blood orange cocktail in glass with sliced blood oranges on marble table

How to Make a Blood Orange Cocktail: A Complete Guide

The blood orange is a unique type of orange with an eye-catching appearance. The addition of blood orange into many different varieties of cocktails typically brings a welcome hint of sweet citrus. 

Blood orange mixes well with most types of liquors, and it is fairly sweet with a hint of raspberry or even strawberry, instead of being more acidic. This flavor profile makes it the perfect option for crafting a refreshing cocktail due to its versatility.

Our article gives you more details about the flavors of blood orange and how they can be used to enhance or complement your favorite cocktails. We also give you recipes for popular blood orange cocktails and ideas of what to pair these unique cocktails with to create a totally enjoyable experience.

What Is a Blood Orange Cocktail? What You Should Know

Blood orange cocktails are becoming more popular as individuals start to appreciate the sweet, citrusy, and almost floral taste of this fruit. Blood oranges are generally substituted for regular oranges in cases where the somewhat tart and acidic citrus flavor of a navel orange is too much for the liquor of a drink.

Blood orange is a fairly versatile fruit, and it can be added to a number of different cocktail recipes. It is sweet, with hints of raspberry and strawberry, and it’s typically perceived as a twist on classic cocktails.

Blood orange gives classic drinks a fun appearance and brings new flavor combinations that aren’t as widely known when creating cocktails. Overall, you're typically dealing with a sweet cocktail when you're drinking a blood orange cocktail.

What Is Blood Orange Cocktail’s Flavor Profile?

The flavor profile of blood orange is somewhat unique, with blood orange tasting much sweeter than a regular orange. These oranges have a dark red-orange appearance underneath their peels, and many individuals find them both less acidic than regular oranges and with hints of raspberry or strawberry in the fruit. 

Blood oranges still have a strong citrus flavor, but they can be more mild and less tart.

When mixed with liquor like vodka, tequila, gin, and even whiskey, blood orange can bring out the floral or fruity elements of a drink. The flavor profile it brings is pleasant and refreshing, and it makes for a great addition to summer-themed cocktails due to the bright, citrusy notes it brings to almost every drink.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Blood Orange Cocktails?

The alcohol content of blood orange cocktails varies greatly, as blood orange itself is a fruit and not alcoholic. The alcohol content of your blood orange cocktail will depend on the liquors you are using in your cocktail recipe. On average, a blood orange cocktail can range between 15 and 25 percent ABV. 

Double-check the ABV of the liquors you are using in your favorite blood orange cocktail recipe to get a better idea of the alcohol content of your drink.

What Goes Well With Blood Orange Cocktails?

Blood orange cocktails are fairly versatile, and these drinks can easily go with any type of food or drink, depending on the type of cocktail you are drinking. In general, blood orange cocktails can be enhanced with some soda water to bring refreshing bubbles into the drink, or they can be complemented by a garnish of blood orange slices or other fruit garnishes.

Food that works well with blood orange cocktails includes charcuterie boards, cheese plates, light pasta and fish, and even many desserts, such as a rich chocolate cake. 

Blood orange cocktails are typically enjoyed best before dinner, during a light dinner, or as a dessert, as the sweetness of the drink may not pair well with very rich food or red meats. However, this does depend on the blend of liquors you have in your blood orange cocktail.

The Best Blood Orange Cocktails

Below, we give you some of our favorite blood orange cocktail recipes. You can adjust these to taste, or feel free to go off-book and add blood orange juice and fruit slices into your favorite cocktail recipes for a tantalizing citrusy twist.

Blood Orange Margarita

  • 1.5 oz of tequila; blanco or reposado is preferred
  • 2 oz blood orange juice
  • .75 oz of Cointreau
  • .75 oz of lime juice
  • Margarita salt or flaky sea salt for the rim
  • Blood orange slice or lime slice for garnish

Notch a slice of blood orange or lime and run it around the rim of your cocktail glass. Run the edge through a plate of margarita salt or flaky sea salt, then set the glass aside. 

Take all of your liquid ingredients and add them into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake the ingredients until the shaker is very cold and all of the liquids are well combined. Carefully strain into your cocktail glass and top with ice, then garnish with a blood orange or lime slice.

Blood Orange Mimosa

  • 2 oz of blood orange juice
  • 4 oz of prosecco
  • Splash of Cointreau

Make sure both your blood orange juice and your prosecco are chilled, and that you have a champagne flute on hand. Pour your blood orange juice into the glass, then top the glass with your prosecco. Add your splash of Cointreau and give a light stir to the glass.

Blood and Sand

  • 1 oz of blended scotch whiskey
  • 1 oz of cherry liqueur or cherry brandy
  • .5 oz of sweet vermouth
  • .5 oz of blood orange juice
  • Blood orange twist to garnish

Add all of your liquid into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake your ingredients until well combined and very cold. Strain carefully into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish your cocktail with your blood orange twist.

Blood Orange Martini

  • 2 oz of blood orange juice
  • 1.5 oz of vodka
  • .5 oz of Cointreau
  • .5 oz of lime juice
  • Splash of simple syrup
  • Splash of orange bitters
  • Slice of blood orange for garnish

Combine all of your ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Shake vigorously until the ingredients are cold, and then strain carefully into a chilled martini glass. Garnish your martini with a slice of blood orange.

Blood Orange G&T

  • 2 oz of gin
  • 2 oz of blood orange juice
  • 4 oz of tonic water
  • Blood orange slice and mint sprigs for garnish

Fill a lowball cocktail glass with ice, and then add your gin and blood orange juice. Stir until combined, then gently pour in your tonic water; you can pour over a bar spoon into your cocktail glass if you want to increase the bubbles. Stir your cocktail once lightly to combine, and then add your blood orange slice and mint sprig as garnish.

How to Serve Blood Orange Cocktails

How you serve a blood orange cocktail depends on the type of cocktail you are making. For example, martinis should be served in martini glasses, while cocktails can be served in a lowball cocktail glass or a coupe glass.

The majority of blood orange cocktails are served chilled, and most will need to be shaken in a cocktail shaker with ice to achieve the proper level of coldness. You can rim your cocktail glass with salt or sugar, depending on the cocktail you are creating. Garnishes like blood orange slices, herb leaves, or other fruit can all complete the look of your drink.

Food that pairs well with most blood orange cocktails includes hors d’oeuvres, light dinner fare, and desserts.

Unique, Fresh Blood Orange Cocktails

blood orange margaritas with sliced blood oranges and ice on black table

Blood orange juice can bring a fresh take to even the most classic of cocktails, and this citrusy, sweet, and fruity flavor profile pairs well with virtually every type of liquor. 

Add blood orange juice and garnish to your favorite cocktail recipes to add a splash of something refreshing and citrusy. Or follow one of our blood orange cocktail recipes above to try out a new drink that features this unique fruit and its pleasant flavor profile. Not a fan of orange cocktails? Try our green cocktail recipes or other sweet cocktails.

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