Blood Orange Syrup
Syrup is an important part in many cocktails and mocktails, serving as a forward flavor and adding texture to the drink. One of the most unique and underrated syrups is blood orange syrup for cocktails. It’s just what it sounds – a syrup made from blood oranges – and it’s absolutely to die for.
Let’s talk a little more about the components of blood orange syrup, how you can use it in your at-home bartending practice, and how to make it.
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What are Blood Oranges?
First off, what the heck are blood oranges? Where do they come from? Admittedly, a blood orange sounds a little intense, perhaps even gory, but I promise it’s nothing more than a delicious fruit. Sometimes called a raspberry orange, a blood orange is an orange varietal. It gets its funny name from the color of its flesh – it’s dark red, very much resembling blood.
Unlike blood, however, blood oranges are meant for human consumption, and they taste great. Their flesh has the same texture as a standard orange, and the taste is sweet like an orange, except it has some other fruity notes, like grapefruit or cherry.
Blood oranges are not nearly as common in the United States as standard oranges, but they’re not impossible to find. They’re in season at different times of the year depending on where they’re grown in the U.S. – December to March if grown in Texas and November to May if grown in California – but because of different climates across the world, you can find blood oranges year-round in the right country.
Blood oranges have been around for centuries. Many people believe they come from the Mediterranean, but their exact origins are not known. The fruit can be used in place of a standard orange for just about any recipe, but our focus today is on blood orange syrup.
What is a cocktail syrup?
With all this talk about cocktail syrups, you might be wondering what the heck it is, especially if you’re new to bartending. When talking about syrup, bartenders are referring to simple syrup, which, in its most basic form, is equal parts sugar and water, simmered until congealed to form a syrup.
Many cocktail recipes call for syrup, but you’ll often find that they call for a specific flavor, like pomegranate or vanilla. Flavored simple syrups are made by infusing the chosen flavor into the sugar and water mixture, and just about any flavor can be used to make a simple syrup. In this case, it’s blood orange.
How to Juice Blood Oranges
To make your blood orange simple syrup, you first need to have blood orange juice. While you could purchase pre-made blood orange juice, it can be awfully hard to find, and it more than likely has lots of added sugar, which is totally unnecessary when you’re already using ample sugar in the syrup recipe. Plus, the syrup will taste much better with fresh juice.
There are several ways to make blood orange juice, and they’re all super easy. Just be sure to juice your oranges into a separate bowl or cup so you can strain the juice with a fine-mesh sieve before pouring into your sugar and water mixture. Here are some ways to juice a blood orange:
- Hand juice: There are several tools you can use to juice oranges (which we’ll get to momentarily), but long before we had those tools, people just used their hands, and that’s still a great option. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze as much juice as possible, using the gaps between your fingers as a sieve of sorts to catch rogue pulp or seeds.
- Citrus juicer: Lots of people prefer a citrus juicer to their hands as the tool usually yields more juice than just your hands. If you have one, cut your fruit in half, place the fruit flesh-side down into the juicer, and squeeze.
- Blender: You can also use a blender to juice your blood orange. Separate the flesh from the peel and pulse your blender until you have a juice. Make sure you don’t skip the straining step if you use a blender, though.
- Electric juicer: Another method is an electric juicer. Follow the directions of your juicer and use whatever you yield for your syrup.
Ways to Use the Blood Orange Syrup
Once you have your syrup, the options for use are unlimited. Here are some examples:
- Cocktails: Use your blood orange syrup for a variety of cocktails. Whether you’re putting a spin on a classic cocktail, creating something new, or simply mixing the syrup with soda, blood orange syrup will instantly elevate any alcoholic drink.
- Mocktails: If you can use blood orange syrup in an alcoholic drink, you can use it in a non-alcoholic drink, too. Simply substitute the alcoholic ingredients and you have a tasty blood orange mocktail.
- Desserts: Plenty of dessert recipes call for syrup, but it can be a topping instead of an ingredient if you’d like. Pour it over angel food cake or ice cream for a sweet after-dinner bite.
To make a syrup, all you need are a sweetener and water. Here are a few sweetener options:
- White sugar
- Raw sugar
- Sugar alternatives such as Splenda or Stevia
- Brown sugar
How to Store the Syrup
Depending on what you plan to use your syrup for, you’ll likely have some leftovers. Don’t let it go to waste, though – it can easily be stored for future use. Here’s how:
- Refrigerate it: Place your blood orange syrup in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. I usually store min in small mason jars.
- Store it at room temperature: Use mason jars or a syrup car with a cork or swing top to store your syrup at room temperature. Note, though, that it won’t last as long at room temperature as it will in the fridge.
- Freeze it: You can also freeze your syrup for future use. Place it in a freezer-safe container like this one and keep it for months.
There are several other ways you can use and store this blood orange syrup for cocktails. No matter how you use it, enjoy!
Looking for more blood orange recipes? Try this or this Blood Orange Whiskey Smash.
If you can’t find blood oranges in season you can buy blood orange juice from Natalies Island Juice.
Blood Orange Syrup Recipe for Cocktails
Blood orange syrup
- 1 hand juicer
- 1 saucepan
- 1 measuring cups
- 1 cup fresh blood orange juice
- 1 cup sugar
- Cut and juice the blood oranges (about 5-6)
- Strain out any pulp or seeds
- Add to a saucepan and bring to a medium heat
- Stir until sugar dissolves
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes
- Store in an airtight container
- Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks