I love the wonderful selection of citrus fruits in the grocery stores right now. ‘Tis the season, even way up here. The blood oranges are out, and the lovely organic grapefruits, and juicy clementines and Valencias, and oh, the Meyer lemons.
But those blood oranges always intrigue me. They blush so fiercely on the outside, and then you open them to find their dark and surprising interior, a young maiden hiding a warrior’s heart. (Forgive me – getting all maudlin here – they are just fruit – ah, but what fruit!)
I’ve heard them described as an orange with berry-like overtones, but I think the overtones are more of grape, with even a subtle hint of grapefruit behind it. They make wonderful jelly, and are a special treat to eat fresh. Andreas likes to take them in his school lunches to shock his friends as he greedily sucks the blood-coloured juice from a baggie of wedges. After all, the name can be off-puttingly gory (perfect to ‘gross out’ your teenage buddies).
I love blood orange juice mixed with the delicate flavour of elderflower. It’s a wonderful marriage and the perfect antidote to our plunge back into -20°C weather. There is a reason that citrus fruits are at their peak right while we northerners are in the deepest throes of our winter. The ying to our yang. They bring a little southern sunshine to our darkness, an easy way to brighten a cold winter afternoon.
I get the elderflower juice concentrate at Ikea. I like that there are no ingredients in it I can’t pronounce. Just sugar, water, elderflower extract and citric acid.
If you very carefully squeeze the blood orange juice into the soda, it will settle at the top, making a distinct bright pink layer. It looks so pretty, don’t you think?
This drink would make a beautiful Valentine’s day cocktail to share with a sweetie. (And a shot of vodka would turn it from soda to sublime.)
Blood Orange and Elderflower Soda
For each drink:
- 2 ice cubes
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) elderflower drink concentrate
- about ¾cup (180ml or 6 oz) club soda or carbonated water
- juice of half a blood orange
- slice of blood orange for garnish
Put the ice cubes into a large glass. Pour over the elderflower drink concentrate. Add enough soda to leave about ¾” (2cm) headroom at the top of the glass. Carefully squeeze in the the juice from the blood orange half, including its pulp, so that it floats on top of the soda.
Pop in a straw. And enjoy.