The official day of romance is fast approaching. For some, the 14th of February is a day for lovers. Others may hit snooze until the sun comes up on the 15. No matter how you feel about the holiday, a stiff cocktail can definitely set the mood. We’re calling this festively themed cocktail the Bloody Valentine. The appropriately named whiskey cocktail packs a punch of fresh blood orange juice, a hint of aromatic bitters and a splash of grenadine for a subtle tarty sweetness and vibrant color.
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The Bloody Valentine isn't a traditionally sweet cocktail (if you're looking for one of those, check out the Jazzy Mintsletoe Martini). This drink is more whiskey forward, letting the booze shine as the star of the show. We used TX Whiskey, a craft whiskey distilled by Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co in Fort Worth, Texas. The ultra subtle, smooth notes of vanilla in TX work so well paired with the bold flavors in this drink. TX is one of our favorites, but if you can't get your hands on a bottle, your favorite Bourbon or Rye Whiskey will work great, too!
Orange is a flavor that pairs really well with Bourbon, whether you’re adding fresh squeezed juice, zest or bitters. We wanted this V-Day themed cocktail to have a rich, red color, so naturally, we used Blood Orange! This variety of orange is known for it’s deep red flesh and colored juice. It has a sweetness similar to other orange varieties, but it’s tangy, raspberry-like tartness sets it apart.
A couple dashes of Aromatic Bitters will add an herbacious balance to this drink, mellowing out the bite of the whiskey. Bitters are used in a ton of classic cocktails (Old Fashioned, anyone??) and add a really unique aroma of floral herbs and spices. A little goes a long way, so just a couple dashes in your drink will do the trick. Bitters are said to calm the stomach and aid in digestion, so enjoy a cocktail with bitters before or after a meal to get the most out of it. You can read a little more about aromatic bitters here!
In a cocktail shaker, squeeze and drop in a 1/4 of a blood orange, with the rind. Depending on the size and juiciness of the orange, you should get around 1 - 1 ½ tablespoons of juice. If your orange isn’t looking as juicy, you can always squeeze in some more! Add 2-3 dashes of aromatic bitters and a couple small splashes of grenadine (mainly for color, but it will add a hint of tarty sweetness). Muddle the mixture, then add 1½ ounces whiskey, top with ice and stir. *Side note: I tend to like clear spirit cocktails, like vodka or gin, shaken. The darker spirits, like whiskey, just get a good stir. If you have a preference, go ahead and do what you like!
Strain the drink into your glass and get to sippin'! You can enjoy this drink martini style, with no ice, or poured into a highball glass with a giant ice cube. That's up to you! When it comes to the Bloody Valentine, there's no wrong way to drink it!
Thanks for Chewsing!