Valentine’s Day just begs to be celebrated with something red and bubbly, right?
Enter one of my favorite cocktails—the classic French 75—but instead of using lemon juice, we infuse the drink with something to make it brilliant pinkish red—blood orange.
So pretty! And just as lovely to drink as the original, if not more so.
The classic French 75 is light and refreshing, and packs a little kick with gin. First on the scene a hundred years ago, it’s made with lemon juice, gin, sugar, and sparkling white wine.
One of the things that makes a French 75 work so well is the interplay of tart citrus with the gin, champagne, and simple syrup. Since we are swapping out the lemon juice in the classic recipe with blood orange, and blood oranges are more sweet than tart, I add a little lime juice to bring the drink more into a proper balance.
A few notes on the recipe. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can use any sealable container, even a quart sized mason jar. I used a wide-mouthed plastic sports water bottle as my shaker.
Blood oranges tend to be rather pulpy, so it’s a good idea to strain the juice at least once.
For extra flavor, put a few strips of blood orange zest into the simple syrup once it comes to a boil.
Blood Orange French 75 Cocktail Recipe
To make a twist of zest, use a vegetable peeler to peel a long strip of zest from the blood orange. Cut it into thin strips with a sharp knife. Twist it into a curly shape and hold it that way for a few seconds.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) freshly juiced blood orange juice, strained
- 1/2 tablespoon (1/4 ounce) lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) simple syrup*
- 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) gin
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) champagne, prosecco, or other sparkling white wine
- A twist of blood orange zest
*To make simple syrup, put equal parts of sugar and water into a small saucepan. (I usually make syrup with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, and store the excess for other uses.) Bring to a rolling boil. If you have a few strips of blood orange zest, add them to the water for extra flavor. When the sugar has all dissolved in the water, remove from heat and let cool. Remove the zest. Pour into a mason jar and store in the fridge.
1 Place the blood orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and gin into a cocktail shaker (or something that can be used as a cocktail shaker) with a few ice cubes.
2 Shake to mix well and strain, pouring into a champagne flute.
3 Top with champagne, Prosecco, or sparkling white wine.
4 Add a twist of blood orange zest to the glass.
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