Bloody Orange Mocktail

Bloody Orange Mocktail. Before and after "blood" injection.

Bloody Orange Mocktail. Before and after “blood” injection.

Halloween is a combination of the the imaginary and the real, the spooky and the fun, the mystical and the macabre. Tonight we are focusing on the macabre – a take on a recipe from Better Home and Gardens called Bloody Orange Cocktail. The idea s is blend of orange and citrus, with a splash of bubbles and vodka. The blood element is raspberry syrup in a syringe that is injected into the drinks after serving. Wonderfully macabre and yet wonderfully tasty.

You can find the recipe here for the original drink.

When looking for an alternative to the liqueurs found in the original drink, I had to be a bit creative. The original calls for a combination of orange juice and soda water, along with Liquor 43. This Spanish liqueur is citrus and fruit based, but as the name implies it has 43 ingredients. I decided to go with something ginger and citrus based and had just the recipe in mind.

Set with my drink base all created I thought that the rest would be simple, add some sugar to my preexisting raspberry juice and Bob’s your uncle. Not quite that easy. First, I only had frozen raspberries and the raspberry juice I had made from frozen raspberries. The original recipe called for fresh raspberries, juiced. Turns out 2 cups of raspberries makes about 1/2 cup juice according to the Oregon State University. So I needed 1/2 cup of juice.

Second, it turns out that the key to making the raspberry juice is time. Ten minutes to be precise, as the sugar syrup gets stronger due to evaporation and the pectin in the juice begins to work. Once the liquid cools the result was surprising. Jelly! Yep, delicious spread on your toast jelly.

Once that ingredient was perfected, the injected juice keeps it’s integrity in the drink and requires a bit of stirring to dissolve and blend. So that the blood infusion looks more realistic. Here is my new recipe for this great idea of a drink, without the booze, but with plenty of kick.

Bloody Orange Mocktail

The virgin version of this blends the flavours of orange, lime and ginger with a sparkle of soda for brightness.

Ingredients:
  • 10 ml raspberry syrup/jelly (see below)
  • 10 ml syring (no needle)
  • 1 oz orange simple syrup
  • 1 tsp orange juice concentrate
  • 1 oz ginger citrus syrup
  • 4 oz soda water (or ginger ale)
Procedure:

Fill 10 ml syringe with raspberry syrup/jelly and set aside. Mix syrups and orange juice concentrate in a shaker with ice. Pour over ice and top with soda water. Plunge syringe into drink and instruct recipient to inject blood before drinking. Serve and enjoy the reactions.

My Thoughts:

The blend of orange and ginger is delicious. When we had this drink for dinner, my kids found the novelty of the syringes fun and used the syringes to stir occasionally if the jelly started to sink to the bottom of the drink. You can find syringes at novelty stores or at pharmacies.

When I injected my blood, I found that the syrup just shot into the drink and started dissolving, but my glass was shy on ice. The ice and the slowness of the injection helps to keep the integrity of the jelly intact.


 Raspberry Syrup/Jelly

100 grams frozen raspberries
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Procedure:

Cook raspberries in water on medium until defrosted and then simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and press raspberries through wire double strainer over a bowl and collect all juice (should be about 1/2 cup). Return juice to pot and add sugar. Heat to a gentle boil (medium high) and continue to cook 10 minutes. Watch the pot and adjust heat as necessary to keep boiling but not overflowing. After 10 minutes remove from heat and pour into heat resistant container with lid. Allow to cool completely before using.

Ginger Lime Syrup

2 cups water
1 cup chopped ginger
juice and zest of one lime
1/2 cup sugar

Procedure:

Place water, juice, zest and ginger into pot and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes then add sugar and heat until sugar is dissolved completely  (medium heat). Remove from heat and store for two days in fridge to allow flavours to blend. Strain syrup and store until needed.


While this drink features the macabre, there is nothing truly scary about the taste. My youngest gave this a full 5/5 and asked for seconds while my eldest decided she loved the jelly so much she simple injected a second syringe directly into her mouth.

I have seen this drink done with raspberry puree called Vampire Cocktail (drink also features orange and amaratto) on Self Proclaimed Foodie (recipe here) and Bloody Shirley Temple (using grenadine and sprite) for an all ages drink at Your Southern Peach (recipe here).

