What Is Fluffy Orange Juice And How Does It Taste Different?

Not to be confused with the 1980s fuzzy navel, fluffy orange juice is the non-alcoholic mixer that breathed life back into the dated citrus. Since World War II, young Americans have credited the Screwdriver (orange juice and vodka) as their introduction to mixed drinks. Still, mixologists have moved on from the sweet fruit, relying on other citrus like grapefruit, lemon, and lime to bring acidity to their creations.

That all changed when Dante, a landmark bar in New York City, put a new twist on Italy's famous Garibaldi cocktail. Traditionally made with two ingredients, Campari and orange juice, Dante transformed the Garibaldi by freshly juicing oranges to create a frothy or fluffy version of the pulp-free juice.

Dante uses a Breville juicer to extract the juice from the oranges. The high-speed centrifugal juicer forces air into the liquid, changing its texture. As the orange juice aerates, it develops a frothy head that gives it body. Although some of the orange's pith is left on the fruit during juicing, it remains a sweet addition to any citrus cocktail.

How to make fluffy orange juice

Although Dante is now on both coasts, you don't need to be a barfly to recreate fluffy orange juice at home. This creamy version of the OG (or OJ) will elevate classic cocktails with its velvety texture. 

If you juice at home with a high-speed centrifugal juicer or have purchased one freshly made, you are familiar with the foamy, airy texture created by the powerful machine. However, if you have a cold-press juicer or none at all, home mixologists can replicate its fluffiness using a good blender. 

Fluffy orange juice should be freshly squeezed, so whether you're lucky enough to have citrus growing in your backyard or purchase some from your favorite juice bar, you need to start with quality, freshly pressed, or squeezed juice.

When using a high-speed centrifugal juicer, peel the oranges first, but leave some of the pith on to balance the natural sweetness of the fruit. The pith is the white, fibrous membrane that separates the fruit segments from the peel. Juicing the fruit with the spongy pith also adds density to the juice. It is bitter, so avoid leaving too much on unless you are looking for that flavor profile. If you don't have a juicer, place freshly squeezed juice in a high-speed blender and whiz it on high until frothy. 

Fluffy orange juice recipes

You can alter the juice's color and sweetness by varying the type of oranges used. Naval oranges are traditionally used for juice since they yield a lot and are very sweet. Valencia are more balanced, offering a sweet and tart taste, while blood oranges have the most stunning color and deliver a more bitter flavor than either option.

Aside from a Screwdriver and the Garibaldi, other delicious citrus cocktails would benefit from an upgrade with the addition of fluffy orange juice. Use the silky juice in another 1980's cocktail, the tropical Painkiller. Blend Pusser's rum with cream of coconut, pineapple, and fluffy orange juice to be transported to the Virgin Islands.

Transform a subpar bottle of wine into Spanish sangria with fluffy orange juice. Combine red or white wine with brandy and fluffy orange juice in a large pitcher. Add a few tablespoons of sugar if the juice isn't sweet enough. Fill the pitcher with cut fruit and berries, and garnish each glass with an orange wheel.

When the weather is warm, Aperol is replaced with Campari in a new version of the popular spritz. To balance Campari's bitterness, add fluffy orange juice and sparkling wine like Prosecco to keep it on brand. Or forget the Campari and just pour orange juice and Prosecco in a champagne flute for a modern mimosa.