Blood orange season typically runs from December through March, but this year I had a few oranges that tenaciously hung onto the tree branches until late spring and I could only think of one way to celebrate the last oranges of the season: Blood Orange Margaritas. These drinks get their vivid red color from fresh blood orange juice, which makes them really stand out if you serve them at a party or other occasion, and they have a great flavor that may just make them your new favorite cocktail.
The drink is made with fresh lime juice, fresh blood orange juice, triple sec and tequila. Blood orange juice has a lot of natural sweetness to it, so adding lime brightens up the cocktail and keeps it from seeming overly sweet. Triple sec really makes the orange flavor stand out, again without adding too much additional sweetness to the drink. I used a tequila blanco, which is an unaged white tequila, so I wouldn’t be introducing any additional color into the drink, but using a golden reposado or añejo tequila shouldn’t mute the vivid color of a blood orange.
I first saw blood orange margaritas posted on Rick Bayless’s facebook page, as they’re on the winter seasonal menu at his Chicago restaurants. The original recipe makes a huge batch of cocktails that would be a great choice for a party. I don’t usually need that many margaritas – mostly because I don’t need to wait for a big party as an excuse to enjoy one myself – so I scaled the recipe down to a smaller batch. This recipe makes just one drink, which can easily be doubled or tripled to make just enough margaritas for you and a few friends to enjoy the next time you’re cooking up some Mexican food or even a batch of nachos at home.
Blood Orange Margarita
1 1/2 oz tequila blanco
1 oz lime juice
3/4 oz triple sec
3 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 lime wedge, for garnish
Run a lime wedge around the edge of your glass and dip into salt.
In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, lime juice, triple sec and blood orange juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds.
Fill your prepared glass with ice and strain the margarita over the ice. Garnish with a lime wedge, if desired.