Darkness Falls

Drinks made with Black Liquorice Syrup. From left to right:

Drinks made with Black Licorice Syrup. From left to right: Ghost Shooter, Spicy Night Cocktail, Tiger Ice Cream Shooter and Black Lagoon Mocktail

Today’s focus, for the second halloween blog, is black drinks.

When researching spooky drinks, I came across some beautiful layered drinks both shots and martinis featuring black vodka. The idea of layering a black beverage appealed to me, and I had just the ingredients in my kitchen! So in honour of me mum, who is a huge licorice fan, I created a black licorice flavoured syrup and started my experiments on what could be done with this new ingredient.

Black Licorice Syrup

The goal here is to make a concentrated syrup that will work even when diluted by half without loosing it’s flavour in the recipe. With all syrups, the best test is to mix 1:1 with water. If the resulting taste is perfect than the original syrup will work well in drink mixes.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 oz aniseed (or 1 tbsp aniseed extract)
  • Black food colouring (I used Duff Goldman brand)
Procedure:

Blend aniseed (or extract) with water and bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes then remove from heat if using seeds and allow to steep 30 minutes. Strain and add sugar. Cook until sugar dissolves completely, then add food colouring drop by drop until the desired darkness is reached (about 10-15 drops). Because this food colouring looks purple when not strong enough, be sure to check syrup for darkness – you want BLACK. Taste syrup, it should be sweet and licorice flavoured. If still bitter add more sugar, if too weak and you have aniseed extract on hand ad a few drops until desired concentration is reached.

Ok that’s the foundation. Now for the fun!

Tiger Ice Cream Shooters

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First up, something fun to play with densities. Since Black Licorice syrup is definitely NOT black vodka, one cannot expect it to float on just about everything.

Black vodka is coloured with black Catechu and has no flavour other than that of the vodka – or so they say. Black vodka is also 80 proof, so wowee zowee it’s definitely NOT virgin! But does float nicely.

Sambuca, is another anise (or licorice) flavoured adult only beverage – and while not black is only 42% alcohol and in the liqueur category. Good! Nice to know, and somewhat relevant if searching for recipe ideas online.

Since my syrup is denser than any alcoholic original, I can’t expect it to float and have to find other ingredients that will float on it instead. Turns out that orange juice, both concentrated and in it’s normal diluted version both float nicely on syrups with a 1:1 sugar to water concentration. OK! Here goes the testing.

My first kick at the can was to layer concentrated OJ over the syrup and see how that faired. Too strong, too sweet. My hubby says also too orange tasting. Next try: three layers, same two on the bottom, but an added layer of cream (since it’s supposed to be like ice-cream eh!).Still not perfect. The cream hits the pallet too fast and is gone before the liquorice gets to your tongue.

So I tried mixing the cream and orange first then layering it on top. Better. Closer. Now to perfect it. According to my daughter, Tiger ice-cream is more orange than licorice. So, 1/3 licorice to 2/3 orange should do it. What was the verdict. Pretty Good!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 oz black licorice syrup
  • 1/2 oz orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 oz whipping cream
Procedure:

Pour syrup into bottom of shot glass. Mix juice and cream in cocktail shaker and dry shake (shake with no ice). Layer onto the syrup in the shot and serve.

My Thoughts:

I thought to drop a 2 oz ball of vanilla ice-cream into the mix, increasing the glass size to compensate. While it looks pretty, the drink becomes impossible to drink in a gulp and, since this is a layered drink, that is required to blend the flavours of the two layers. So, ice cream is not an option, regardless of cool (pun intended) factor of the ice-cream!

Kid-o-metre 3/5 one of two kids likes this in my family
Taste: 3/5 Half of us like licorice, the other half not so much.
Simplicity: 4/5 One syrup, and the easiest thing to layer ever!
Ingredient finding: 3/5 Having aniseed in town is great, having aniseed extract in my cupboard was even better, made it easier. Black food colouring though needs to be picked up out of town.

