amidst the dreariness: citrus season.
Sweet, tart, juicy citrus, ranging from perfect navel oranges to ruby red grapefruits to bite-size clementines. The fruit that stands out from its cousins is the devilishly-colored blood orange. It’s in season—and it should be in your cocktails.
The name, however unappetizing, is a tribute to the dark, vivid color of the fruit’s flesh. It’s both sweet and tart, lending great flavor and color to drinks. And there’s a bonus: The dark color supposedly comes from anthocyanins, which have multiple health benefits, like preventing heart disease. They’ve also got a small dose of Vitamin C and fiber.
These five exciting cocktails put the “full-blooded” in blood orange.
An unbeatable pairing, citrus and whiskey are the base of some of the best cocktails, including the Whiskey Sour and Brown Derby. This tart blend from Love and Lemons combines fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, bourbon, bitters and sparkling water for an ultra-refreshing, vibrant cocktail. Get the recipe.
The classic grapefruit soda–tequila drink is a staple for many tequila lovers, including blogger Aida Mollenkamp, who has vowed to try every version of the drink she comes across. This homemade variation is just as simple as the classic, but swaps grapefruit soda for a bottled blood orange drink like San Pellegrino and adds a bit of thyme for herbal intensity. The cocktail proves one of our favorite mottos: Everything’s better with tequila. Get the recipe.
Talk about unexpected: It’s not often you see tomatoes and blood oranges join forces. But considering that technically tomatoes are a fruit and are fairly acidic on their own, this pairing makes sense. This recipe from Delish also calls for Tabasco sauce and horseradish for spice, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Get the recipe.
You can always count on mixtress and booze blogger Beautiful Booze for a mouth-watering cocktail photo, but a picturesque blood orange slice turns this frothy sour into a thirst-inducing snapshot. With a rum base, fresh squeezed citrus juices and egg white to give a creamy finish, you may never look at sours the same way again. Get the recipe.
As you can tell by now, blood orange pairs with each and every type of spirit (we imagine it would also make a killer Radler). This recipe from White on Rice Couple, winter-fies the classic Gin and Tonic with a healthy dose of blood orange juice and a dash of orange bitters. Get the recipe.