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The Storm Cocktail

The Storm Cocktail

The Storm Cocktail is my homage to X-Men, which is the focus of this month’s Fandom Foodies.  So here’s the long story of how I came to be inspired this month to make The Storm Cocktail.  First off, this cocktail is inspired by the X-Men character, Storm.  So you might wonder, why Storm?  (Ok, you might not wonder, but I’m going to tell you anyway, which is where the long story comes into it).

Many years ago, I lived in Colorado.  I actually grew up in Lakewood, Colorado, but spent a lot of time as a young adult in Denver (going to college, working, hanging out).  One of my favorite places to go was Café Euphrates.  I’m pretty sure that Café Euphrates was on Pearl Street, so it wasn’t too far away from my alma mater, the University of Denver.  I’d go there to hang out with my ex and one of his friends.  The place served the best hummus I’ve ever had and absolutely lovely coffee.  I was still in my mocha phase, so I know that I drank probably several hundred mint mochas at Café Euphrates.  But my absolute favorite part of going here was the X-Men Arcade game that was in the back corner.

Prior to Café Euphrates, I’d never played much in the way of arcade video games.  I played some Pac Man and loved some really rudimentary computer games.  However, growing up, there was no Nintendo, no Atari – none of that. I don’t think I was actually all that interested, which was probably a big part of why this never entered into my life.  But for some reason, I loved X-Men.  And I always, always, played Storm.  If you’ve ever listened to the song “This Tornado Loves You” by Neko Case, you’ll get it.  I’ve always taken some pride in a stormy personality.  Storm was, by my estimation, powerful and perfect.  If I had a super mutant power, I’d want hers.

I can’t remember the last time I went to Café Euphrates. I grew up, moved far away, moved closer and then moved further away again.  I didn’t think much about this place and time at all, except as I started to think about what I would do for X-Men for Fandom Foodies and it all came back in a beautiful rush.  I’m ok being my older self, but I have a lot of fondness for that young woman, who was optimistic but moody, reserved but with lots of big dreams.  I think that time period might have been the first time in my life when I started to really appreciate my nerdy side and stopped trying so hard to fit in with everyone else.

So the storm cocktail is my homage to my favorite arcade hero.  I haven’t gotten much into the X-Men movies (though I do think Hale Berry rocks in the role).  I do think every time I drink this cocktail this summer, I’ll think about that younger self and smile.

The Storm Cocktail

The Storm Cocktail

The Storm Cocktail

The Storm Cocktail

The Storm Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 2 ounces coconut milk
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce blue curacao

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into cocktail glass with more ice. Enjoy!
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This post is linked up to March’s Fandom Foodies hosted by Heather at Food ‘n Flix.  Check out the Fandom Foodies page for a schedule of all the great inspiration for this year!

Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

Can we all do a collective sigh of relief that it’s Friday and there’s time for creating the perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic?  My week started off with snow.  That’s right – snow, again, in Oregon, in March.  I usually spend one or two days each month around the Oregon capital in Salem, and I’ve been waiting and waiting for the daffodils around the capital mall to open.  I’d been so hopeful that they’d be blooming already, but no – they look as discouraged by the weather as I’ve been.  Instead, I had to tromp through the slush and snow to get to the office I work at when I’m in Salem, getting my feet wet and my shoes muddy.  Not to mention, it was also snowing in Portland as I was getting ready to leave on Monday morning.  Giant flakes of snow kept attacking me and the dog when I went out with her before I left.  Not fun.

It’s no wonder I’ve been increasingly leaning toward drinking white wine and making fruity, happy, summer cocktails.  I figure if I spend enough time pretending it’s summer, it will get here faster, right?  Yeah – so far, no luck.  I guess in the meantime, I will stay inside where it’s warm and dry, curl up on the couch and snuggle with Daisy (our dog).  I’ll also make up a Spanish G&T or two.

Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

The great thing about creating a perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic (as compared to a regular gin and tonic), is that you can use all sorts of pretty aromatics in it.  I like the variety rather than having to dig around in the fridge each time to see if I have a stray lime hanging around.  For this particular G&T, I used a combination of satsuma mandarin orange peel, cardamom seed pods, juniper seed pods, and whole peppercorns.  I also through in a dash of grapefruit bitters, which are my new most favorite item in my liquor cabinet.  You can mix up the aromatics: fresh herbs are wonderful in a Spanish G&T – I love throwing in fresh rosemary, but lemon thyme works well, too, as would regular thyme, various types of mint, and so on.  You can also use citrus peel or citrus segments.  I’ve used blood orange ice cubes before, as well.  Really, this is the most versatile cocktail in my repertoire of cocktails.

Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

So, make one of these up with what you have on hand and enjoy the warm weather (if you are living in a state where there is warm weather right now) or enjoy watching it rain or snow.

Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

 

Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • tonic water
  • 2 drops grapefruit bitters
  • Various aromatics

Instructions

  1. Combine the gin, grapefruit, and aromatics in a glass. Top with tonic water. Enjoy!
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Almond Brownie Martini

Almond Brownie Martini

This week’s happy hour post is all about how to have dessert in a glass with this almond brownie martini. I had multiple days of travel this week, not to mention a project or two that made me feel like I was living the movie Groundhog Day.  So oh, yeah, the velvety chocolate bliss of Godiva Chocolate Liqueur was definitely in order.  And drinking dessert before dinner – that was in order, too.

My almond brownie martini takes a few ingredients, including Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Stoli Vanilla Vodka, Crème de Cacao, and Amaretto.  And cherries, too.  If you are like me and planning out your Friday happy hour early on in the week, you might just realize you’re missing a key ingredient, say, like the Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.  What to do?  Go to Drizly!  Drizly is an amazing service that lets you browse for wine, beer, and liquor online and then order – and then it shows up at your door a couple of days later.  How awesome is that?  Plus, one of my biggest problems with shopping (and this is pretty much true with anything from alcohol to clothes) is feeling pressured to make a decision while I’m browsing in a store.  Drizly completely takes away that pressure – I can browse online as long as I want and order when I’m ready to order.  You can definitely find the ingredients for this martini at Drizly, including the Godiva Chocolate Liqueur along with the Stoli Vanilla Vodka (and a lot of other great vodkas, too!).

Almond Brownie Martini

I couldn’t resist doing a fancy rim on my martini.  I used melted white chocolate and chopped up dark chocolate chunks to achieve the yummiest rim I’ve ever had on a martini.  A quicker and just as yummy rim for this cocktail is a bit of super fine sugar and a bit of cocoa powder.  So perfect to sip on one of these after a long work week.

Almond Brownie Martini

Almond Brownie Martini

Almond Brownie Martini

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Godiva chocolate liqueur
  • 1 1/2 ounces creme de cacao
  • 1 ounce Stoli vanilla vodka
  • 1 ounce Amaretto
  • Fresh or preserved cherries
  • For chocolate rim
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chunks, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. To make the chocolate rim, melt the white chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. On a separate plate, place the chopped chocolate chunks. Spread the white chocolate on a plate or in a small bowl. Roll the rim of your martini glass in the white chocolate. Dip the white chocolate into the chopped chocolate chunks. Freeze the martini glass and rim for about 10-15 minutes to set the rim.
  2. To make the Almond Brownie Martini, combine the Godiva chocolate liqueur, creme de cacao, Stoli vanilla vodka, and amaretto in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into your prepared martini glass and enjoy!
  3. Serves 1 - but can easily be doubled...or tripled..or quadrupled to serve more.
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Disclosure: This post contains sponsored content brought to you by Drizly.  As always, all opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.

Grapefruit Rosé Kiss

Grapefruit Rosé Kiss

Grapefruit Rose Kiss

A Grapefruit Rosé Kiss is a great cocktail for National Drink Wine Day, which just happens to fall on February 18th this year.  The point of National Drink Wine Day is to spread the love and health benefits of drinking wine (at least, this is what the official website says).  I don’t really need an official day to drink wine, but I will take this opportunity to share one of my favorite wine based cocktails with you.

Grapefruit Rosé Kiss

A grapefruit rosé kiss combines some of my favorite things: a good dry rosé wine, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit bitters.  This also gets just a little love from rosemary grapefruit bitter sugar cubes.

Grapefruit Rosé Kiss

I first drank rosé at Piccolo’s in Denver.  Piccolo’s was (is) an odd little fusion Italian/Mexican restaurant near the University of Denver.   I had absolutely no clue what kind of wine to order, so randomly chose Beringer’s White Zinfandel.  I don’t recall if it was a recommendation by the waitress or a shot in the dark on my part, but I liked it.  It was sweet and it was wine and it made me feel very grown up.  It became my wine for a number of years.  I didn’t branch out much until my first trip to Portland, Oregon, where I encountered a sweet Riesling for the first time.

