Blood Orange Juice Does Wonders For A Classic Daiquiri

When you think of the word "daiquiri," you probably picture a frozen drink made with rum and flavored with fruits such as banana and strawberry. A favorite of beachside bars and tropical resorts, frozen daiquiris are practically synonymous with summer vacations with its sweet and fruity flavors mixed with crushed ice designed to keep the drink cold in the sun. While they are undoubtedly delicious and refreshing, these alcoholic slushies have almost nothing to do with the original.

The classic daiquiri, unlike its frozen counterpart, is a simple cocktail made with lime juice, rum, and sugar. Invented by an American engineer in Cuba over a century ago, the classic daiquiri is a drink that combines the sweetness of rum and sugar and the tartness of lime juice. While fantastic as it is, when you add blood orange juice to the mix, its intense and bittersweet citrus flavors will take the daiquiri to a new level.

How to make a blood orange daiquiri

On the outside, a blood orange looks about the same as any other oranges you can find in the supermarket. However, the flesh of blood orange is deep red, hence the name. They are grown in warm and temperate climates, with California and Florida being significant producers of the fruit alongside other citrus crops. The taste of blood orange is described as more tart and floral than other varieties of oranges, and some have compared it to the taste of an orange mixed with a raspberry. They are also sweeter than regular oranges. When juiced, blood orange juice has a deep red hue. 

Blood orange juice is a fantastic companion to rum and lime because its floral sweetness and intense citrus notes complement the lime's acidity and the dry sweetness of quality rum. To create a classic daiquiri with blood orange juice, you need several blood oranges, powdered sugar or simple syrup, lime juice, and a dry white rum. Cut and juice the blood orange, and pass the liquid through a strainer to remove flesh and seeds. Add the juice to a cold ice-filled shaker with lime juice, rum, and sugar or syrup. Since blood orange juice is pretty sweet, you can cut the amount of sugar or syrup used by half. Shake till ice cold and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a round of dehydrated blood orange or a wedge of lime.

Other ways to enjoy blood oranges in cocktails

Aside from a riff of the classic daiquiri, blood orange juice can be featured in various cocktails, either as a supplemental ingredient or as a replacement. For instance, blood orange juice and zest can be made into a syrup, which can replace regular simple syrup in cocktails to give your cocktail a dash of intense citrus sweetness. To create the syrup, zest several blood oranges, and mix them with blood orange juice and sugar in an acid-friendly nonreactive pot over medium-low heat. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved and strain to remove the orange zest before storing it in the fridge. You can use blood orange syrup to enhance your margarita, adding extra citrus notes to an already citrus-dominant cocktail. The floral character of blood orange syrup can also be used to elevate the herbal qualities in gin, especially when mixed with lemon juice.

Meanwhile, the intense color of the blood orange also makes it an attractive cocktail garnish, especially when dehydrated to intensify its color. To make these beautiful blood orange rounds, place thinly sliced blood orange rounds on a baking sheet. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and other powdered spices together and sprinkle the mixture on the orange slices. Place the slices in an oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit until the oranges are thoroughly dehydrated. Float them on top of cocktails as a garnish, or enjoy them as healthy fruit snacks on their own.