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Blood Orange Margaritas

Blood Orange Margaritas

Before I became a parent, the last time I made a cocktail was for a holiday party which I declared would be a ‘cocktail party.’ I was adamant that we would have signature drinks because who doesn’t have a signature drink? Mine was made with rye whiskey and maple syrup and lasted about four cocktails, until we ran out of ingredients and just started pounding back the wine. I am convinced it was because people totally didn’t follow my carefully handwritten instructions. “Ah, shit,” I thought, as I drank copious amounts of wine without worrying about having to wake up at 6:30 the next morning.

In fact, the only liquor we’d ever stocked in our house was bourbon and whiskey (exclusively for Matt, to drink on the rocks). Deep in the back of our kitchen cupboard, above the sink, are several bottles of rum, cognac, and vodka that have accumulated over the course of years of parties. I believe the bottle of congac is topped with a mysterious cap from some other un-identified bottle of booze. These are not the sort of bottles you pop open on any given night; they’re the sort intended for a 20-something rager that ends with a hangover. I think you know what I’m getting at.

These days, the sacred hours of 8 – 11 p.m. mean either work or drinking at home. Sometimes both! Every night, regardless of how easy or tough the day has been, putting Neko to sleep in her crib gives me a sense of accomplishment, a reason to celebrate — with a drink!

Now I don’t mean to suggest we drink every night, but many of those evenings out with friends have been replaced with evenings in, and have thus contributed to my new-found discovery, or should I say, re-discovery, of cocktail-making. I’m not quite to the point of making my own bitters, or experimenting with too many ingredients; I equate this stage of my learning to finally discovering how to make pancakes or meatloaf. I’m a novice mixologist, so bear with me here.

Blood Orange Margaritas

It’s no secret that Mexican food is probably my favorite cuisine to cook at home, so it’s no surprise that my favorite cocktails are inspired by those south of the border. A good margarita does not come from a bottle: it comes from fresh-squeezed limes, good quality tequila, cointreau (or triple sec), and maybe a little bit of sweetener. It has, in fact, become my favorite cocktail to drink and make at home.

Inspired by the abundance of citrus fruits (hello, you’ll find me under a pile of Sumo mandarins and satsumas this week), I’ve been making a striking version with freshly-squeezed blood orange juice. Personally, I like my glass rim to be a salt lick (I’d re-salt it if I could, but then I’d spill the damn drink!) but you decide how much salt you like. Agave syrup has become a go-to drink sweetener that melts perfectly into cold elixirs; we seem to always have some on hand these days.

I will not lie: all this talk of margaritas has me dreaming of a little inspiration trip to Mexico…

Blood Orange Margaritas
adapted from White on Rice Couple
*makes two

6 ounces of fresh-squeezed blood orange juice fresh
4 ounces of high-quality tequila (we use Patron)
2 ounces of cointreau
1-2 teaspoons of agave nectar
kosher salt, for rimming the glasses

1. Pour a generous amount of salt on a small plate. Next, wet the rims of your glasses either with water or the edge of a blood orange slice. Place the glass, rim side-down, on the plate and swirl to get an even distribution of salt on the rim. Repeat with the second glass. Place several ice cubes in each glass.
2. Combine all cocktail ingredients in a cocktail shaker, along with a handful of ice. Shake for 15 seconds or so.
3. Strain cocktail into the glass and garnish with a thin orange slice.

Musical Pairings: St. Vincent – St. Vincent + Blood Orange Margaritas

St VIncent Self-titled LP More on the Turntable.



  1. Kathryn

    February 25, 2014

    I would describe my cocktail making as fairly novice too – I’m a bit of a dump it all in and give it a stir kind of girl but I love the idea of getting better at making cocktails and having a signature drink! This margarita sounds totally up my street; love the blood orange addition!

  2. Melissa // the faux martha

    February 25, 2014

    I am right there with you. Whipping up a drink as soon as Hal goes down has become my thang. I have a one drinks worth left of cranberry juice for a cosmo. Maybe tonight. And for tomorrow—adding this one to the mix.

  3. Heather Christo

    February 26, 2014

    um, we DO drink every night 🙂 and I don’t feel bad about it! This margarita is beautiful!!

  4. Sarah Kieffer

    February 27, 2014

    I love these photos! So great. And my thing has been beer – one ice cold beer after the kids are tucked in bed. Bliss. But maybe I’ll branch out and make your margarita. xo

  5. Kate Ramos

    March 2, 2014

    Margaritas are pretty much the only cocktail we make too! Anything else seems to involved for the hazy, brain-dead hours after the kids have hit the hay.

  6. Kasey

    March 3, 2014

    Oh yeah! I remember reading a post you wrote about the cosmo being your drink. I love all the mamas here commenting about that blessed drink at the end of the night. x

  7. Kasey

    March 3, 2014

    Ha! Totally. Once I start making drinks before Neko goes to bed, I may need to explore other combinations. x

  8. Kasey

    March 3, 2014

    Thank you, Sarah! Ohh an ice cold beer…I just wish I had a porch!

  9. Kasey

    March 3, 2014

    Ahahahah. Thanks, lady! Chin chin 😉

  10. Kasey

    March 3, 2014

    The dump and stir method often produces delicious results 🙂

  11. Emily

    March 4, 2014

    Hi Kasey, I really enjoy your posts and I’m glad to hear you’ve embraced cocktail making at home! My husband and I have gotten really into cocktails in the last couple of years and sometimes it’s nicer (and cheaper!) to enjoy them at home. We’ve definitely expanded our horizons lately, purchasing Aperol and Campari. Another great tequila drink, since you like margaritas, I would recommend is the Nuestra Paloma–in addition to tequila, it has elderflower liqueur, cointreau, lime juice, and grapefruit juice. You can find various recipes for it online.

    P.S. I love so much that you named your daughter Neko. We have been listening and watching Ms. Case’s appearance on various shows (Conan, Prairie Home Companion) and obsessively checking her website to see if/when she’s going to add a Bay Area show!

  12. Kasey

    March 12, 2014

    Hi Emily,
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I am just now catching up. I have been playing around with Aperol, too, mixing it with grapefruit juice, per Molly’s (Orangette) recommendation. I’ll have to look into the Nuestra Paloma 🙂 And thank you for the sweet words about my daughter’s name! We are big fans of Neko Case, too. 🙂

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