February 10, 2013

Blood Orange Vodka Martinis for #SundaySupper

Blood Orange Vodka Martinis for #SundaySupper
Blood Oranges

A Blood Orange Martini?

There’s something about blood oranges. Something almost… dangerous?

I remember the first time I saw and ate a blood orange. It was in Milan. 1993. I went to visit my wife. Though at the time she was not my wife… only my friend. My best friend. She was living in Italy for a year on a business internship. I travelled to see her and spent three weeks running all across northern Italy with her. I almost got thrown out of a hotel for making flaming Dr. Peppers. But that’s another story for another time. 😉

When she first showed me a blood orange, I think I was doubtful. I thought, “This can’t be real.” Then I tasted it. Whoa. It was sweet. And dark, like blood. And delicious. I wanted more. And I got more. I ate so many blood oranges those three weeks in Italy that I thought I was going to turn into a blood orange. I did not, though.

Nor did I find any blood oranges once I returned home to the States. Sometimes life can be so cruel.

But I am happy to say that I have found many blood oranges the last few years right here in Louisiana. I guess they are now in vogue or something. Not only do we love to eat blood oranges, but I have found that they make an excellent (and romantic!) Martini.

What makes a Martini a Martini?

Traditionally, the Martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or lemon twist. Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with botanicals. It was very popular at the turn of the 20th century, and the cocktail has gone through numerous mutations over the years. As a matter of fact, the Blood Orange Vodka Martini recipe that I am going to share with you today is not, in the strict sense, a martini at all. It is so named solely because of the glass in which it is served. A Martini glass.

Since its creation, many variations of the Martini have come into being. Here are a few common variations of the Martini:

  • A Dry Martini uses less dry vermouth than usual. A Wet Martini uses more.
  • A Perfect Martini uses both dry and sweet vermouth.
  • A Dirty Martini includes a splash of olive brine.
  • A Vodka Martini uses vodka instead of gin.

James Bond always preferred his martinis “shaken, not stirred.” Somerset Maugham believed that “a martini should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another.” In the end, I think the perfect martini is the one prepared the way that the “consumer” likes best. And for us, at this time of the year, a blood orange vodka Martini will do the trick.

Valentine’s Day: What is Love?

There are lots of legends surrounding St. Valentine, and we may never really know which ones are true. Until we reach eternity, that is. But, in a way, it really doesn’t matter which ones are true. When it comes to love, we have already been shown what it is all about.

Jesus of Nazareth, the son of a carpenter and humble wife, has shown the world what love is. Love is to lay down your life for others. That is certainly not the definition of love that the world gives. But, ultimately, it is the best definition.

Life is bigger than me. Love is bigger than me. And the way that I am to show love is to lay down my life for the good of others. That’s what Jesus did. That’s what the saints do. That’s what I am called to do.

But it ain’t easy.

Love and romance are two totally different things. And love is by far the better. However, I once heard a wise old priest say that if is wasn’t for romance nobody would get married. If we saw only the reality of marriage, without the “help” of a little romance, then nobody in their right mind would opt for it.

Just in case I am not making myself clear, let me say it right here: Marriage is hard.

It’s good. It’s holy. It’s a huge blessing. But it’s hard.

And because of that, we need a little romance.

Romancing the Stone

Remember that movie? Romancing the Stone? 1984. Michael Douglas. Kathleen Turner. Danny DeVito. Zack Norman. Kinda cheesy. But I was 14 when it came out. So it is now forever etched in my brain. I can’t hear the word “romance” without thinking of Romancing the Stone.

So here’s what I’ve done. I’ve made a mental bridge of sorts. I have come to understand that I need romance in my life because my heart of stone must be softened. And romance is the perfect softener. So for this Valentine’s Day, which unfairly comes around this year during Lent, I am going to make these romantic Blood Orange Martinis for me and my beautiful bride. They are red, romantic, and deliciously righteous.



  • 2 ounces quality vodka
  • 1 blood orange, squeezed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons simple syrup (if needed!)
  • ice
  • lime wedges


For the Simple Syrup

If you end up with tart oranges and need a little sweetness, just make a small batch of simple syrup. It is super-simple to make. Just add equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan (a 1/4 cup of each should be plenty), and heat over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and let cool. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons to your Martini to make it just right.

For the Martini

  1. Measure out your vodka and pour it into a mixing glass.
  2. Add 4 to 5 ounces of freshly squeezed juice from the blood oranges.
  3. Add ice to your shaker and shake to incorporate.
  4. Pour into a Martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
Blood Orange Vodka Martini

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A Valentine’s Day #SundaySupper

Now, you can’t have just Blood Orange Vodka Martinis for #SundaySupper. Well, I guess you could. But I wouldn’t advise it. Instead, have the Martinis as an appetizer. The check out all these great recipes that my friends are posting this week…

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Breakfasts, Apps & Main Dishes:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Sweet Eats:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Drinks:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Tablescape:

A Romantic Table For Two Please from An Appealing Plan

How About You?

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day treat or adventure?

Let me know in the comments below!