Orange juice has many advantages. Not only is it the official state beverage of Florida, it also contains lots of vitamin C and lightens up every breakfast. It is sweet, refreshing and of course it also goes well with cocktails. Sadly it is used often for very unimaginative cocktails such as the Screwdriver.
It really irritates me when people dismiss an ingredient. Whether it's too ordinary, or difficult, or inconsistent, or overpowering, I can't help but feel such conclusions are lazy and defeatist. Your theme this month is "Orange Juice", an ingredient I too often see derided or ignored when it comes to thoughtful mixology. Surely an assembly of such mixological brawn as MxMo can find or create a delicious way to mix OJ, right? And before you think this challenge isn't challenging, regard my rules:
- Whether it's established or your own creation, write about a cocktail that uses orange juice. Not orange liqueur, or oil, or bitters, or tangerine juice. Orange juice.
- Your orange juice can be fresh squeezed, from concentrate, or from a bottle, carton, or can.
- Your orange juice cannot be buried in the cocktail; it must play at least a noticeably supporting role in the drink.
- If you must choose one of the simple, already-establish orange juice cocktails (you know the ones), then at least write something thoughtful enough to make me want to mix one up. – Spirited Remix
As you may have noticed I like the taste of oranges especially when combined with rum. But another reason this is a great topic for me is that I get to use my left over oranges from making all that syrup. Thus I am delighted to present to you two cocktails using delicious orange juice which absolutely contain no rum.
I like the combination of chocolate with orange. There are plenty of sweets available here which marry citrus fruits with chocolate and most Germans probably know Erfrischungsstäbchen. Sweetness combined with citrusy freshness always makes me eat the whole box. I just can't stop. So of course I wanted to recreate those flavors using even unhealthier ingredients: alcohol.
- 50ml Bushmills Irish Honey
- 45ml Orange Juice
- 10ml Simple Syrup
- 10ml Mozart Chocolate Vodka (aka Mozart Dry)
- 2 Dashes The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the Bushmills, orange juice, Mozart Chocolate Vodka, simple syrup and bitters. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into a pre-chilled Martini or coupe glass. Garnish with an orange wheel and Erfrischungsstäbchen.
For a nice chocolate flavor I decided to use Mozart Chocolate Vodka. It provides the taste of chocolate without the heavy sweetness the Mozart liqueurs usually have. Nevertheless my base for this cocktail is Bushmills Irish Honey which, together with the simple syrup, is responsible for this drinks sweetness.
Of course fresh orange juice is already sweet, so adjust the amount of simple syrup to the sweetness of your oranges. The lemon bitters support the orange taste and bring the different flavors together.
This cocktail absolutely needs a good and flavorful fresh orange juice. I made this with different types of oranges and when you have oranges that have a very light and delicate juice the Mozart will overpower them. The juice should be a deep orange, sweet and full of flavor.
Another Orange Delight
I remember fondly the days of my youth when I would mix up some Southern Comfort and orange juice and relax in the sun. It really is a great combination and although Southern Comfort has gotten horribly sweet over the years, I still buy the occasional bottle of Southern Comfort 100 Proof to recreate this drink.
It would be too easy to just pour some Southern Comfort into a glass, top it off with orange juice and call it a day. I want to capture that summer feeling, but add some other subtle flavors to complement the orange. The goal is to balance the sweetness and create something to sip while enjoying the last days of summer.
- 45ml Southern Comfort
- 45ml Orange Juice
- 10ml Lemon Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Raspberry Syrup
- 2 Dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Add Southern Comfort, orange juice, lemon juice, syrup and bitters to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass with ice and garnish with some orange.
A refreshing drink in a delightful color that isn't too sweet. The Southern Comfort and orange clearly dominate this cocktail, but the lemon adds some much needed sourness. The raspberry syrup is mainly there for the color, while the bitters add a new dimension to make it more interesting.
As always when using fresh fruit it is important to taste the juices and mixture beforehand. If the orange is too sweet then more lemon juice is needed. If the lemon is not sour enough then again add more of it. The goal is to create a cocktail that tastes of oranges, but still has enough acidity and hints of lemon flavor so the sweetness doesn't overwhelm everything.
I love using orange juice, I even enjoy drinking it neat. Unfortunately it's quite a hassle to freshly squeeze oranges but you should do it nevertheless as this produces the best quality. Give orange juice a chance and mix up one of these cocktails or invent your own. It deserves some love.
In the future I will try to use more orange juice in my cocktails, because let's face it there is enough lime and lemon already. I hope I could contribute to making orange juice a bit more popular again, it was quite the interesting challenge.
All this citrus handling made me think and I want to write something about grapefruit as my next topic. Although it gets enough love already (with all those old-timey cocktails being made), I'm intrigued by what is possible.
Title image via pixabay.