Ghost Shooters

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This next shooter is another attempt to layer – but I wanted to try a different blend of flavours than the common orange and licorice. So I checked out what pairs with licorice or anise and came up with the idea of chocolate. Well, I happened to have some white chocolate cream left, so why not! The result is a layer of white chocolaty goodness floating like a ghost over the black drink. Add some whipped cream and some chocolate ships for eyes…Yup, spooky!

Ingredients:
  • 1  oz Black Licorice Syrup
  • 1/2 White Chocolate Cream
  • whipping cream – whipped
  • 2 chocolate chips
Procedure: 

Pour syrup into bottom of shot glass, carefully layer the chocolate cream over the syrup and let settle for a minute. Top generously with whipped cream, add two chocolate chips and serve.

My Thoughts:

They now sell chocolate covered licorice, so this combo wasn’t much of a stretch. Does it work in a shooter? Yup. Sweet and creamy dessert type shooter. However don’t tryp to do this with no hands as some whipped cream topped shooters dictate. You’ll choke on the chocolate chips, and the chocolate cream is too thick to tip upside down, but mostly you’ll choke. Trust me. I tried it.

Kid-o-metre 3/5 not a hit – even with chocolate
Taste: 3/5 an aquired taste.
Simplicity: 3/5 two recipes, not hard though. Minimal ingredients required.
Ingredient finding: 3/5

Black Lagoon Mocktail

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This next recipe is an adaptation of Matha Stewarts Black Lagoon Cocktail. She had the great idea of making licorice flavoured ice cubes and then floating them in a blend of rosemary lemon vodka and seltzer. I had a similar syrup that I chose to use – stronger citrus flavour and brilliant in the drink. If I made the drink with club soda – hold the vodka – and followed the rest of the recipe I should in theory be able to create an all ages version.

Ingredients:
  • 2 oz rosemary citrus syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 oz club soda
  • Licorice Ice Cubes
  • Black liquorice for garnish (didn’t have this at the time for the pic!)
Procedure:

Combine syrup, juice and club soda in a 8 oz old fashioned glass filled with Black Licorice Ice Cubes. Stir to blend flavours. Cut the ends off a black licorice stick to make a staw and serve immediately.

My Thoughts:

According to the original recipe as the drink melts the colour goes from clear to black. I have not had a chance to find this out yet, primarily because I failed to read the original directions – oops! I make the ice cubes out of the licorice syrup, strong sugar syrup it turns out, and the ice cubes turned into super sweet licorice toffee! So not to be undone, I scooped it out of the ice cube tray, plopped it in the bottom of the drink and continued as directed. The syrup added a super sweet flavour to the drink, slowly dissolving in the soda. The result was pretty terrific.

Check out the real way to make licorice ice cubes here if you want the original look.

You’ll also note that there is no licorice straw in my drinks. Seems there is no licorice in town this week… sigh.

Kid-o-metre 3/5 not a hit – with kids
Taste: 5/5 liquorice and rosemary, who knew!
Simplicity: 3/5 two recipes, not hard though (Colette, follow the directions gal!).
Ingredient finding: 3/5 Rosemary and food colouring from out of town


Rosemary Citrus Syrups

This syrup comes from a recipe for Rosemary Citrus Spritzer – all virgin from The Kitchn. I am continually finding great uses for this syrup!

Ingredients:

2 lemons – zest and juice
2 oranges – zest and juice
4 (4 inch) sprigs rosemary
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 honey

Boil all ingredients one minute, remove and cool 10 minutes to steep. Strain and store in airtight container until use. Lasts about 1 month.


Spicy Night Cocktail

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I love licorice flavour and was looking for flavours that complement the flavour of aniseed other than orange. Cinnamon and cloves came up and I just had to try it out.

This drink is made with syrups and soda water, to keep the beverage as clear as possible, the licorice and cinnamon syrup do infuse upward making the drink muddy, grey and mysterious.

Ingredients:
Procedure:

Pour cinnamon and licorice syrup into bottom of flute glass. Mix orange simple syrup, sour mix and soda water in cocktail shaker with a bit of ice to chill it and stir well. Strain, and pour carefully, layering if possible, over the darker syrup base. Top with some clear soda water to keep the top as light as possible. Serve.

