Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cocktails Enhanced: Blood Orange Gastrique

I came across a tasty looking recipe on Imbibe Magazine's website, a coriander blood orange gastrique created by Anvil Bar and Refuge. (Make sure to check out their blog, Drink Dogma.) It sounded like the perfect thing to have sitting in the fridge in January, and of course it was an excuse to play with my new camera, and taking lots of photos of blood oranges sounded like fun too. As usual, I didn't read the recipe carefully before going to the store, so I had to make some substitutions, but I liked the end result, so here it is. For the original recipe, check it out on Imbibe.

Gastrique-a French term referring to the syrupy “sauce” formed by reducing a combination of vinegar/wine, sugar, and usually some type of fruit.

Spiced Blood Orange Gastrique
adapted from the Anvil Bar and Refuge

splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup + a splash white vinegar
1 + 1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
8-10 cardamom pods, cracked open
pinch of anise seed
2/3 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1 oz vodka

1. Over medium heat, add the sugar and lemon juice to a medium sauce pan, then add just enough water until the bottom of the pan is covered. If necessary, push the extra sugar that may be clinging to the sides of the pan into the water. Allow the sugar syrup to cook without stirring until the mixture begins to turn brown and slows its bubbling. (The time will probably vary depending on how much water you use.)

2. Now slowly stir in the vinegar and spices. Then gradually add the blood orange juice, stirring constantly as it reduces to a smooth, syrupy consistency. This will probably only take a few minutes more.

3. Set the reduction aside and allow it to cool. Strain the solids and add the vodka—it will act as a preservative. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 6 weeks.

Note: Imbibe says that time affects the quality of the flavor, so make it in small batches and use as soon as possible.

Now what? Try it out in the classic Negroni, said to be named after the Italian Count Negroni. Traditionally made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, the blood orange gastrique will add another layer that also compliments the bitter Campari.

The Negroni

1 oz gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
½ oz blood orange gastrique (optional)

Place all ingredients in a glass with ice, stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a highball or double rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange or lemon twist.

If a less potent cocktail is desired, top with club soda.


  1. These drinks both sound delicious. I love your photo.

  2. Glad you like the photo! Careful though, the gastrique is just an ingredient for the cocktail--you don't want to drink it by itself!