One of the great things about Winter, is the citrus. I wasn’t always this jazzed about it, but now that I’m older (and smack in the middle of a citrus mecca) it’s hard not to love all the different kinds that are available. Growing up in Cleveland, citrus consisted of oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes and grapefruits.
Walking through the farmer’s markets I’m greeted with pomelo’s, 3 different kinds of lemons, 3 different kinds of limes, pink and white grapefruit, limequats, kumquats, tangerines, tangelos and a myriad of orange species. While I do love me some Meyer lemons, my favorite Winter citrus fruit is the blood orange.
Blood orange season usually hits its peak, around here, in February. How convenient that the striking blood red color of this seasonal fruit coincides with Valentine’s Day. Sometimes that Mother Nature really gets it together. But this time of year, you see almost as many blood orange salads gracing the tables at restaurants as roasted beet salads. It might just be a bit overdone, don’t you think? There are lots of blood orange recipes. Sure it’s easy enough to peel and slice those sparkling red jewels onto a salad (actually, it’s not that easy to do without looking like you were just part of a massacre) but why not try experimenting a little bit more than that? There are lot’s of blood orange recipes for salad dressings (see, you can still get that flavor into a salad, just via a different delivery method), sorbets, salsa, cake, roasted pork and last but not least….a blood orange cocktail.
I’m not talking about squeezing some of the juice into a glass and adding a good glug of vodka either. I’m talking about a blood orange cocktail that focuses on the blood orange juice and working with its intricacies to create a cocktail that can truly, and rightfully, shoulder the responsibility of being called a blood orange cocktail. Letting the words “blood orange” take center stage, not playing as merely an adjective to the noun “margarita” or “martini.”
To make this cocktail, I employed something a bit different from the usual mixology tricks. I used the blood orange juice to create a sort of gastrique (a thick sauce created by reducing sugar, vinegar or wine, and usually some fruit). Gastrique’s aren’t usually created for cocktails though, you’ll most commonly find them dressing plates of meat or fish. The addition of seasonings gives this recipe a unique depth of flavors and allows it to be used in other applications outside of the bar area. In fact, I’ll be giving you another dish utilizing this blood orange recipe on Monday (so if you use it all up in your drinks this weekend, you’ll need to make another batch).
If you don’t like my relationship advice, maybe you’d prefer to get some advice from the pro’s, Playboy Bunnies that is. The following are actually dating tips straight from the horses…err bunnies mouths. (From The Bunny Book via The Gloss)
- Never date a man whose car is worse than yours. (Huh, so that’s where I screwed up all those times.)
- Don’t let a guy talk to you too long on the phone because they’ll probably be nervous and say something stupid, then you won’t like them anymore. (So what’s their excuse for saying stupid things in a text message?)
- If you really are high maintenance, don’t hide that on a first date. You should just find a man who can keep you in a manner to which you would like to become accustomed too. (I can’t argue with that one at all.)
- If a guy blows you a kiss from across the bar, head for the hills. He probably still lives with his mother. (Either that or he gets his dating tips from watching old re-runs on Nick at Nite.)
- If he pees in the shower, when you’re showering together, that’s a deal breaker. (I guess it’s not really a deal breaker if you’re in to that fetish. But hey, how ’bout only peeing in the toilet?)
- Secretly every woman wants to be a stripper…and almost every man wants to be with one. Go to a female strip club and get a lap dance. (Can’t say that I’ve ever wanted to be a stripper, but I have gone to a strip club and gotten a lap dance. Guys think it’s hot when you tell them you’ve done that and you really can learn a bit about the male psyche – think of it as a field trip.)
- Never cook a guy dinner in the first month of dating…at least not before a little oral mambo of a different sort. (I think a bit of a cooking tease works wonders. Like, make cookies but only have 2 or 3 out on a plate. When he eats one and starts salivating for more, tell him that’s all you have left.)
- There is no need to light the way to your bedroom with 50 votive candles. (Doing that is a sure way to burn down your place. That doesn’t mean you should do it with those battery powered candles either.)
- Don’t ever order a drink that comes in a martini glass. They’re heavy, hard to hold and spill easily if you get tipsy. (Drink what you want regardless of the glassware, but bourbon drinks usually come in a glass that’s hard to spill.)
- Never wear thick, clunky heels…unless the look you’re going for is “witch.” (Yeah, there’s nothing sexy about thick, clunky heels…flats or kitten heels if you don’t want to go the stiletto look.)
Blood Orange Cocktail Recipe
Serves 1 (will be plenty of gastrique left)
Adapted from Imbibe
- 2/3 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Herbs de Provence
- 1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 2/3 Cup Blood Orange Juice
- 1 Ounce Vodka
Add sugar and lemon to a 2 quart saucepan. Add just enough water to cover bottom of pan. Stir to mix the ingredients together.
Turn the heat to medium high and continue cooking until it starts turning brown. Do not stir.
Once the sugar is turning brown, slowly stir in the vinegar, blood orange juice and spices. (The mixture will boil up, so add the new liquids slowly and keep stirring.)
Continue stirring, while on the heat.
Reduce mixture by half.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Pour syrup through a strainer to remove large solids. Cut a piece of cheesecloth and wet it with water. Line the strainer with the cheesecloth and strain a second time.
To make the cocktail, fill a small rocks glass with crushed ice.
Pour 1 ounce of the Blood Orange gastrique into the glass.
Pour 1 ounce of vodka into the glass.
Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a blood orange slice.