Making a gorgeous and tasty cocktail full of layered flavors doesn’t get easier than this blood orange bourbon smash. The only hard part might be getting your hands on the blood oranges! But they are in season now, so get to your market and pick up a few.
It’s probably no secret that I like using bourbon in recipes. I add it to my Apple Pie. I splash it into my Banana Bread. And of course, I use it in my cocktails, like my Peach and Bourbon Frozen Cocktail and my Hot Apple Pie Bourbon Cocktail. So, while I was thinking about what my next cocktail should be, my mind naturally went to bourbon, which then led to the realization that I had yet to develop a bourbon smash recipe. There will be more, don’t worry about that, but for my first one I decided blood oranges were the way to go.
First, they are in season right now. Second, they are so pretty! Third, I always walk by the blood oranges thinking what do I do with these, and now I have something to do with them. It’s one of my goals in life to have an awesome recipe for every single type of produce I see at the store. Not that I only want one, more recipes are better, but at least one, so blood oranges are now marked off my to-do list.
My daughter wouldn’t even try a slice of blood orange when I was cutting them up. Maybe it’s the name? 🙂 But don’t let that stop you. They unsurprisingly taste a lot like the oranges you’re used to. Maybe they are a little sweeter, maybe a little more bitter, but with your eyes closed they are recognizably oranges. Though why would you want to close your eyes? Then you can’t see the gorgeous color! And it’s that gorgeous color which makes this drink so much fun.
While the blood oranges and the bourbon are the stars of the show here, the supporting players are important too, to round out the flavors. I knew the drink needed a little sweetness, and for orange juice and bourbon the best sweetener to my mind is maple syrup. Maple syrup is a beautiful sweetener with any sort of fruit, and it brings in so many of the same flavors you get in bourbon – caramel, vanilla, a subtle smokiness, that I knew it would be perfect. Then the drink needed some zest, and mint was there to provide. A few leaves muddled into the shaker is all you need. Next up is a zing from a sharper citrus, which is where the lime comes in. Now it was almost perfect! It just needed a little something more! That something is bitters. Only a few drops, but they make a difference. And now you have the perfect blood orange bourbon smash. 🙂
– Happy Drinking, Annemarie
- 4 mint leaves
- 3 oz bourbon
- 3 oz blood orange juice, 2-3 blood oranges
- 1 oz maple syrup
- 8 drops Angostura bitters
- crushed ice
- 2 lime wedges
- 4 oz soda water, optional
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle mint leaves. Then add some ice cubes, bourbon, blood orange juice, maple syrup, and bitters. Shake well.
- Fill two glasses half way with crushed ice. Divide the bourbon mixture between them. Squeeze a lime wedge into each glass. Top with soda water if desired.