Blood Orange Margarita with Bitters
Here’s a blood orange margarita cocktail recipe version with bitters. Give it a try, it’s worth every sip.
Blood Orange margarita cocktail
Just as Diane has her prop collecting obsession, I have my own vice. 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 don’t care much about the newest and funkiest cocktail creations. Give me the classics added with a few sensible modern twists. At home 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 paper planes, take a sip without any sense of great expectations, and then stop and stare in appreciation.
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, particularly this Blood Orange Margarita Cocktail. 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. 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.
My biggest leap in cocktail making came after reading the book, Bitters. Once I started using bitters regularly in cocktails, so many cocktails 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”. But for citrus it 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 taste the fruit just 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.
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 different sized and shaped ice cube molds, japanese ice pick, and the f*^&-ing swankest thing ever, a tray that makes clear ice, 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.
Finally, finish the Blood Orange Margarita 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. Hope you enjoy this Blood Orange Margarita Cocktail !
This recipe was originally published in 2013 and re-published in 2020 with updated photos.
Blood Orange Margarita with Bitters
- 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 salt to salt them. Add one or two large cubes into the glasses.
- 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.
- Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, then strain into the salted glasses. Serve or drink immediately and with leisure.