Words by Simon Difford
You may have thought that winter months in the northern hemisphere were confined to the likes of cauliflowers, leeks and brussels sprouts but it's also the season of the blood orange (late December to April). This rich and vibrant variant of the citrus fruit makes a wonderful addition to cocktails calling for orange juice as well inspiring its own recipes.
Native to southern Italy and parts of Spain, the blood orange can vary from the dark-fleshed Moro variety to the delicately flavoured Tarocco. Their blood-red hue comes from a pigment called anthocyanin, found in varying degrees depending on the fruit.
The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit describes the fruit saying, "blood oranges usually add a berry, specifically raspberry, note to the sweetness." The book goes on to suggest some unusual flavour pairings such as asparagus in a sauce maltaise, and with beetroot courtesy of Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck.
With: Runny honey, dry gin, lemon juice and blood orange juice.
We say:A long lost relation of the Bee's Knees - best made with blood orange juice.
With: Dry gin, Campari, dry vermouth and blood orange juice.
We say: Full-on tangy fresh blood orange with a subtle gin back bone.
Blood Orange Margarita
With: Tequila, triple sec, Campari, blood orange juice, lime juice and sugar syrup.
We say: A bloody riff on the classic Margarita.
With: Dry gin, runny honey, blood orange juice and lemon juice.
We say:Tart lemon and citrus notes are balanced by rich and flavoursome honey, with gin adding botanical complexity.
Bloody Blood & Sand
With: Blended scotch whisky, malt scotch whisky, cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth and blood orange juice.
We say:A Blood & Sand with the smoky influence of Islay single malt whisky and the rounding citrus notes of blood orange juice.
With: Dry gin, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth and blood orange juice.
We say: A Bronx made 'bloody' by the use of blood oranges. Fruity yet dry with botanical notes both from the vermouth and the gin.
With: Scotch whisky, lemon juice, blood orange juice, Benedictine and cherry liqueur.
We say: Reminiscent of a Blood and Sand with Bénédictine and lemon juice replacing sweet vermouth.
Dantes in Fernet
With: Scotch whisky, Fernet Branca, blood orange juice, maple syrup and Xocolatl mole bitters.
We say: A Blood & Sand style cocktail, with Fernet Branca providing an almost smoky herbal influence.
With: Dry gin, raspberry liqueur, red wine, Fernet Branca and blood orange juice.
We say: Red berries, red wine and blood orange juice are subtly fortified with gin and the underlying herbal notes of Fernet Branca.
With: Mezcal, blood orange juice, sugar syrup and Fernet Branca.
We say: Mezcal, cinnamon and Fernet Branca are big hitting flavours which combine brilliantly in this characterful cocktail.
With: Campari, limoncello liqueur and blood orange juice.
We say: Bitter Campari notes are balanced by sweet limoncello liqueur, with blood orange juice adding citrus freshness.
With: Dry gin, Campari and blood orange juice.
We say: Blood orange juice replaces sweet vermouth in this fruity Negroni.
With: Mezcal, blood orange juice, sugar syrup and falernum liqueur.
We say: Mezcal and blood orange juice with sweet spice added with cinnamon syrup and clove rich falernum.
There It Is...
With: Scotch whisky, genever, maraschino liqueur and blood orange juice.
We say: Genever combines wonderfully with Scotch whisky, to which maraschino liqueur and blood orange juice add flavour and lengthen.