‘Tis the season for Blood Oranges. The holidays are long over and out of the way making room for us to celebrate peak citrus season. Dating back to the 15th century, Blood Oranges were first cultivated in the Mediterranean in Southern Italy and are a natural mutation of the sweet orange. In the US they are now grown in California and Florida, and even Texas and Arizona. Benefitting from a warm invigorating sun during the day followed by cold sobering nights, the fruit continue to develop their color, sweetness and juiciness until harvest time. Here on the Eastern Coast of the US they seem to start appearing in markets by January, with some sightings being reported through March and as late as April.
This radiant margarita features homemade Blood Orange purée blended with tequila, lime juice and agave nectar, making this an excellent mid-winter spirit lifter and a timely Valentine’s Day indulgence.
Recipe adapted from the Blood Orange Margarita made popular at the Blue Smoke restaurant in NYC
2 ounces of tequila (we used Cazadores Reposado)
1-1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce orange liqueur (we used Cointreau)
1 teaspoon Agave Nectar (or ½ ounce simple syrup - see Notes for recipe)
1 ounce blood orange purée (see below)
lime and blood orange wedges or wheels for garnishing
Coat the rim of a rocks or margarita glass with a little lime juice.
Pour a small amount of salt on a plate and dip the rim of the glass in the salt.
Fill the glass and a cocktail shaker with ice.
Add the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, agave nectar and blood orange puree and shake vigorously.
Strain the mixture into the glass, and garnish with lime and blood orange pieces.
• Blood Orange Purée: segment, peel and seed 4 blood oranges Combine slices with 1 teaspoon agave nectar (or 1 tablespoon simple syrup) and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth. Adjust sugar to taste. Makes about ¾ cup. • Simple Syrup: mix 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water In a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a glass jar and cover. Makes about 1½ cups. Will keep in the refrigerator for a few months.