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A citrusy, bright, and tart cocktail for winter or spring
If there’s one fruit I can’t get enough of from December to April, it’s blood oranges. This orange-skinned fruit with a crimson red flesh is one of the most gorgeous citrus fruits available. Its beautiful color and raspberry-like flavor give this Blood Orange Gin and Tonic its signature twist!
There’s nothing quite as classic as a gin and tonic. But when you don’t want to flavor it with the usual lime juice or floral-forward rose water (my Rose Water Gin and Tonic is extra romantic), citrus juice is a marvelous choice. In this gin and tonic variation, the tartness from blood orange juice cuts right through the naturally bitter tonic water and botanical gin, leaving you with bright and slightly tart sips.
What is a blood orange?
Blood oranges are just like regular oranges, but they’re smaller in size and have red flesh. They’re sweet, tart, and taste similar to raspberries. You can find blood oranges growing in warm climates (usually in California and Florida) and are in season here in North America from December to April.
The citrus fruit gets its signature red color from something called anthocyanin. The change in color happens as the fruit grows in a climate with hot days and cool nights. Blueberries, rhubarb, and eggplant all go through the same chemical reaction.
The history of gin and tonics
A gin and tonic is a simple, 2-ingredient drink with a rich history. According to Slate.com, British officers stationed in India during the 19th century would add gin to their ration of quinine-heavy tonic. The gin would mellow out the bitter flavor while the quinine helped prevent and treat malaria. It was a win-win!
Simple ingredients only
This blood orange and gin cocktail is a mixed drink you can enjoy throughout winter and spring. You only need a handful of simple ingredients:
The most important rule to making an enjoyable gin and tonic is to use a gin you love. My favorites are Hendricks, The Botanist, and Tanqueray, but any mid-priced brand you love will do instead.
Not into gin? No problem. Swap it for vodka, white rum, or blanco tequila instead. For a non-alcoholic version, omit the gin and top the mocktail with extra tonic water.
Tonic water is a carbonated soft drink made from water and quinine. The quinine is naturally bitter but is toned down once it’s mixed with gin.
There is no one best tonic water for gin and tonics, but you want to use a good one to make sure each sip is more desirable than the last. My favorite tonic water is by Q Mixers and Fever Tree.
Blood orange juice
Freshly squeezed juice is preferred but bottled juice with no added sugar (100% juice) will work as well.
For garnish! If you want to go all out, swap the lime wedge for a blood orange slice.
Helpful cocktail tips
Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re craving a citrus-infused G and T:
Use quality ingredients
Because this cocktail has so few ingredients, you’ll want to use high-quality stuff to help it taste its best. Avoid the ice that’s been sitting in your freezer for months, use freshly squeezed juice, and choose the liquor you already enjoy sipping on.
Make a frozen version!
Take it from my Frozen Gin and Tonic recipe - frozen G&T’s are delicious and refreshing! To make a frozen blood orange gin and tonic, blend the ingredients together with a handful of ice until smooth and slushy, then enjoy.
Make it ahead
Simply mix the gin and blood orange juice together up to 3 days in advance. Keep the mixture in the fridge and pour over ice when it’s time to enjoy.
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Blood Orange Gin and Tonic Cocktail
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz tonic syrup
- 1 blood orange
- 4 oz chilled club soda
- Lime wedge
- Combine gin, tonic syrup, and the juice of one blood orange in a glass (preferably a highball glass, but use whatever you have).
- Fill with ice and stir. Top with club soda, garnish with a lime wedge, and drink up.