Blood orange juice is the juice of the blood orange, a mutation of the sweet orange (Citrus sinesis) that may have originated in either China or the Mediterranean in the 19th century. Blood oranges are identified by flesh that is either streaked with dark red or completely dark red to black. The peel may also have areas of reddish blush. Blood oranges are sweeter than standard oranges, and have red berry flavors, particularly raspberry, in addition to the more typical sweet-tart orange flavors.
There are three main cultivars of the blood orange that are grown today. The Moro, originally from Sicily, is the most dramatic, with nearly black flesh and a markedly red peel. The Moro is also the most bitter of the blood oranges. The Sanguinello, discovered in Spain in 1929, is similar to the Moro, but with streaks of red in the fruit instead of being fully red. The Tarocco is thought to be a mutant of the Sanguinello, and is the palest and sweetest of the blood oranges. It is the most commonly grown orange in Italy.
Blood oranges have a similar nutritional profile to standard oranges, but have much more anthocyanins (the red pigment in grape skins), which is a powerful antioxidant. With their striking color and exotic flavor, blood oranges make stunning additions to cocktails, and particularly punches, where slices of blood orange can be floated for maximum effect.
Blood orange juice ranges in color to reddish-orange to almost black, depending on the cultivar used. It is very sweet, with strong flavors of black raspberry and other red fruits in addition to the tangy flavors of orange.
Some popular cocktails containing Blood Orange Juice
- Sangre y Arena — Sweet vermouth, Cherry Liqueur, Mezcal, Blood Orange Juice
- Poop Deck — Gin, Bitters, Club soda, Blood Orange Juice
- Southern Discomfort — Bourbon, Aperol, Rhubarb bitters, Blood Orange Juice
- Bloody Margarita — Tequila, Triple sec, Blood Orange Juice, Lime juice
- King of Red Lions — Rye, Orange liqueur, Bitters, Lemon juice, Blood Orange Juice, Raspberry syrup, Mint