I’m sitting here on the first day of Spring at my desk and it feels particularly meaningful this year. Maybe because this winter felt particularly trying, maybe because so much of 2018 tested me and so many people around me in pretty awful ways, but I’m trying to approach this equinox with cautious optimism. At the very least, I’m looking forward to the trees budding and blooming again, to the Baltimore Herb Festival in May, and to checking out the Herring Run nursery to get some local plants for the scrap of grass next to our building as well as the planters out front.
The beginning of spring means that the fun citrus season is coming to a close, but there’s still time to take advantage of it. After a rather turbulent week, I found myself on Saturday wanting to make a pretty kickass cocktail to accompany our cooking, and when I saw that the two blood oranges I had purchased the week before were still very viable, the idea came to me to make French 75s out of them. Wanting to up the ante, I made a fresh batch of simple syrup and infused some rosemary into it, because rosemary and any kind of citrus is one of my favorite flavor pairings.
This combination was dynamite. The blood orange juice was not very sweet on its own so the addition of the simple syrup didn’t make it overly so, but the herbaceousness of the simple syrup added complexity. There’s still time to take advantage of the fun citrus that’s still in stores, so run out and get some blood oranges while you still can.
Sicilian French 75 with blood orange and rosemary
Makes two cocktails
- 4 ounces gin
- 1 blood orange, juiced (roughly 4 oz)
- 1 ½ oz rosemary simple syrup (recipe below)
- Dry cava or prosecco of choice
Combine gin, juice, simple syrup, and ice into a cocktail shaker; shake it well for 30 seconds until the shaker is quite chilled. Strain into two cocktail glasses of choice, and top with Cava or Prosecco; continue to add more as desired because ideally you are making this for yourself at home.
Rosemary simple syrup
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 rosemary sprigs
In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved fully. Take the syrup off the heat, add the rosemary, and let the rosemary infuse while the syrup cools. Store in a tight-fitting container for up to 2 weeks.