Blood oranges are like fresh figs. They appear suddenly in the produce section of your local grocery store, then the next thing you know, they’re gone. This year, when I saw the blood oranges appear, I eagerly put several of them in my cart so that I could use them in a new recipe. And as fate would have it, I had tequila on my grocery list that week, so one thing led to another, and this sweet and spicy cocktail was the result.
I like to use silver tequila which is usually clear and un-aged, where the true flavors and intensity of the Agave are present. What’s nice about the blood orange juice is not only does it add beautiful color to the drink it’s sweeter than a naval orange, so the natural sugar keeps the heat from the jalapeno under control.
4 ounces of silver grade tequila
1 Jalapeno pepper, 1/2 finely chopped, 1/2 thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon lime zest
1) In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a low boil over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat, and when the syrup is cooled, transfer it to a re-sealable container and chill it in the refrigerator.
2) Place the chopped jalapeno pepper and the cilantro leaves in a cocktail shaker and muddle them together to release the oils.
3) Add ice to fill the shaker half-way, and add the tequila, lime juice, blood orange juice and 2 tablespoons of the simple syrup (you can adjust up or down here depending on the level of sweetness you prefer). Cover the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 to 45 seconds until the liquid is chilled.
4) Crush the kosher salt and lime zest together on a plate with the back of a spoon, and spread the mixture out to the diameter of your martini glasses. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass then dip the glass into the salt/zest mixture.
5) Strain the chilled martini into the glass and garnish with jalapeno slices and cilantro leaves.