The Blood Orange: My Bloody Valentine
Citrus is a winter fruit? By heavens, there is a God!
This time of year the majority of America is left alone to wait out the frigid fate of February. February leaves little to warm the soul, save for a Hallmark holiday and its cohorts; Self-Pity & Scotch. Yet fear not, comrades, we are merely forgetting that it is precisely these declining temperatures that bring us a sweet kick in the pants this time of year; a tart burst of vitamin sunshine on an otherwise dismal day. Yes, my friends, I’m talking about American citrus. God bless America!
Of all the citrus; Navels, Valencias, Cara Caras, Oro Blancos, Pommelos, Kishus, Minneolas (The varieties are actually endless), none seems more the timely than the Blood Orange. Popping up in February at local markets like blisters, the Blood Orange is arguably the perfect Valentine’s Day fruit. Strawberries? Pishawww! Give me a strawberry in July, when I need something cute and innocent to dupe a summer fling. But a Blood Orange, now that is a fruit worthy of Valentine’s Day carnage.
There are three popular varieties of Blood Orange grown here in the US. The Moro, perhaps the most popular, has deep-red flesh that can turn the skin red as well. It’s a lovely specimen touting an earthier, bitter flavor yet still very sweet. The Sanguinello, native to Spain, is also popular with brighter flavors. It matures a little later in the season and is great in food. And the Tarocco, native to Italy, has the least pigmentation of the two but a sought-after sweet and bright flavor. The Moro is what we’ll be using.
Blood Oranges are excellent for a Valentines Day massacre … I mean date. Sure, you could get fancy with a perfectly-paired Fennel and Blood Orange salad – impress this date with your knife skills and the fact that you’re serving salad. But I say get straight to the chase: Make a cocktail. Make it pink, dammit.
Champagne and citrus often go together; I hear some people even drink it for breakfast. In doing “research” I found an adaptation for one of my favorite retro, head-crushing recipes, The French 75. Gin and sparking wine?! Change my address; I live here now.
This particular recipe is outfitted for entertaining so you can make the base in advance.
This will free you up for more important things, like cleaning your gross bathroom.
- About 3-4 Blood Oranges (a little over a pound)
- ½ cup (4 oz.) decent gin (yes, it makes a difference)
- 1 tablespoon of Sugar
- 4 dashes or so of Angostura Bitters (optional)
- 1 750-ml. bottle of chilled bubbles, the good kind (I’m using sparkling rosé because, duh)
For garnish (optional): Use a vegetable peeler to peel away the colorful zest of only one blood orange, or cut a halved orange into thin slices. Reserve slices or peel for garnish.
- Juice 2-3 oranges and measure out ½ cup (4 oz.) of juice.
- In a glass jar or pitcher add the ½ cup of Blood Orange juice. Pour in the gin, sugar, bitters and mix together. Place in the chill box for at least 4 hours. *Make sure to mix/shake well again before serving*
- Go find your prettiest glasses and, for God’s sake, turn down the lights.
- To serve, pour out 2 ounces of the well-mixed gin & juice into your prettiest glasses. Then top with sparkling rosé! Garnish with orange peel or orange slice. Serve immediately.
- Pat yourself on the back, stud.