Spring is peeking through the winter gloom here, with the first daffodils setting up shop in the park and some delightfully mild temperatures here and there. So I’m going to enjoy the last of citrus season while I still can. I love blood oranges, and was thrilled to see “oranges sanguines” at some of the vendor stands at the marché. Yes, I try to buy local produce, but I’ll make some exceptions for seasonal produce that comes from relatively nearby in Italy or Spain. (Isn’t living in Europe the best?!) The first thing I did was to squeeze myself a small glass of fresh blood orange juice—so vibrant, tasty, and restorative. The second? Blood Orange Margaritas of course! Maybe not as restorative but damn delicious.
Traditional lime margaritas have always been a favorite of mine (on the rocks, with salt please), but I think I might like this blood orange variety even more. You can make them just by replacing lime juice with freshly squeezed blood orange juice in your go-to margarita recipe, or use a combination of the two juices. Either way, they are fantastic, and you won’t find a prettier drink. In addition, you can serve these blood orange margaritas on the rocks, straight up, or even in a pitcher for a party. Read on to find out more.
What is a Blood Orange?
Blood oranges are a type of orange with a reddish flesh on the inside. The red-colored flesh comes from anthocyanins, which are pigments found often in flowers and berries, but rarely in citrus. Blood oranges have a slightly different flavor than regular oranges. They taste a bit like oranges crossed with raspberries or tart cherries. There are three main varieties of blood oranges. Moro blood oranges, originating in Sicily, have deep red colored flesh with a strong flavor and some bitter notes. Moros are the most commonly found variety in the United States. Tarocco blood oranges have flesh that is not as red as other varieties, but are generally known as the sweetest blood orange. Finally, the Sanguinello blood orange, originating in Spain, lands somewhere between the other two varieties in sweetness and amount of pigmentation. This is the type I’ve found here in France.
Blood Orange Benefits
Blood oranges are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber, and also contain folate and potassium. In addition, those anthocyanins that give the blood orange its stunning color are also cancer-fighting antioxidants. So drink up!
When is Blood Orange Season?
In the Northern Hemisphere, blood oranges usually ripen in February, and can be harvested until April. In the United States, blood oranges are grown in Texas, Arizona, Florida, and California, where they are in season throughout the winter and early spring.
What’s in a Blood Orange Margarita?
A Blood Orange Margarita is very similar to a traditional margarita, replacing the lime juice (or some of the lime juice) with blood orange juice instead. Other traditional ingredients include tequila and triple sec.
How Do You Make a Blood Orange Margarita?
Begin by juicing your citrus. For 2 servings, you’ll need 2 ounces of blood orange juice (about 1 blood orange) and 1.5 ounces of lime juice (about 1.5 limes).
Next, prepare your cocktail glasses. Chill them by filling with ice and shaking with your hand on top of the glass before then discarding the ice. Then, if you like to drink your margaritas with salt on the rim, combine a couple of teaspoons of kosher salt with a teaspoon of pimente d’espelette in a saucer wider than your glass. You don’t need to be exact with the measurements. You can choose to leave out the pimente d’espelette, but I think its tiny bit of spice is a nice touch.
Then run a wedge of orange around the rim of your glasses, and dip the rims into the mixture.
Fill glasses with ice. To prepare the margaritas, combine 3 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce of triple sec, 2 ounces of blood orange juice, and 1.5 ounces of lime juice in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake well so that the liquid becomes quite cold, then strain into two prepared glasses. Serve each with a wedge of blood orange.
This blood orange margarita recipe is flexible and can be adapted to your liking. Depending on the sweetness of your blood oranges, you may want to add or subtract lime juice. For an even sweeter cocktail, you can add agave syrup or simple syrup to the mixture.
Note: If you’d prefer to serve your cocktail straight up (without ice), make sure you shake for at least 15-30 seconds so that it is quite cold. Also, note that you may need to double the recipe to fill a cocktail glass without the ice.
Making Blood Orange Margaritas for a Crowd
If you want to make blood orange margaritas for a crowd, I hope you have an electric juicer handy. If you do, just triple or quadruple the blood orange recipe ingredients as needed for the number of people you want to serve. To make in advance, combine ingredients in a large pitcher, and refrigerate until chilled. When guests arrive, prepare glasses as above and serve.
What is triple sec?
Triple sec is an orange-flavored liqueur, made from dried orange peels. The most common brand is probably Cointreau, though Grand Marnier is another very similar orange liqueur. Triple sec was invented in France in the 1800s, and is a popular cocktail ingredient. Besides margaritas, you can also find triple sec in recipes for sangria, Cosmopolitans, Sidecars, and Long Island Iced Tea, among others.
What is the best tequila for margaritas?
Look for tequilas that are 100% agave, as these are the highest quality and have the best flavor. Tequila ages in oak barrels as it matures. I recommend using a silver or blanco tequila in your margaritas. Silver tequila has a strong, pure flavor and clear color, as it has only been aging in barrels for up to two months.
Gold tequila, on the other hand, develops a golden color and oaky flavor as it ages longer. A reposado tequila ages between 2 months and a year, which lends it a smoother flavor than most silver tequilas. It also works for a margarita, though you may not want to mix its golden color with your lime juice in a traditional margarita. Gold tequilas aged over one year (añejo and extra añejo) are quite expensive. These are made to be sipped neat, without accompaniments and not as part of a mixed drink.
Looking for other fun drink recipes? Don’t miss my favorite cocktail ever, the Hanky Panky. Still chilly out? How about this Vin Chaud. Or if the weather is heating up, make yourself a batch of this White Wine Sangria with Strawberries and enjoy.
Need some recipe ideas for appetizers to serve with your margaritas? Here are a few of my favorites:
- Old Bay Shrimp with Dipping Sauce
- Blue Cheese and Pecan Endive Appetizer
- Buffalo Cauliflower Dip with Fresh Herbs
- Baked Brie with Fig Jam
- Smoked Salmon Potato Chips with Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Charred Tomatillo and Red Onion Guacamole
- Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad with Paprika Toasts
- 3 oz tequila
- 1 oz triple sec
- 2 oz blood orange juice
- 1.5 oz lime juice
- Kosher salt, if desired
- Pimente d’espelette, if desired
- Blood orange wedges for garnish and for salting glasses
- Begin by juicing your citrus. One juicy blood orange will generally yield about 2 ounces of juice. One lime will generally yield about 1 ounce of juice.
- Next, prepare two cocktail glasses. Chill them by filling with ice and shaking with your hand on top of the glass before then discarding the ice.
- If you like to drink your margaritas with salt on the rim, combine a couple of teaspoons of kosher salt with a teaspoon of pimente d’espelette in a saucer wider than your glass. You don’t need to be exact with the measurements.
- Then run a wedge of orange around the rims of your glasses, and dip the rims into the mixture.
- Fill glasses with ice.
- To prepare the margaritas, combine tequila, triple sec, blood orange juice, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker over ice.
- Shake well so that the liquid becomes quite cold, then strain into prepared glasses.
- Serve each with a wedge of blood orange.
If you’d prefer to serve your cocktail straight up (without ice), make sure you shake for at least 15-30 seconds so that it is quite cold. Also, note that you may need to double the recipe to fill cocktail glasses without the ice. For a crowd, multiply the ingredients according to the number of people you want to serve and combine the tequila, triple sec, blood orange juice, and lime juice in a large pitcher. Refrigerator until ready to use, then prepare glasses as above and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 248Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 365mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 27gProtein: 1g