A recipe for a blood orange twist on a traditional Tom Collins cocktail, made either with the classic gin or with vodka, plus a bonus recipe for a non-alcoholic spritzer version.
We walked into the grocery store together, a mass of arms and legs of various heights clad in puffy winter coats. The weekly shopping is done on the weekend: four kids, two parents, and a bit of chaos in our wake. We pushed our too small cart through already cramped aisles that needed no help congesting, but we stuffed the six of us in there anyway.
Immediately upon entering, blocking the way, they place the samples. I believe they do this to force everyone behind us to take a moment and observe our numbers, to sigh loudly about our fertility on display as my children patiently wait one after the other to clumsily use a pair of pathetic plastic tongs to obtain a small sample with which to fill their maw.
It was here, as I am trying to usher my children along the narrow path that leads to the produce area of the store, while waiting for her siblings to finish obtaining a corn chip and pico de gallo sample that Lene spotted the display of blood oranges. They were occupying the same constricted passageway as my six-person family, our cart, the sample tray, and the queue that was forming behind them. The combination of all those things led me to purchasing a bag full of them for the grinning girl without really observing that perhaps the “sale” price was due to the egregiously thick pith and general lackluster nature of the blushing oranges.
Unpacked at home, a few oranges into our haul, I determined that these were worth more in juice form than as slowly drying orbs taking up too much space in our refrigerator. Juice them we did.
On one of the last truly cold nights of the season (knocks on wood), we made drinks with dinner. The kids squeezed ruby red juice from the oranges, trying to preserve every last drop before pouring it over ice, stirring in a bit of simple syrup, adding our SodaStream seltzer water, and sitting down to eat.
The spritzer version of these drinks is light and refreshing, combining bubbles and fruit juice and a bit of simple syrup to balance it out. You can adjust your simple syrup to suit your tastes. The cocktail version is a play on a traditional Tom Collins, where the blood orange and bitters take the place of the tart lemon juice.
Hand modeling: Ole Olmanson
Traditionally this drink should be served in a Collins glass or at least a highball glass. However, I don’t own a highball glass because I do a rather poor interpretation of a proper adult. Instead, I boast a bunch of random pint glasses from local bars, breweries, or events, their logos emblazoned across the side, and that’s what we usually drink our shared cocktail from. Imagine me pouring these two stubby glasses together into a pint glass, stuffing a straw into it because I don’t like ice on my lips and teeth, and sharing it with Ole. You can use a Collins glass or a highball glass if you have one.