Market Matters: Blood Oranges for a Bloody, Bloody Bourbon

This week from the Hollywood Farmers Market I decided on blood oranges for a Bloody Bourbon, a Blood Orange, and Bourbon Cocktail.

Citrus season is winding down in Southern California. While it’s true we get plenty of citrus here year round, these are the last few weeks for some of the more specialized citrus varieties to be found in the market. Soon the more unusual mandarins and the multiple varieties of blood oranges will be a once-in-a-while occurrence.

Because blood oranges are very seasonal and they are not as common in this country as they are in Mediterranean Europe, where they are market mainstays. So it’s blood oranges for me despite the sanguine name. Blood oranges are not just a Technicolor sensation, they are delicious: sweet and tangy like ‘Valencia’ oranges, but with a hint of some sort of berry flavor, and an earthy minerality that can be hard to describe.

Now the term blood oranges is actually a blanket sort of designation for several varieties of oranges with red to deeply purple flesh.  Where I live I see 3 basic varieties at the market.

Blood Orange CocktailLet’s start with the aptly named ‘Sanguinelli’, it’s more oblong than most oranges and is about 2–1/2‑inches in size. The skin can be quite dark red and the flesh is usually red-streaked. It’s nicely sweet with an earthiness that is interesting. It’s very popular in Spain and a vital component in ‘authentic’ sangria. It might have made a very nice choice for my cocktail this week, but it is not always available in my market, even in season.

If I were choosing blood oranges to sit down, peel and eat then my favorite is ‘Tarocco’ which yields 2–1/2‑inch, red-blushed fruit with darker red flesh. Compared to other varieties they are quite sweet and more tender and ‘rag-free’. Meaning there’s less chewy, pithy stuff in your mouth after you’ve eaten a segment. These are considered absolutely the finest eating oranges in the Mediterranean.

But I chose ‘Moro’ today. Here they are far and away the most common type of blood orange. They are 2 to 3‑inches in size with dark, dark burgundy flesh, and only a blush of red on their orange skin. They get a lot of attention due to their dramatic color. Which makes them a great choice for this cocktail because that deep hue produces a stunningly beautiful juice, which adds a lot of impact in the glass. They are also the most tart of the group I mentioned, which again makes them perfect for this cocktail. But it’s not usually my first choice for an eating orange when it comes to blood oranges.

Speaking of a lot of impact in the glass. I hope you like the glasses I presented this cocktail in. They were sent to me as a sample and I am excited to pass along a bit of information regarding these unique glasses. Because I think they would make amazing gifts for the design conscious tipplers in your life.

By the Glass uses only lead-free crystal, which is better for our bodies and the environment. The designs are laser etched, so there are no chemicals, dyes, sprays, or additives used in their manufacturing. Which is all terrific information, but what I like about them is the design. They are “inspired by the built world”. Meaning each glass is adorned with designs honoring the most iconic architecture of a whole lot of the world’s great cities. Naturally, I chose Los Angeles, the city I love and the city where I live. But there are equally beautiful designs patterned after Boston, Brasília, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, São Paulo, Toronto and Washington DC.

The details and designs can be seen at By The Glass.

Bloody Bourbon  serves 8 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • ice cubes
  • 3 c freshly squeezed juice from about 12 blood oranges
  • 2 c bourbon
  • 1 c fresca
  • 8 additional blood orange wedges, as a garnish
  • 8 sprigs mint

For each drink, half fill an 8‑ounce glass with ice cubes. Add 6 tablespoons blood orange juice and 1/4 cup bourbon. Do not stir. Top each glass with 2 tablespoons Fresca. Garnish with blood orange wedge and a sprig of mint. Serve immediately with a swizzle stick.


Greg Henry

Sippity Sup