My wine tastes have definitely changed throughout the years.  I now much prefer a robust red and don’t drink much sweet wine.  I love Sauvignon Blanc, particularly in the summer time.  I’ve been wine tasting in Oregon and Washington a dozen times and definitely like a range of wines.  It’s been ages since I’ve had Beringer’s White Zinfandel.  Still, I have the occasional nostalgic hankering for a rosé.  I tend to go for those that are fairly dry.  I really like La Ferme Julien from Trader Joe’s, which is what I used in this cocktail.  And yes, I did sweeten it up a bit.  Not sorry about that at all.

grapefruit rosé kiss

I’ll definitely be enjoying one of these grapefruit rosé kiss cocktails for National Wine Day tomorrow.

grapefruit rosé kiss

Grapefruit Rosé Kiss

Ingredients

    Grapefruit Bitter Rosemary Sugar Cubes
  • 2 cups superfine sugar (superfine sugar and caster sugar are one and the same).
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoon grapefruit bitters
  • Grapefruit Rose Kiss
  • 1 grapefruit bitter rosemary sugar cube
  • 2 drops grapefruit bitters
  • Juice from half a grapefruit
  • Rosé wine, chilled

Instructions

    For the sugar cubes
  1. Combine the sugar, rosemary and grapefruit bitters. Spread in a plastic container or plastic molds. If you are using a plastic container, score the sugar cubes into the desired size as this will make them easier to separate once dry. Leave uncovered, overnight. Once the cubes are dry, break them into cube sized pieces and store at room temperature in a covered container.
  2. For the cocktail
  3. Put a sugar cube in the bottom of a wine glass. Add the grapefruit juice and the bitters. Top with chilled rosé wine. Enjoy!
  4. Makes one cocktail, but can easily be doubled (or tripled, or quadrupled).
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Mandarin Mojitos

Mandarin Mojitos

Mandarin mojitos are my anecdote for the gloomy, depressing weather that we’ve had all season long here in my neck of the PNW woods.  I understand that Portland has the distinction of being the most winter fatigued city in the US this year.  I know that I’m certainly fatigued by the constant threat of ice and snow.  It’s been so bad in the Columbia Gorge region that Hood River County’s Sheriff made veiled threats against Punxsutawney Phil’s life if he insisted on seeing his shadow.  Yes – I know – only in Oregon.  Still, I think that sheriff could have used one of my mandarin mojitos.  It might have made him feel a bit sunnier when Phil did inevitably scurry away from his shadow and doomed us to six more weeks of winter.

Fortunately, citrus is in season.  I love mandarin oranges and am always too tempted to buy large bags of them from Trader Joe’s where they languish in the cupboard because I forget to take them with me to snack on throughout the day.  I’m trying to be better about that, and also decided I might as well use the stragglers in a cocktail.  Thus, the mandarin mojito was born.  I sort of resent having to buy mint from the grocery store, but it’s definitely worth it to mix up a pitcher of mandarin mojitos.  You can sip and pretend it’s summer time that way.  They are also great for when you just gave the blonde dog a bath the day before and then she goes out and tramps through the mud – just saying.

mandarin mojitos

You might also pin the recipe and hold onto it for the first barbecue of spring, or the first sunny day, or the first day it’s warm enough to wear sandals.  You can tell that these are all firsts I’m definitely longing for right now.

mandarin mojitos

mandarin mojitos

Mandarin Mojitos

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 - 6 sprigs of mint
  • 4 limes, quartered
  • 4 mandarin oranges, quartered
  • 1 cup white rum
  • 12 ounces club soda

Instructions

  1. In a pitcher, layer the sugar and mint and muddle. Add the limes and mandarin oranges and muddle some more - try to get as much juice mixed into the mint and sugar as you can. Add the rum and top with club soda. Serve over ice with a sprig of mint and a quarter of the lime and a quarter of the mandarin orange.
  2. Serves 4 - 5. Enjoy!
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Grapefruit Whiskey Sour with Star Anise

Grapefruit Whiskey Sour with Star Anise

A grapefruit whiskey sour with star anise is a lovely way to start the month of February.  After all, it can be a bit gloomy this time of year anyway, so why not indulge in something light and citrus-y?  Whiskey sours were my first cocktail drink – I can’t recall exactly why it was that I liked them, other than they were a pretty straight forward cocktail to order at a restaurant or a bar.  This was many years ago – well before – well, before Google, for one.   I’m pretty sure I would order them because my ex liked them (talk about being original).  Had I had Google, I might have discovered gin and tonics much earlier, or the glorious Sazarec or Negronis…but I digress.  I loved the whiskey sour as much as I loved Beringer’s White Zinfandel and as much as I loved mochas.  (Right – didn’t know what to order for wine, so stayed with the cheap pink stuff.  Didn’t know what to order for espresso drinks, so stayed with what my friend, Laura, ordered – sense a pattern here?).

