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.
I’ve never understood the name for the cocktail called a ‘Bloody Mary.’ Some say its origin is about a spirit conjured to reveal the future by calling her name in a mirror three times, others say it’s about the legend of Mary Tudor who had hundreds of Protestants murdered in the name of Catholicism. There’s even a story about the drink first being called a ‘Red Snapper’ before it was changed to what we call it today. Regardless, it’s one of my favorite cocktails.
When it comes to the flavor of a traditional Bloody Mary, however, any true foodie would agree that vodka and tomato juice tend to be pretty flavorless ingredients, so they need a big flavor boost to make them tasty. What’s my favorite version? I add an elevated zing using my favorite trio of charred veggies, spicy peppers, and habanero-infused vodka.