In the bleak gray sea that is winter, citrus serves as a literal bright spot. But among the Meyer lemons, grapefruits and satsumas that brighten the produce aisle, there is one crown jewel: the blood orange.
When this sought-after citrus hits the market, it’s an invitation to break out the cocktail shaker. Forget strong-and-stirred for a moment and opt instead for a Blood Orange Margarita, an easy spin on the classic that complements the expected lime with a hit of fresh ruby-red blood orange juice. Or lean into the promise of spring with the Sanguinello Spritz, a bitter, bubbly, low-alcohol recipe that embraces the flavors of the season—blood orange, vanilla—in a format that instantly conjures images of aperitivo alfresco. Of course, a Blood Orange Cosmo is never a bad idea, either. Julie Reiner’s recipe, created for the famed Flatiron Lounge, combines orange-flavored vodka, Cointreau, and lime and blood orange juices with just a splash of cranberry.
Shaken, however, is not the only way to enjoy the bounty of blood oranges in your cocktail. Give it the Garibaldi treatment and top Italian aperitivo liqueurs, like Contratto or Campari, with freshly squeezed juice for an immensely satisfying two-ingredient cocktail. (To get that signature frothy crown without a Breville juicer at the ready, hand-press the blood oranges and agitate the juice with a handheld frother or a blender.) If you’re left with more juice than you need, consider that a nudge to make Andrew Bohrer’s Bitter Handshake, which calls for a simple blood orange reduction to add brightness in his Fernet-based take on an Old-Fashioned. If you have even more juice, why not share the riches by making a batch of So Long, Sweet Summer, a large-format punch that marries Old Tom gin, cinnamon-ginger-peach shrub, Cocchi Americano and sparkling wine? According to the drink’s creator, Jeff Galli, the recipe is meant to “remind you of Christmas and a long summer night all at once,” and that’s not such a bad headspace to be in come February.