Blood Orange Mint Julep
Blood Oranges are in season this time of year. I had never really come across this type of orange until I was living in California. They have become one of my top favorite oranges, after Minneolas. They have a beautiful skin outside, that is a burnt orange and red. When you cut into them they have a really pretty deep crimson color. The red hue is from anthocyanin which is an antioxidant. They are sweet, tart and a perfect snack. Blood oranges are grown in Mediterranean climates, because of this they could usually only be found at specialty food stores or farmers’ markets. Lately, I have seen them in regular grocery stores and I am very happy about that. It is so nice to see some of the items typically only found at farmers’ markets become more available to the average consumer. There are so many amazing kinds of produce out there and seeing them more often in a typical grocery store is really wonderful.
I wanted to make a cocktail using blood oranges, because our refrigerator is stocked with them. Blood oranges have such a short season, so you have to get them while you can…I probably took it to an unnecessary level. I thought about a Moscow Mule, but then I remembered we had a lot of bourbon. I have never been a huge bourbon person. My philosophy with food or drinks I do not like is to keep trying them, find new ways to utilize them and usually I can come around.
This cocktail has made me come around to bourbon. So if you are a bourbon lover or not, I think this may win you over. It is super easy to make, and really has a beautiful presentation. As you make them, the aromas are really, really amazing.
4 blood oranges, 2 of them cut into wedges
1/2 cup of sugar
1 bunch of mint
8 oz bourbon
sparkling water optional*
- Make Blood Orange Simple Syrup. In a sauce pan add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, zest of 2 blood oranges, and half a cup of water. (The best way to zest the oranges is with a vegetable peeler, you want these to be large pieces of zest. Do not peel them you do not want to put the white part or pith of the orange into the simple syrup it is bitter-tasting.) Place the sauce pan over medium-low heat and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat to cool. Once cooled strain or remove the zest from the syrup.
- To make the cocktails, muddle 1 oz of the blood orange simple syrup, a handful of mint and 2 wedges of blood oranges. (Alternatively, you can also juice 1/2 of 1 of the blood oranges you zested or do both wedges and juice.) Top off with 2 oz of bourbon and crushed ice.
- Repeat step 2 to make the other 3 drinks.
- you can top off the drink with sparking water if it is too strong-tasting*