We finally had our first snow! Our first official taste of deep winter dropped, though I’ve been tasting winter citrus for several weeks now. Blood oranges, Meyer lemons, and pink grapefruits are the three gems in winter fruit’s crown. They make for gorgeous breakfast bowls, zippy marinades and dressings, add a juicy sucker punch to any salad and are, of course, class acts in muddled cocktails. Holed up inside when it’s coming down outside is the perfect time to break out the shaker. The three drinks below are inspired by winter’s fruits and recent visits with bartender extraordinaire, Naren Young, at Bobo. The first is a pink grapefruit Caipirinha that muddles together grapefruit and Meyer lemon with Brazil’s famous and distinct rum, Cachaça. Next is a blood orange Margarita which hits familiar notes of sour and salty, with a little bitter thrown into the mix via the addition of Campari. Finally, the Meyer lemon Vespa is a take on the more traditional Vesper cocktail. Hailing from London and named after Vesper Lynd, James Bond’s love interest and heart’s combatant in Casino Royale, it’s a classic. I’ve added Meyer lemon to the drink’s standard mix, dropped the “–er” in Vesper, and have taken my cues from the movie’s Venetian film set, adding a spirit of Italia to the refreshment. The Vespa is a sexy alternative that goes down easy, threatening to turn cocktails into “cock tales” if you’ve got a hot Italiano on hand…
Winter Fruit Cocktails (serves as many as you pour)
Pink Grapefruit Caipirinha
- 2 ounces Cachaça Rum
- Quarter Pink Grapefruit (cubed with rind)
- Half Meyer Lemon (cubed with rind)
- Sugar to taste
Wash the fruit and roll it on a hard surface to loosen its juices. Cut the citrus into pieces and place them in an old-fashioned glass. Sprinkle with the sugar and crush the pieces (pulp side up) with a pestle. (Wooden pestles are ideal here, but you can use almost anything to crush the rind and release the juice.) Find a happy medium between gentle and tough when muddling.You don’t want to bruise the rind or it will release bitter oils. Add the Cachaça and stir to mix. Add the ice and stir again.
- 2 parts Tequila
- 1 part Cointreau
- ½ part Campari
- Juice of half a Lime
- Juice of half a Blood Orange
- Simple Syrup or Sugar to taste
- Twist of Blood Orange
- Salt to Rim Glass (optional)
Wet the rim of the martini glass with lime.Dip into a plate of salt.Shake off excess salt, and prepare the drink.Shake all the liquid ingredients together with ice and strain into a martini glass.Garnish with a twist of blood orange.
Meyer Lemon Vespa
- 2 parts Gin
- 1 part Vodka
- ½ part Lillet Blanc
- Juice of a Meyer Lemon Wedge
- Meyer Lemon Slice
Shake all the liquid ingredients together with ice and strain into a martini glass.Garnish with a slice of Meyer Lemon.I used a coupe-shaped martini glass as I thought the sloped sides a better compliment to the angles on a Vespa, and the man who sits behind its wheel.