But back to the grapefruit whiskey sour with star anise.  I’ve definitely branched out in my tastes for cocktails, wine and coffee.  Every now and then, though, I like to go back to a classic.  In this case, the sour comes from grapefruit juice and a hint of sweet comes through in the brown sugar anise simple syrup.  If you are adventurous, try a bit of the simple syrup in a shot of whiskey – it tastes like root beer and will get you singing Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” in the kitchen at the top of your lungs in no time.  Wait – is that just me?

Star anise has become my new spice obsession.  I love the lovely little seed pods and they smell so good!  They are a great compliment to the whiskey and grapefruit in this cocktail.

Grapefruit Whiskey Sour with Star Anise

Grapefruit Whiskey Sour with Star Anise

Grapefruit Whiskey Sour with Star Anise

Grapefruit Whiskey Sour with Star Anise

Ingredients

    Grapefruit Whiskey Sour with Star Anise
  • 1 ounce whiskey or bourbon
  • juice from one grapefruit
  • 1/2 ounce star anise infused brown sugar simple syrup
  • Star Anise Infused Brown Sugar Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 star anise pods

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the cocktail and stir. Serve on the rocks over ice.
  2. Star Anise Infused Brown Sugar Simple Syrup
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once all the sugar is dissolved, pour into a small jar and set aside to cool. Once cool, refrigerate. Let the star anise infuse overnight for the strongest flavor.
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Blood Orange Martini

Blood Orange Martini

Blood Orange Martini

This Friday’s Happy Hour post continues my obsession with blood oranges in the form of a blood orange martini.  Would you believe that I’m really almost at the end of doing all my blood orange recipes after I got the box of oranges from my friend in Arizona?  I have blood oranges preserved in various ways.  I have blood orange bitters infusing through next week.  And I have a bag of frozen blood orange juice, which I’ve been using as ice cubes for cocktails, including for this blood orange martini.

I have a tendency to go way overboard with produce.  I’ve had years where I’ve ended up going to a u-pick farm and coming home with thirty pounds of cucumbers or sixty pounds of tomatoes.  My first year of u-pick, I picked just about every fruit that was available, and we had frozen berries and jams and pickles to last us nearly two years.  I’ve been a bit more moderate this last year.  I canned thirty pounds of tomatoes into spaghetti sauce.  I didn’t bother with pickles, because we still have some.  The good thing about being moderate is that by the time the blood oranges came into my life, I wasn’t overly exhausted from preserving all summer long.

One of the best things I did with the oranges was to make blood orangecello.  I used the same basic technique I used for my limoncello.  I used a veggie peeler to peel five blood oranges.  When you do this, use just the outer peel, not the pith.  I steeped the peels in vodka for four days in a quart jar (peels + enough vodka to fill the jar).  I made a simple syrup of 3 1/2 cups water and 2 1/2 cups sugar.  I strained out the peels from the vodka, combined it with the simple syrup and let that sit overnight.  The infused vodka and simple syrup go in jars and get refrigerated and that’s that.  The blood orangecello did not have an especially red hue to it – it looks like the limoncello.  The taste, however, is akin to a good triple sec.  It’s really lovely and especially lovely in this blood orange martini.

blood orange martini

If you don’t have the time to make the blood orangecello, triple sec or cointreau will also work in this recipe.

blood orange martini

The cubes there in the front are frozen blood orange juice.  I used these when I made the blood orange martini, defrosting about four to get the juice.  I also used these to chill the martini a bit more after I’d made it.  The juice melts and doesn’t water down the cocktail.

blood orange martini

Blood Orange Martini

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce blood orangecello or triple sec or cointreau
  • juice from one blood orange

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice or with blood orange ice cubes. Shake. Strain into a cocktail glass and enjoy! Serves 1
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Limoncello Lemon Drop

Limoncello Lemon Drop

A Limoncello Lemon Drop is sure to cheer on even the gloomiest winter days. After nearly a week with snow and ice on the ground (unheard of in the Portland metro area), we are finally back to normal weather – rain and more rain.  I can handle rain and more rain, though I still have a serious craving for asparagus and strawberries (and first of the season radishes).  January is such an odd time for seasonal foods.  There’s plenty of citrus in the market, and there are definitely all the root veggies still, but there’s not a single fruit or veggie that just screams January to me.

