Blood Orange Margarita with Bitters

by on March 15, 2013

Refreshing Blood Orange Margarita Recipe via White On Rice Couple

Just as Diane has her prop collecting obsession, I have my own vice. Well, more like a double vice since most toss drinking into that classification. I am mildly bedeviled by making cocktails.

There is something exquisitely alluring in what has become a combination of ritual and swagger. A little James Bond, a dash of Esquire, and a jigger of Hemingway done up over ice. It may be a vice, but it is a savvy one for a man to have.

As far as my own style and ritual to cocktails, I aim to take care of the details without getting crazy about it. I care not about the newest and funkiest cocktail creations. Give me the classics added with a few sensible modern twists. I’m not going to infuse a batch of simple syrup with lavender or smoke for a cocktail I may make when the full moon happens to land on a Tuesday. But I do want someone to have one of our margaritas, sours or Sidecars, take a sip without any sense of great expectations, and then stop and stare in appreciation.

Refreshing Blood Orange Margarita Recipe via White On Rice Couple

I want you to have one of my cocktails and be ruined for life knowing that unless you are somewhere that truly cares about its cocktails, you’ll never have another cocktail of that kind quite as good. Sometimes, nowhere near as good.

There is nothing secret or special about how I make cocktails. Like I said, I just take care of the details. Never being fully satisfied or full of my own knowledge, I am always learning or trying to be better at the things I love. Two years ago, I thought I made a mean blood orange margarita, as any guest to the house would concur, but compared to what I make today, they are not even in the same league. How is it better? The little details.

Refreshing Blood Orange Margarita Recipe via White On Rice Couple

My biggest leap in cocktail making came after reading the book, Bitters. Once I started using bitters regularly in cocktails, any cocktail made without them seemed to lack depth. Combine that with using garden fresh citrus, now we’ve got a cocktail to light up the eyes.

The garden fresh citrus isn’t just for the romantic notion that homegrown it better. ‘Cause face it, sometimes homegrown is better, and other times “not so much”. Oh no, homegrown citrus is all about the oils in the rind. There are amazing flavor in those oils, however it unfortunately doesn’t take long after picking for those oils in the zest to be lost forever. But if you can get the fruit shortly after being plucked from the tree… Baby!  After squeezing them, the oils release to the surface and completely saturate the outside of the rind. It is just one of those little details.

Refreshing Blood Orange Margarita Recipe via White On Rice Couple

Other little details I do?  Freezing my glasses. There is a shelf in our freezer solely dedicated to chilling a variety of cocktail glasses. A great cocktail should be very well chilled, and a frosty glass is ever so helpful. And I’m a little nutty about my ice. Between the three different sized round ice cube molds, two different square silicone ice cube molds, and the f*^&-ing swankest thing ever, a tray that makes clear ice blocks, I am obsessive with my ice. Its sexy and is has a star role in a good cocktail. Forget the swirly garnish to be tossed out of the way, give me a crackin’ piece of ice.

Refreshing Blood Orange Margarita Recipe via White On Rice Couple

Finally, finish the cocktail in a glass that has some character. Whether that is from an old-fashioned glass made from recycled glass  to a throwback champagne bowl, serve up that proper cocktail in a glass worthy. While Diane is scrounging the thrift shops and antique stores for bowls and boards, I’m hunting for cool cocktail glasses. Don’t tell Diane but I’m hunting for the boards too, they’re swank.

That’s it. A little obsessive, but hopefully haven’t crossed the line to crazy. Bitters, good fruit, ice, and glass. The details to a great cocktail without pushing the line into becoming a “mixologist”.

Here’s my re-make on our previous blood orange margarita after discovering the magic of bitters. We use a homemade tangerine bitter, but just about any orange bitters on the market are a great addition the the cocktail shaker’s concoctions.


More Blood Orange Recipes: Luscious Blood Orange Bars Lime Margarita with Bitters and classic Blood Orange Margarita

Blood Orange Margarita with Bitters

Yield: 2 cocktails

Total Time: 5 min

See the post for more cocktail details. Make sure to get the freshest blood oranges you can, and toss a rind or two into the shaker when mixing. To make simple syrup heat an equal amount of sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves completely. Store in the fridge for up to a month. Depending on the sweetness of the blood orange juice, you may need to slightly adjust the amount of simple syrup in the margarita recipe.


