This is a cocktail masquerading as a mocktail with this Blood Orange Bourbon Cooler. You won’t realize it’s got a kick to it until it’s a little too late. Given its whiskey-sour origin, it’ll be far too easy to sip down, but it’s Friday, so we can kick back.
I occasionally find citrus in the fridge that I’ve forgotten. In this case, blood oranges I’d bought two weeks ago and forgotten as I had a number of other cocktails that had to be completed before. I love that citrus kept in the fridge still retains its freshness for a few weeks. I hate wasting produce – especially something like blood oranges – a little rarer than lemons and limes.
Orange juice gets a lot of hate from bartenders and mixologists. It’s not sweet enough to stand on its own in a cocktail as a sweetner. And it’s not sour enough to stand in for lemons or limes. But blood oranges have a little more tartness to them, and that color, well, it just begs to jump in the mixing tin.
I still wanted more sour than I could get from blood oranges alone so I added a bit of lemon juice and balanced that out with a little peach simple. I originally tried it with plain simple syrup, but the peach added just a touch of the sour that mean it balanced better with the other ingredients.
I’m still on a cooler kick this week, so I topped off the cocktail with a bit of lemonade and a splash of ginger beer to add a bit of kick. I’m trying out Regatta Craft Mixers today and their ginger beer is perfect for mixing with bourbon cocktails. It’s got a bite to it, but it’s not so sweet that it throws the drink off. It’s definitely less sweet than the ginger ale, so in this case, with the other ingredients, going with their ginger beer was a winning situation.
I had to add a little bitters to the cocktail, and chose some BD Bittering Pineapple Serrano bitters than have a tartness from the pineapple and a lovely heat from the serrano. I originally put in 10 drops, but it tasted better with more of a hit of that heat and adjusted accordingly.
If you enjoy summer bourbon cocktails, check out my Mezcal Popsicle Cocktail – Holy (Pop) Smokes, or this Rainbow Bourbon Cooler.
Blood Orange Bourbon Cooler
- 1 oz fresh blood orange juice
- ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz peach simple syrup**
- 3 oz lemonade
- 16 drops pineapple serrano bitters
- 2 oz bourbon
- Regatta ginger beer to top
- Garnish: lemon verbena sprig or blood orange wheel
- Combine blood orange, bourbon, lemon juice, peach simple and bitters in a shaker. Fill with ice, shake briefly and double strain into a highball or large wine glass with ice. Add lemonade, stir briefly, then top with ginger beer. Garnish with a fresh sprig of lemon verbena or mint.
- 2 cups peeled, chopped peaches
- 2 cups sugar