Monday, October 27, 2014

OMG a Spoooooooooky Recipe: Bloody Good Blood Orange Cocktail for All Hallow's Eve

Per usual, my Halloween preparation relies on The Addams Family movies. Someone asks Wednesday Addams, wearing her everyday Little Girl Goth ensemble on Halloween, who she's supposed to be. Actress Christina Ricci's perfect deadpan voice replies: "I'm a serial killer. They look like everyone else." Genius. Short of vandalizing a perfectly good bed sheet and going as a ghost, I'm sorely unprepared for Halloween beyond snacking on way too much candy weeks before October 31st. But fear not. I did make a drink.  And it's spooooooooky!

Blood orange makes for a gory-good cocktail - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Okay, so it's not spooky at all. Just very red in color and quite delicious to the point where you could drink too much of these and everything will seem scary. I actually created this drink months ago, like back in March, when I got some blood oranges in our CSA delivery. I'm sure you can find blood oranges year-round at the fancy grocery store of your choice, but even if you can't find fresh blood orange, I would try using strained beet juice to get this super-red color, because it's all about that intense hue, and a little goes a long way for both beets and blood oranges, so you don't have to worry about your drink tasting like dirt.

I vant to suck your blood (orange) - Photo by Wasabi Prime
I will say this about blood oranges -- they're deceptively benign as fruits. They look so sweet and small, like a wee baby orange, with a pretty gradient/ombre of light to dark orange on its rind.Then you cut them open and you realize you shouldn't have worn anything white. Much like beets, they stain like a mofo and it looks like pure murder. And they're not sweet like an orange -- I find them quite tart, which I realize makes them ideal for savory recipes. Squeeze enough of the juice and you'll realize why they call them blood oranges -- the juice is opaque, almost viscous like blood.

Squeezin' the Juice - regular orange in front, blood orange in back - Photo by Wasabi Prime
So of COURSE, I had to save this drink for Halloween. I was mostly experimenting with ways to mix with the bottle of Woodinville Whiskey White Dog, a distilled whiskey that hasn't aged in a barrel, so it's not classified as a bourbon. In lesser hands, this would be some bathtub white lightning moonshine that would make you blind, but Woodinville Whiskey's pale dog of a spirit is very clean, with light grain sweetness. It's a little tricky to mix with, I'd compare it more with Brazilian cachaca than other whiskeys, because the profile is so different. Fresh fruit and citrus flavors go well with the White Dog, so that was where all these oranges came in.

But you want a warm sweetness to go with the drink -- the blood orange juice not only gives color but a richer mouthfeel, so the sweetness of the drink should compliment that. You can use regular simple syrup (1 to 1 ratio of sugar to boiling water), but I like honey simple syrup for this, since the sweetness has more depth. Honey simple syrup is made in a similar way -- add a generous half cup of honey to a full cup of boiling water; it's thick and you want the final product to be a really loose syrup, easy to pour and mix.

All treats, no tricks for this potent potable - Photos by Wasabi Prime
The blood orange is watered down a little with some fresh orange juice, just to balance out the flavor and viscosity. It's topped with a Prosecco finish, which adds a nice effervescence to cut through the rich flavors. This is where those Simple and Crisp citrus slices come in handy -- I had some of their seasonal blood orange crisps handy, so it made for a perfect garnish. If you don't have that, just peel the rind from an orange and that can dress up the drink just as nicely.

Bloody Good Blood Orange Cocktail

2 oz Woodinville Whiskey White Dog (or cachaca)
1 oz fresh squeezed blood orange juice
.5 oz fresh squeezed regular orange juice
1 oz honey simple syrup
Prosecco to top (about a half ounce)

In a cocktail mixer or pint glass, fill with a few cubes of ice and add the White Dog, orange juices and simple syrup. Stir, don't shake, to combine for about 15-20 seconds. Strain into a martini glass and add the Prosecco as a finish, just enough to top off the glass. Add an orange peel or thin orange wheel to garnish. Drink and pretend you're a vampire. But don't bite anyone, that's rude.

Happy Halloween everyone - Photo by Wasabi Prime
Halloween wishes to everyone, whether you have a costume or have to make up a lame excuse like me. May your day be filled with more treats than tricks, and don't feel guilty about saving all the good candy for yourself and giving out the stuff you don't like, like Sweet Tarts or anything with raisins in them. Blech ...

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