  • 4 oz. (120ml) fresh Blood Orange Juice
  • 2 oz. (60ml) Resposada or Anejo Tequila
  • 3/4 oz. (22ml) Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz. (15ml) fresh Lime Juice
  • few dashes Orange Bitters
  • Kosher or Sea Salt for rimming the glass


  1. Rub the rim of two old fashioned glasses (or whatever glass you prefer) with an edge of a blood orange wedge or leftover rind. Swirl the rims through a small pile of kosher or sea salt to salt them. Add one or two large cubes into the glasses.
  2. Combine blood orange juice, tequila, simple syrup, lime juice, and bitters in an ice filled shaker. Add a left over rind or two from the blood oranges.
  3. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, then strain into the salted glasses. Serve or drink immediately and with leisure.
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Averie @ Averie Cooks March 15, 2013 at 12:22 am

Omg I would LOVE to have one of these…like right now while I’m editing pics would be good :)

The flavor – bitters, the anejo tequilla, lime, homegrown blood oranges, truly stunning! Pinning!


2 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar March 15, 2013 at 5:15 am

This is plain and simply lovely! Yum!


3 LisaR @ Who Stole My Baby? March 15, 2013 at 6:45 am

My husband is the master of anything liquid in our house. He will be ALL OVER THIS like white on…well, you know.


4 JulieD March 15, 2013 at 7:15 am

I can’t wait to try my hand at this, thanks, Todd!


5 Abbe@This is How I Cook March 15, 2013 at 7:57 am

Where is my invitation? It’s only 9am and I am ready!


6 jeremy March 15, 2013 at 8:14 am

Fantastic post. Oh – and do not, under any circumstances, forget the shaker face.


7 deeba March 15, 2013 at 8:31 am

Gorgeous. I have some bitter oranges that are nearly ripe. What a neat and pretty idea. I do love your attention to detail …nice!


8 Eliza B March 15, 2013 at 9:53 am

This looks wonderful. And a bright way to drink during the winter. By the way, those orange trees look magnificent.


9 Kelly March 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Simply gorgeous and I bet tastes amazing! :)


10 marcie@flavorthemoments March 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

That looks delicious! It’s really wrong…it’s Friday night and I don’t have one of those!


11 Nicole (FoodBlogLife) March 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Stunning! Great post. :)


12 Skipper March 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Must concur on that Bitters book. Up here in Alaska, our fresh citrus ain’t much to write home about, but a good homemade bitters can cover a multitude of sins. Just finished making a batch of Agent Clementine, and the blood oranges just came up on the weekly barge, so I’ll be diving into this margarita recipe without a snorkel. Thanks.


13 dervla @ The Curator March 15, 2013 at 9:13 pm

i cannot believe you have a shelf in your freezer just for chilled cocktail glasses! Can’t wait to meet you guys over a cocktail at some point soon :)


14 White on Rice Couple March 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm

We can’t wait to get you out here to treat you to the garden goodness. Cocktails included!


15 Not only Sugar March 18, 2013 at 3:26 am

Very red.. Beautiful!!!

Not Only Sugar


16 Angie @ Big Bear's Wife March 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

When I first turned 21 I was a local bartender, but the extent it was opening bottles, making margaritas and LITS. Our bar wasn’t quite as upscale as I would have liked haha. These look beautiful!


17 Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence March 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Mmm these look so refreshing. I had a bitters phase last year, but I haven’t been using them as much this year. I need to get back on that!


18 margaret March 23, 2013 at 5:07 am

thanks for an awesome recipe. Made these last night and they were delicious!!! We used ‘Moro’ variety of blood oranges – intense red color!


19 Sandy April 9, 2013 at 5:57 am

simply stunning!


20 Thomas Naef September 2, 2014 at 11:32 am

Well, this is simply LOVELY.


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