My Thoughts:

I wish this was more distinctive in look from the Black Lagoon, when the drinks are both blending light into dark. Next time I make this I will consider ice as a barrier from the two elements mixing. I made this as an afterthought, feeling like I needed one more offering for this blog. I have not tested it on my family yet and me mom is not here to tell me the drink is terrific. (I stand alone in my household, with no licorice loving companions, what ever will I do?)

If you have been enjoying this, I would love to hear from you! A shout out to those in the UK who have been following and in the USA – Hi Y’all! Did you know that in the UK Licorice is spelled Liquorice? Yup! Just a small fact you may —or may not— care about.

 

Test Tube Shooters

Three Halloween Test Tube Shooters. From left to right: Snake Venom, Beetle Juice & Dragon's Breath.

Three Halloween Test Tube Shooters. From left to right: Snake Venom, Beetle Juice & Dragon’s Breath.

Halloween approaches. In a week my two girls will be out in full costume knocking on doors and filling their bag with loot.

For our family, halloween is about the dressing up and the spooky setting, about the fun of carving pumpkins and creativity.  Our decor is based on real scary things: spiders, snakes and scarecrows and later closer to halloween, jack-o’-lanterns and if possible the fog machine going just outside the door.

Being a mom of two girls has meant keeping the spooky and terrifying at bay, or be plagued with two small children with nightmares for weeks. Now that my eldest is maturing, she is able to differentiate real from imaginary, and is finding the world of myth and folklore fascinating. My youngest is asking for stories of elves, fairies, dragons and unicorns, and I am now the creator of magical tales in our home that both children are waiting to hear before bed.

So for my first venture into Halloween drink making – I have chosen to blend a little of the real with a little of the imagined in these three test tube shooters.

Snake Venom

The idea came to make a snake venom as I was working through scary liquids commonly held in test tubes. In chatting with my local pharmacist and friend, she tells me that snake venom is actually being used now in medicine! I can’t say that my beverage will have any healing effects – but it does have a bite.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 oz Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (preferably yellow)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice (bottled)
  • 1/4 oz caramel syrup
  • 1/2 oz black pepper syrup (recipe below)
Procedure:

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail mixer with a few ice cubes. Shake well and strain into two 1 oz shot glasses or test tubes. Makes two 1 oz shots.

My Thoughts:

My eldest daughter, niece and I love this drink. It is spicy, sour, bitter and sweet all at once. My youngest daughter isn’t sure what to think of it, and while my husband was willing to try it his comment was ” I wouldn’t choose it”.

Kid-o-metre 3/5 older kid drink
Taste: 4/5 
gotta love sweet and sour to like this
Simplicity: 4/5  
Two recipes to make, one that takes a little time.
Ingredient finding: 4/5 
may not find yellow grapefruit, depends on season


Black Pepper Syrup

I originally found this recipe when working through blackberry lemonade options online. (Someday I’ll tell you all about that! Dole foods provided me with the recipe) This syrup recipe is pretty easy and super versatile. Because the sweet and spicy blend upon cooking, having this pre made is essential if you wish to add a peppery flavour to a sweet drink.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup black pepper corns – cracked
2 cups water
2 cups white sugar

Smash black pepper in a ziplock bag and add to pot with water and sugar. Bring to a simmer on medium high heat until all the sugar is resolved and for about 5 minutes more. Allow to cool and strain into a air tight container. Keep in fridge until use.

My Thoughts:

the original recipe called for toasting the pepper corns before infusing them in the syrup. I had mixed peppercorns – red, green and black – and chose to leave them plain. I don’t know what the flavour would be like toasted, possibly darker? Next time I need some of this I will test that theory, but the plain version seems to work well for now.


Dragon’s Breath

This was inspired by my youngest, as we wandered through the grocery isles wasting time before a job interview. Being that she’s huge into fairy creatures, and we had recently watched Shrek 3 for a “movie dinner night”, she suggested making a spicy drink. Originally she had hoped the drink would be called Dragon’s acid, however I pointed out that most dragon’s have hot breath – and this became acceptable.

