This blood orange cocktail recipe is a winter twist on a vodka tonic, with hints of rosemary and honey and an impressively vivid orange flavor and aroma.
This blood orange cocktail recipe puts yet another beautiful winter fruit center stage: the blood orange. Like mulled wine (Italian vin brulé), holiday punch or winter sangria, it’s an easy cocktail recipe to get you through those gloomy, winter months.
There’s nothing like your first time cutting into a blood orange to discover the deep red color that speckles the rind also permeates the flesh, turning the wedges, well… blood red! Its signature scarlet hue and sweeter-than-sweet juicy center brings a festive holiday spirit.
A touch of aromatic rosemary balances the sweetness and adds the perfect cozy note for winter. That’s right: Rosemary isn’t just for cooking! The fragrant herb brings a woodsy aroma and adds a wonderful, delicate accent to citrus.
If you prefer your drinks sans alcohol, you can leave out the booze and make this into a holiday mocktail everyone can enjoy. And you can drizzle any leftover syrup on pancakes or over a bowl of Greek yogurt and granola. Yum!
Table of Contents
- What’s in a Blood Orange Cocktail
- How to Make a Blood Orange Rosemary Cocktail
- How to Make it Nonalcoholic
- What to Do with Leftover Rosemary
- What to Serve with a Blood Orange Rosemary Cocktail
- You'll Also Like: More Winter Cocktail Recipes
- Try Our Greek Alfa Honey!
- Blood Orange Cocktail with Vodka and Rosemary Recipe
What’s in a Blood Orange Cocktail
Blood orange and rosemary combine for a sophisticated pre-dinner cocktail or a flavorful addition to a holiday brunch! You’ll need:
- Blood Oranges: Sweeter and less acidic than a navel orange, blood oranges also are unique due to their color. Blood oranges range from completely red inside to a more mottled coloring of orange with tinges of red or pink. If blood oranges aren’t available, you can substitute with Navel or Valencia oranges.
- Honey: A natural sweetener used as the base of the syrup. Honey has a robust, earthier flavor with a more complex sweetness than cane sugar. Use a high quality variety, like our Greek Alfa honey.
- Rosemary: Gives an earthy, holiday aroma to the cocktail.
- Vodka: A neutral-flavored alcohol that gives a kick to the drink. You can substitute with tequila or gin if you prefer.
- Tonic: The effervescent bubbles of tonic bring the flavors of the cocktail together along with a slight bitterness that balances the sweetness of the syrup.
How to Make a Blood Orange Rosemary Cocktail
The first step to making a Blood Orange Rosemary cocktail is to make the syrup. From there, simply shake, serve, and enjoy:
- Get ready. Freshly squeeze 2 to 3 blood oranges to yield a ½ cup of juice. Set that aside and then combine a half cup of both water and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the honey is no longer separated from the water and melds together, 2-3 minutes.
- Flavor the syrup. Next, place 1 sprig rosemary in the saucepan and let it come to a simmer, where you’ll see small bubbles all around the edges of the pan. At this point, turn off the heat, stir in the blood orange juice, cover, and let sit for around 30 minutes.
- Strain the syrup. After 30 minutes, strain the rosemary and any pulp from the juice with a fine strainer into a clean jar. The final amount should yield around 1 ¼ cups. Finish cooling the syrup to room temperature, seal the jar, and refrigerate until you are ready to use. The syrup will keep in the fridge, sealed, for up to two weeks.
- Serve. Fill two rocks glasses with ice. To a cocktail shaker, pour in 3 ounces of vodka and 4 ounces of syrup. Shake to combine for 20 seconds, and strain into the prepared rocks glasses. Top each glass with a splash of tonic (about 2 to 3 ounces in total). Garnish with blood orange slices and a sprig of rosemary.
How to Make it Nonalcoholic
Making this Blood Orange Cocktail into a zero proof drink is so easy—you don’t even have to shake! Simply:
- Fill a rocks glass with ice.
- Pour in about 3 ounces of the syrup (you can eyeball it, it doesn’t need to be perfect).
- Top with 2 to 3 ounces of tonic water.
- Garnish as you would the original cocktail with blood orange slices and rosemary.
What to Do with Leftover Rosemary
Unless you have an herb garden, you’ll likely find yourself with about ½ bunch of leftover rosemary. And what a great problem to have!
- Bread: Make rosemary focaccia with roasted garlic. It’s easier than you might think, and unbeatable when it’s fresh from the oven.
- Chicken: Try lemon rosemary chicken, sheet-pan rosemary chicken with vegetables, or cranberry chicken.
- Meat: Aromatic rosemary is absolutely incredible to lift the flavors of rich meat, like braised lamb shanks or rack lamb recipe with garlic and herb crust.
What to Serve with a Blood Orange Rosemary Cocktail
The robust honey and aromatic rosemary in this blood orange cocktail pair well with many meats and roasts of the season.
Serve alongside festive mains, like alongside Mediterranean Baked Lamb Chops with Root Vegetables or make it part of your early evening spread with a variety of snack boards like our Antipasto Platter or Mediterranean Party Platter.
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Blood Orange Cocktail with Vodka and Rosemary
For the Blood Orange Syrup
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup blood orange juice, from about 2-3 blood oranges
- 1 rosemary sprig
For the Cocktails
- 3 ounces vodka
- 4 ounces blood orange rosemary syrup
- 2-3 ounces tonic
- Blood orange slices and rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)
- Make a honey simple syrup. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the honey with ½ cup water until the honey combines with the water, 2-3 minutes.
- Make the blood orange syrup. Add the rosemary to the honey simple syrup and adjust the heat to bring to a simmer, with small bubbles starting to appear along the sides of the pan. Turn off the heat and stir in the blood orange juice. Cover and set aside off the heat for 30 minutes.
- Strain the syrup. Pass the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove the rosemary and any pulp. Let the syrup fully cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
- Just before serving: shake the cocktail. Fill two rocks glasses with ice. Combine the vodka and blood orange rosemary syrup in a shaker and fill ⅔ of the way with ice. Shake to combine 20 seconds and then strain into the prepared rocks glass. Top with tonic water, gently stir, and garnish with blood orange slices and a sprig of rosemary if desired. Enjoy!
- To make nonalcoholic: Fill a rocks glass with ice. Pour in about 3 ounces of the syrup (you can eyeball it, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Top with 2 to 3 ounces of tonic water. Garnish as you would the original cocktail with blood orange slices and rosemary.
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