January is, however, a good time to start clearing out the pantry.  I’m down to three jars of limoncello and three of blood orange-cello.  I’ve got some blood orange bitters infusing, which used up a few spices and some of the blood oranges from the now infamous 40 pound box.  I’m thinking I might try some new recipes for the limoncello.  It’s great in cocktails, of course, like the limoncello lemon drop, but I’ve been thinking a bit about what else I can do with it.  Any thoughts?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Meanwhile, I did finish out using all the lemon cubes from the lemons from way back in December when I made the limoncello in the first place.  Lemon cubes (really, any citrus juice that’s been frozen) are so great for cocktails.  Toss one in and if it melts, no problem – it just adds to the flavor of the cocktail instead of watering it down.

limoncello lemon drop

I like my limoncello lemon drop a bit on the sour side.  I’ve always been a big fan of sour cocktails.  You can definitely adjust the amount of limoncello you use in these to make them sweeter.

limoncello lemon drop

Limoncello Lemon Drop

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce limoncello
  • Juice from one lemon

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a few cubes of ice. Shake, strain and enjoy!
  2. Serves one
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Blood Orange Whiskey Sour

Blood Orange Whiskey Sour

blood orange whiskey sour

I made it all the way through the 40 pound box of blood oranges my friend from Arizona sent on Monday and made a blood orange whiskey sour to celebrate.  Given that the Portland metro area has been essentially shut down because of a major snow storm, working my way through a box of citrus made me so happy.  I’m getting the spring twitches – the days are getting a little longer and when the sun does come out (which it does, even in the PNW), I suddenly want to go plant a garden.  Now. Immediately.  Right this minute.  Yeah – it’s that bad.  As an alternative, I’ll likely be stopping off at a really lovely plant nursery that’s close to where I work just to go in and smell some dirt.  Seriously – it gets that bad for me in January.

So back to the citrus – the lovely orbs of blood oranges made my heart sing.  I wasn’t about to let a single one go to waste, so the last thirty or so got juiced and frozen in ice cube trays.  I figure I can thaw out what I need to make a few more recipes later this month.  I also love using the cubes in drinks – much better than regular ice!  I also used a bit of that juice to make my Blood Orange Whiskey Sour.  I happened to have a few Meyer lemons left in the fridge, so used two of them to make the sour part of the blood orange whiskey sour more pronounced.

I’ve had a few people ask me what makes a blood orange different than a regular orange.  Mostly, it’s the color in the interior of the orange.  Some of the oranges are a blood red inside, and some have a tinge of orange on the peel.  Taste wise, they are more intensely orange.  If I could figure out how to grow dwarf citrus trees, these would definitely be on my list.

blood orange whiskey sour

Blood Orange Whiskey Sour

Ingredients

  • Juice of one blood orange
  • Juice from one or two Meyer lemons (depending on your taste preference for sourness in your whiskey sour)
  • 2 ounces whiskey

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a glass. Stir. Add a few ice cubes and garnish with a slice of blood orange. Enjoy!
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Blood Orange Citrus Sangria

Blood Orange Citrus Sangria

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen my posts about my recent blood orange windfall, which led to me making blood orange citrus sangria.  A good friend of mine from Phoenix has a blood orange tree in her backyard (yep – I’m envious) that produced enthusiastically this year.  She asked me if I wanted some of the blood oranges.  My answer was an unequivocal yes.  When the actual box showed up, I realized she wasn’t kidding around: some oranges was around 40 pounds of oranges.  It was the best present, ever.

I spent all of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (and the day after New Years), making recipes with blood oranges.  I love to can, preserve, and infuse.  I made several blood orange marmalades (one of which uses blood orange citrus sangria as a key ingredient), multiple pints of blood oranges canned in a light syrup, orange-cello (limoncello, but with blood oranges), and blood oranges preserved in salt.  Our kitchen smells like blood oranges and that’s ok with me.  I’m already literally salivating over the thought of the preserved oranges with strawberries over shortcake (and whip cream and I’ve just gone to foodie heaven).

Blood orange citrus sangria also let me use up some of the other citrus I already had on hand.  It’s still Meyer lemon season, and I’m definitely not done with the sweet fragrance of these lovely lemons.  I also discovered mandarinquats at one of our local organic groceries.  Mandarinquats are a hybrid of mandarin oranges and kumquats.  They look like large kumquats and can be eaten whole – peel and all.  They do have seeds, though, so be forewarned.

Blood Orange Citrus Sangria

blood orange citrus sangria

The fruit in the foreground is the mandarinquat.  I think these are an adorable fruit.

blood orange citrus sangria

I love the many hues of citrus.  The blood oranges are at the top.

blood orange citrus sangria

blood orange citrus sangria

 

Blood Orange Sangria

Ingredients

  • 2 blood oranges
  • 2 mandarinquats or 4 kumquats
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 bottle fruity red wine

Instructions

  1. Slice the fruit and place in a carafe or pitcher. Add the Triple Sec, brandy and wine. Chill for at least two hours. Enjoy!
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