Coming up with the perfect drink for this became a challenge. Originally I purchased tomato juice, limes and jalepeno peppers, but my non spicy husband and kids made me start searching for alternatives. Being an Epicure fan, I immediately started searching for my red pepper jelly, and came across a secret stash of my friends habanero jelly, gifted to me almost a year ago.

So with that as the starting point, I went back to the research to come up with fruits that paired with this ingredient. What I found was many ideas, all based on jellies, salsa and sauces. No prob! I can adapt that to a drink – sez I! So back to the kitchen, and to the fridge to pull out bottles of juice, specialty syrups and frozen juices I created earlier.

In order to come up with the best combo I tried a number of ideas – mint, grapefruit and jelly; garlic, tomato juice, lime and jelly; cranberry, honey, sour mix and jelly; and finally raspberries. Of all the combos my family and my spicy loving in-laws tried, this is the one that rocked it!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 oz raspberry juice (recipe below) or store bought
  • 1/2 oz black pepper syrup
  • 1 tsp red habanero pepper jelly
  • 1 1/2 oz chopped fresh sweet red bell peppers
Procedure:

Muddle pepper syrup, red pepper jelly and fresh bell peppers in bottom of a cocktail mixer. Add 4-5 ice cubes and shake well. Add raspberry juice and shake to blend flavours. Strain into two shot glasses (1 oz each) or test tubes.

My thoughts:

Normally raspberry juice is so strong that it needs sweet to mellow it out. Incredibly enough, spicy will also do the trick! Who knew!

Can’t wait to unleash this on my daughters, who were both in bed by the time I had this all figured out.

I made my own raspberry juice – using frozen raspberries and blending them with water. In some locations you can get red raspberry juice easily, if so and it’s tart, go for it! In my town, not a possibility. you can find the recipe below.

Kid-o-metre ?/5 will keep you posted, my niece who is a teen loved it.
Taste: 5/5 
wow even my hubby liked it!
Simplicity: 4/5  
One recipes to make. One ingredient to find.
Ingredient finding: 5/5
 Red pepper jelly can substitute, making this easy to find all the ingredients for if you have internet and a credit card.


 Raspberry Juice
Ingredients:

1 bag frozen raspberries
2 cups water
1 tbsp citric acid

Heat berries in water to boiling. Turn down and simmer 10 minutes. Strain and press to get all juice out of berries. Add citric acid and stir to mix well. Store in fridge or pour into ice cube trays and freeze for later use.


Beetle Juice

It is said that some beetles have orangish blood. Since this next drink blends the bite of habanero peppers with the sweetness of cranberry and orange, I thought the name fitting. One may say that all drinks named this should be black and white, or that if one asked three times for this shooter, some ghoulish creature will appear and make your life miserable (or is that the cat in the hat?), so if you decide you want a third dose of this great halloween shooter – maybe ask for it by it’s scientific name: Coleoptera juice.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/2 oz concentrated frozen orange juice
  • 1 tsp habanero jelly (the red stuff)
Procedure:

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail mixer with 2-3 ice cubes. Shake well to blend in jelly, strain into two shot glasses (1 oz each) or test tubes.

My thoughts:

Habenaro Jelly is the key ingredient in this recipe, but I can’t tell you where to buy it because I am lucky enough to have a super jelly making friend who keeps me topped up every christmas. The one jar often lasts our “non-spicy” family for the full year. There are plenty of recipes for DIY habenaro jelly, I would recommend one that keeps to simple ingredients without any added flavouring components – like on Food52 or My Pantry Shelf. Epicure makes a decent red pepper jelly, that can substitute for the real thing in a pinch.

My spice lovin’ niece and her mom both enjoyed this one. While I am not a fan of super hot flavours, this is a more gentle drink due to the sweetness of the cranberry. The spice is a slow burn that creeps up, so again if you have more than one… beware!

Kid-o-metre 3/5 older kid drink, the sweetness hits first then the spice.
Taste: 4/5 
some in my family are not fans of spicy concoctions. what are your thoughts?
Simplicity: 4/5  
If you can find the jelly, it’s a cinch to make.
Ingredient finding: 4/5 
When I find the jelly anywhere other than in my kitchen, I’ll let you know where to buy it!

Stay tuned for new halloween creations in next ten days!