Ode To the Blood Orange

photo by Amanda Schuster
photo by Amanda Schuster

Ok, Cupids. We get it, chocolate is to Valentine’s Day as the color green is to St. Patrick’s Day.

However, why is it expected that a Valentine’s Day drink has to be chocolatey, thick and sweet? Especially since the hands down sexiest red fruit of the year happens to be at its peak right at the holiday - the blood orange!

Consider its romantic appearance - the gradations of reds and yellows on its skin like a sunset. Then when sliced open, the way that striking, luscious dark orange flesh on the inside is revealed, and the perfumey wonder of its flavors. There is a cool citrus sweetness there, distinctly, well, orange. But then things turn up at the end into a sharp bite of bitterness, akin to grapefruit, but more focused and quick, with a kiss of rose petal. "Don't mess with me," it seems to say. "Take me seriously. Treat me with respect." Like most great lovers, the blood orange is only around for a few weeks and then disappears. It returns the next year, and all is forgiven, but still fleeting. Squeeze it wrong, its juice sprays all over, and it will leave a dark stain. As it should.

Even for those who are not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day or feel excluded (shouldn’t people lucky enough to be in mutual love celebrate every day they have together? Isn’t this like having a special day just for people who have all ten of their fingers and toes?), a blood orange cocktail is the perfect thing to sip on February 14th and the couple of weeks surrounding it.

photo by Amanda Schuster
photo by Amanda Schuster

So those cloying, gooey sticky drinks? A few sips and they’ve lost that lovin’ feeling. Find your heart’s desire with this threesome of blood orange cocktails!

San Valentín Sangriento (My Bloody Valentine)

  • 60 ml (2 oz) Straight Rye Whiskey, such as Knob Creek
  • 15 ml (1/2 oz) Barolo Chinato Cocchi (or red Vermouth will do in a pinch)
  • 7.4 ml (1/4 oz) very bitter Amaro, such as Dell'Erborista
  • 15 ml (1/2 oz) Fresh Blood Orange Juice
  • 1-2 bar spoons (depending on how much of a spanking from the Amaro you can take) of good quality Maple Syrup
  • 3-4 drops Mole bitters, such as Bitterman’s Xocolatl
  • 1/2 wheel of the Blood Orange for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until its heart runs cold. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Attempt to balance the half orange wheel on the rim, but it's OK to let it fall into the glass. The greatest love is never perfect.

My Bloody Ax ("My Damned Ex")

photo by furchtbar
photo by furchtbar

by furchtbar, Pinta Cocktailbar, Dresden, Germany

In a Boston Shaker dry shake all ingredients except cloves, then shake again on ice. Double strain into pre-chilled coupe glass. Sprinkle ground cloves on top.

Some exes deserve to be axed. She loved ginger, but wouldn't get around to Bourbon. She liked oranges (even when they were bloody), but couldn't handle life's lemons. And while she was all about flowers, cloves always riddled her. Enjoy, while she's still smiling at you.

photo by Alan Gold
photo by Alan Gold

Weekend in Caracas

This romantic getaway is brought to you by Alan Gold, The Rum Barrel, Key West, Florida.

  • 60 ml (2 oz) Fresh Blood Orange Juice
  • 44 ml (1.5 oz) Santa Teresa 1796 Ron Antiguo de Solera (you could also use Bacardi Ron Solera)
  • 7.4 ml (1/4 oz) Demerara Syrup (optional, if more sweetness is desired)
  • Slice Blood Orange
  • 1 Fresh Blackberry
  • 2 Fresh Raspberries
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • ½ wheel of Blood Orange for garnish

Muddle the fresh fruit and bitters in bottom of a mixing glass. Add rest of ingredients with ice and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a chilled coupe or Martini glass. Garnish.

For another version of a Bloody Valentine Cocktail with rum, visit our friend at Bit by A Fox!