For a good part of the year I have rosemary floating about the kitchen. It's typically crowded in a wide-mouth jar, standing stick-straight, quietly waiting to be called upon. Sometimes it sits on the windowsill here, other times it migrates to the island, or, on rare occasions, the dinner table. I tend to buy a bunch, then work my way through it little by little (you've likely seen it in the background of photos on previous posts). Said another way - rosemary is often in my line of sight, and I'm always looking for ways to use it. This cocktail caught my attention a couple weeks back, and I've been making my own citrus-spiked riff on it in the days since.
So...my initial idea was that I'd do a winter citrus version using freshly-squeezed pink grapefruit juice, gin, and tonic water or sparkling water. I thought the evergreen notes in the gin would blend nicely with the tart pucker of grapefruit, and I'd take the edge off with a hint of rosemary syrup.
Not meant to be.
I walked into a box of beautiful Moro blood oranges at the store, and here we are. The blood orange juice worked beautifully, it added a lovely burst of color, and generally lent itself agreeably to what ended up being a long, bright, winter-time quencher. One that goes down a bit too easily, in fact. As I mention down below, if blood oranges are hard for you to come by, this drink is great with navel oranges as well. I mean it when I say, I hope you like this one as much as I do.
I kept thinking the gin / citrus combo would make for a striking DIY cocktail set-up at a holiday party, or New Year's brunch /gathering. Particularly if you offered a selection of juice mixers. I'm imagining small glass pitchers of blood orange juice, pink grapefruit juice, orange juice, oro blanco grapefruit juice, and or sweet lime juice? It would be a beautiful spectrum. Let me know if you give it a go.
I'm signing off for the weekend. There was a massive fire near my house today, dozens of people lost their homes and everything they had. Luckily no one lost their life. I've never seen anything like it. The fire fighters mounted an impressive and brave campaign to save the entire block - the winds were bad today. And apparently there was a construction crew who dialed 911, then alerted and helped evacuate residents. My heart goes out to my neighbors.
Blood Orange Gin Sparkler
You can keep the rosemary simple syrup in the refrigerator for a week or so. You can do this ahead of time. Also, if blood oranges are hard for you to come by - navel oranges are also delicious.
2 cups / 480 ml water
1 cup / 6.5 oz / 185 g sugar
4 tablespoons (~2 sprigs-worth) fresh rosemary leaves
1 bay leaf (optional)
tonic water (or sparkling water)
Combine the water, sugar, rosemary, and bay in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer for 3-5 minutes, or long enough for the sugar to dissolve, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 10 minutes. Strain into a jar to cool completely.
In the meantime, juice and strain your oranges, you'll need 3 tablespoons / 1.5 ounces of juice for each drink.
To make each drink you're going to combine equal parts gin, juice, and tonic water with a bit of syrup and ice. So, its 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 oz gin, 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice, and 1-2 teaspoons of the rosemary syrup in each tall glass (I used kolsch glasses here). Stir to combine, fill each glass 2/3 full with ice and top off with 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 oz tonic water. Stir again and you're set.
Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes