17 February 2010

Orange Margaritas

I love blood oranges. Can I tell the difference between the flavor in a blind tasting? I don't know, I've never tried. But I always think of them as having a deeper, more robust flavor than the regular old navel oranges we eat on a regular basis. And blood oranges produce a particularly beautiful juice. You can buy it bottled sometimes, but as with any other citrus fruit it's always best when freshly squeezed. Naturally I used my cast aluminum exprimidor for this.

Benito's Blood Orange Margarita
2 parts Fresh-squeezed Blood Orange Juice
2 parts Tequila
1 part Cointreau
Dash of Lime Juice

Estimate about one big blood orange per person. Juice the oranges into a measuring cup and then add that amount again in tequila, and half that amount for the Cointreau. Combine in a shaker with ice and strain to serve. I like it on the rocks so the drink mellows over time. If you're making a lot, mix the ingredients in a pitcher, then pour over ice or shake individual cocktails as needed. If you just leave ice in it the whole thing will just get watered down.

Now, this will be on the tart side, which is the way I like it. The Cointreau has enough sugar to blunt some of the tartness, but some may desire additional sweetness. Feel free to use sugar or simple syrup. The latter is useful because it can be added by the individual drinker to his or her desired sweetness.

Here's another example using regular oranges and a cheaper liqueur:

Margarita de Naranja al Benito
2 parts Orange Juice
2 parts Tequila
1 part Orange Liqueur
Dash of Lime Juice

Orange liqueurs come in two main types: clear, made with neutral spirits (Cointreau, Triple Sec, etc.), and dark, made with brandy or Cognac. Here I used DeKuyper Orange Curaçao, from the dark category. The brandy sort of smooths the edges off the citrus, resulting in a rounder, less tart beverage. Again, if you prefer things on the sweeter side add sugar or simple syrup. Or agave syrup if you want to be all organic about it. Too strong or you just want to stretch it out? I love adding in sparkling water or club soda, particularly when it's blazing hot outside.

Yes, you could throw all this together in a blender with some ice and get a frozen margarita. But I think that doing so really waters down the beverage, and makes it too cold to properly appreciate the various flavors. If I'm drinking a cocktail, it's not for the purposes of getting drunk: I want to enjoy the flavors of the discrete ingredients combined in a proper fashion to produce a work that is greater than the sum of its parts. Turning a cocktail into an adult squishy defeats the purpose.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

Ciao, Benito! I'm re-entering the world, after moving houses and changing work.

Have you ever blood oranges here that taste like the ones in Italy? I never have. Would love to know if you know when/where to get them.