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This easy-drinking, gently sophisticated blood orange cocktail is perfect for fall and winter. Serve it up or on the rocks.

two blood orange cocktails in mason jars, each garnished with a rosemary sprig and a blood orange wheel
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Why we love this recipe

In the fall and winter months, this vibrant yet cozy blood orange cocktail makes for a lovely evening. It’s:

  • Bright and citrusy from the freshly squeezed blood orange and ruby red grapefruit juices
  • A little bit sweet and woodsy from the rosemary and thyme simple syrup
  • Easy to batch for a party
  • Flexible — make it with vodka or gin, and serve it up or on the rocks

I first published this recipe here back in 2017. I’ve since updated the post for clarity and made a few gentle tweaks to the recipe itself.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

blood orange cocktail ingredients
  • Start with a top-shelf vodka. I’m using Grey Goose, which has a lovely, toasty vibe and creamy finish. Belvedere is another great choice. I’m not really on the Tito’s bandwagon, but if you are, that would be a fine option, too. (Or make this cocktail with gin if you prefer.)
  • You’ll make an herb simple syrup using fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, good old granulated sugar, and water.
  • The freshly squeezed juice of blood orange and ruby red grapefruit combine to make a smooth, slightly sweet, slightly tangy citrus vibe.
  • Just for fun: If you’d like to add a bit more complexity to this drink, add 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (or Meyer lemon juice) and two dashes orange bitters.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a blood orange cocktail. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll make the herb simple syrup and let it cool.
  2. Juice the blood orange and grapefruit.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (to serve up) or glass (to serve on the rocks).
  4. Garnish and serve. That’s it!
a blood orange cocktail in a coupe glass garnished with a rosemary sprig

Expert tips and FAQs

What should I do with the leftover herb simple syrup?

It will keep for two weeks or more in an airtight container in the fridge. I recommend using it to make more cocktails or to sweeten a gently sophisticated lemonade.

Can I batch this cocktail for a party?

You can. To make eight drinks, combine in a pitcher up to three hours before serving time: two cups blood orange juice, two cups ruby red grapefruit juice, two cups vodka, 1/2 cup herb simple syrup, and 1/2 cup cold water. Cover and chill. At serving time, pour into glasses, garnish, and serve.

two blood orange cocktails in mason jars, each garnished with a rosemary sprig and a blood orange wheel

More favorite fruit-forward cocktails

a blood orange cocktail in a mason jar garnished with a rosemary sprig and a blood orange wheel

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two blood orange cocktails in mason jars, each garnished with a rosemary sprig and a blood orange wheel
4.78 from 9 votes

Blood Orange Cocktail with Winter Herbs

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This cocktail is refreshing and just complex enough. It tastes great even without the alcohol but can also stand up to a strong pour, so you can control how boozy it is as the mood strikes.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
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Ingredients 

For the herb simple syrup

  • 2 large sprigs thyme
  • 2 large sprigs rosemary
  • ½ cup (100 grams) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water

For the cocktail

  • 2 ounces (60 ml) blood orange juice
  • 2 ounces (60 ml) ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces (60 ml) vodka
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) herb simple syrup

To garnish

  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 blood orange wheel, if serving on the rocks

Instructions 

For the simple syrup

  • In a small pot, combine the thyme, rosemary, sugar and water.
  • Set over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and liquid is just shy of boiling.
  • Remove from heat and set aside for at least 30 minutes. The longer it sits, the stronger the herb flavor will be.
  • Strain the liquid and discard herbs.
  • Let cool completely before using.

For the cocktail

  • To serve this drink up, place a few ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Pour in the blood orange juice, grapefruit juice, vodka, and tablespoon of herb simple syrup. Shake well, until very cold, then strain into a martini or coupe glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig and serve.
  • To serve this drink on the rocks, pour the blood orange juice, grapefruit juice, vodka, and tablespoon of herb simple syrup into a tall glass (such as a pint mason jar) and stir well. Fill the glass with ice, garnish with a rosemary sprig and blood orange wheel, and serve.

Notes

  1. Start with a top-shelf vodka. I'm using Grey Goose, which has a lovely, toasty vibe and creamy finish. Belvedere is another great choice. I'm not really on the Tito's bandwagon, but if you are, that would be a fine option, too. (Or make this cocktail with gin if you prefer.)
  2. If you’d like to batch this cocktail for a party, you can. To make eight drinks, combine in a pitcher up to three hours before serving time: two cups blood orange juice, two cups ruby red grapefruit juice, two cups vodka, 1/2 cup herb simple syrup, and 1/2 cup cold water. Cover and chill. At serving time, pour into glasses, garnish, and serve.
  3. You'll have extra herb syrup, which will keep tightly covered in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Make more cocktails or try using it to sweeten a sophisticated lemonade.

Optional additions

Just for fun: If you'd like to add a bit more complexity to this drink, add 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (or Meyer lemon juice) and two dashes orange bitters.

Nutrition

Calories: 240kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.78 from 9 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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