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 comes from anthocyanins, which studies have shown play a role in the prevention of some diseases. They’ve also got a small dose of Vitamin C and fiber.
These four exciting cocktails put the “full-blooded” in blood orange.
1. Blood Orange & Bourbon
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 & Lemons combines fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, bourbon, bitters and sparkling water for an ultra-refreshing, vibrant cocktail.
2. Blood Orange & Thyme Paloma
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.
3. Bloody (Orange) Marys
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.
4. Blood Orange Gin & Tonic
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 & Tonic with a healthy dose of blood orange juice and a dash of orange bitters.