A few weeks ago, I dined with friends at Jar, Suzanne Tracht’s acclaimed chop house in Los Angeles. One of our favorite cocktails of the evening was a fruity one, infused with a gently spiced simple syrup. The color, a deep blushing magenta, came from a couple of spoonfuls of tart cranberry jelly. I was smitten with the concoction, as was everyone in our party.
Inspired, I made my own spice-infused simple syrup, and made those bitter blood oranges into a cocktail partnered with raspberries and a spoonful of sweet & tart kumquat marmalade. The results were smashing, just as I hoped.
Serve this on Valentine’s Day…or any day, really. Cheers!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
This cocktail is sweet, spicy, tangy and just the right amount of bitter. The deep rouge color comes from both the blood oranges and the raspberries. If you cannot find blood oranges, feel free to substitute regular oranges...or even better, tangerines.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 peppercorns
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2, ¼ inch slices of blood orange, quartered
- 4 raspberries
- 1 tablespoon of kumquat (or other citrus) marmalade
- 2 ounces vodka or white tequila
- sparkling water
- sugar for the rim, optional
- Put the sugar, water, peppercorns, star anise and cinnamon stick in a small pot and heat over medium high. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes, stirring gently, until sugar is melted. Set aside to cool completely. Refrigerate in a lidded jar if making well in advance (it will last at least a week in the fridge).
- Rub the rim of one low ball glass with the cut blood orange and dredge rim through a plate of sugar. Fill the glass with ice. Set aside.
- Place the blood orange slices, raspberries and kumquat marmalade in a cocktail shaker. Smash thoroughly with a muddler (or a thick handle of a spatula). Add 2 ounces of cooled simple syrup, and 2 ounces of vodka or tequila. Add 2 handfuls of ice, cover and shake vigorously.
- Strain the cocktail into the prepared glass and garnish with a blood orange slice and/or some raspberries. Top with sparkling water, to taste.