It is often joked about, but with more than a wisp of truth, that just as New Orleans has no respect for traditional directional points on a compass used by the rest of the world, we have the same disdain for seasonal labels.
And since we don’t enjoy the usual attributes of all four seasons, we have created calendar and weather designations of our own. We look forward to the many pleasures of crawfish about the same time other locales are welcoming spring. Summer around here is a season we experience but it is defined by Creole tomatoes and strawberries along with all manner of fresh vegetables and gifts from the waters that surround us.
Right now, instead of a season inappropriately named “Fall,” we are set for trout, redfish and citrus that will make you cry it’s so beautiful and bountiful. Since our area is not associated with producing great citrus, I can only assume that oversight by the rest of the world is due to the fact that we don’t send the fruit out to regional or national markets but consume it ourselves, all we can get our hands on.
While others preach the benefits and exhort whomever will listen to their entreaties about “staying local” in the selection of raw ingredients for dining, we have been going about that philosophy for almost 300 years. No need to raise your voice or brag about local wares, we just thought that’s what everybody did until a few folks from the left coast started to preach about what they had just discovered: the benefits of eating what is fresh and comes from nearby. Then we scratched our heads and tried to understand the fuss over this new idea as we browsed the wares at the French Market, America’s oldest open air, fresh-goods market which dates back to colonial times.
But, as usual, I digress. Now is the season of oranges, blood oranges and satsumas. The latter, satsumas, for those of you recently arrived to Heaven on Earth, are of Chinese origin and were brought to South Louisiana by the Jesuits. Planted originally upriver at the Jesuit Plantation, many trees were relocated to Plaquemines Parish, a warmer climate, to avoid freezes during harvest season.
Satsumas are relatively small oranges with an intensely sweet flavor and a thin skin, which makes peeling easy.
Today, blood oranges are primarily grown in Italy and Spain. Oh, and in Plaquemines Parish. The meat of this citrus, about the same size as a naval orange, has a red pigment due to anthocyanins, an anti-oxidant common to flowers and some fruit but uncommon in citrus. Some blood oranges are sweet, but not overly so, while others are tart – which makes them an ideal core ingredient in marmalade.
For our purposes, we embrace these seasonal delights because they are absolutely amazing in cocktails. Never pass up an opportunity to make use of these fresh specialties in your drinking regime.
Blood Orange and Bourbon
- ½ cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (strain the pulp if you wish)
- 3-5 tablespoons bourbon (depends on how boozy you want it)
- 2-3 drops of Angostura bitters
- splash of sparkling water
- orange slices & sprigs of mint, for garnish
Mix & serve!
(Alternatively, omit the sparkling water, shake everything in a cocktail shaker with ice and serve in a rocks glass).
Thanks to Love & Lemons
Blood Orange Gin & Tonic
- 1 1/2 ounces (45ml) gin
- 2 ounces (60ml) fresh blood orange juice
- couple dashes orange bitters
- about 4 ounces (120ml) tonic water
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add gin, blood orange juice, and orange bitters.
Top with tonic water and gently stir. Garnish with a blood orange slice and serve
Thanks to whiteonricecouple.com
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz Bayou Satsuma
- 1 oz lime juice
- Top with ginger beer
Build over ice
Thanks to Bayou Rum
- 1 satsuma orange, peeled and sectioned
- Crushed ice
- 1/2 cup dry gin
- 1/2 cup fresh satsuma orange juice (about 2 satsumas)
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur)
- Satsuma orange rind (optional)
Rinse satsuma sections in cold water. Drain; freeze 30 minutes or until firm.
Place crushed ice in a martini shaker. Add gin, juice, and Grand Marnier to shaker; shake well. Strain 1/2 cup gin mixture into each of 2 martini glasses. Add 4 frozen satsuma sections to each glass. Garnish with rind, if desired.
Thanks to myrecipes.com
Satsuma Orange Margarita
For the Glass Rim:
- 1 teaspoon satsuma orange zest
- 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
For the Drink:
- 6 fluid ounces tequila of choice
- 4 fluid ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
- 16 fluid ounces satsuma orange juice (from about 12 oranges)
- 4 fluid ounces Cointreau or triple sec
On a small plate, mix together the orange zest, granulated sugar and salt. Rub a juiced lime around each of the glasses' rims and dip them into the sugar/salt mixture.
To make one cocktail, add a few ice cubes to a glass. Pour in 1 1/2 fluid ounces of tequila, 1 fluid ounce of lime juice, 4 fluid ounces satsuma orange juice and 1 fluid of Cointreau or triple sec; stir to combine. Repeat with the remaining cocktails. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 cocktails
Thanks to Adrianna Adarme, Fresh Tastes, at pbs.org.
Read Happy Hour here on MyNewOrleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored, at www.wgso.com. Also check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine. Be sure to watch "Appetite for Life" every Thursday evening at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m., on WLAE-TV, Channel 32 in New Orleans. Aired episodes are available for viewing here.