Blood Orange Cocktail with Gin or Bourbon

Blood Orange Cocktail

I made myself a blood orange cocktail because it’s time (heck it’s past time) we raise our glasses to the fairest of the seasons.

Spring is in the air – and in my cocktail glass. There’s fresh creativity blossoming everywhere. I think it’s time to bring some of that springtime freshness to our cocktails too. But what exactly does that mean?

When it comes to spring cocktails one school of thought has us putting away the brown spirits and bringing out the clear spirits. That’s one way of thinking about seasonal cocktails. Still, there’s no rule that says you can’t enjoy whiskey in spring. The Mint Julep is the perfect example. This means the seasonal changes in our tipples are more subtle than that. Rather than considering whether to use gin or Scotch, I think we should change our thinking about what we pair with that spirit and focus instead on what’s truly in season: mint, mango, strawberry, and rhubarb. These ingredients taste like spring because they’re at their best this time of year.

Noticeably missing from that list is citrus. That’s because most citrus varieties peak in the winter.

Blood Orange Cocktail

Most, but not all. Blood Oranges are at their best right now, making them a perfect choice for spring-themed cocktails – vibrant, sweet, and citrusy with a musty quality that keeps this blood orange cocktail from getting too cloying.

On the outside, a blood orange looks like any other orange, with just the slightest blush indicating that something special is hiding inside. Slice one open and its sunset-hued secret is revealed – they’re so arresting in their beauty. Like all citrus, blood oranges pair beautifully with both gin and bourbon. So I’ve put together a springtime blood orange cocktail that works with clear spirits as well as it does with dark spirits. Make it twice if you don’t believe me and see for yourself. GREG

Blood Orange Cocktail

Spring Forward: A Blood Orange Cocktail 

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Spring Forward a Blood Orange Cocktail


  • 2 ounce gin or bourbon
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • ½ ounce maraschino liqueur (such as Luxardo)
  • 1 dash Miracle Mile sour cherry bitters
  • 1 dash Regans orange bitters
  • 1 blood orange twist (as garnish)


Combine all ingredients except blood orange twist in a cocktail shaker 2/3 filled with medium ice cubes. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist; its oil expressed onto the surface and rubbed onto the rim of the drink then draped on edge of the glass.