Freshly-Squeezed Cocktails

Blood Oranges, Grapefruits and Finger Limes, all in season this winter

Like I wrote in last week’s Daily Dinner, we love the colorful and bright fruits that come along with winter—even if winter itself isn’t always so great. It’s almost ironic that winter is the peak season for so much great citrus, as good citrus, with its neon color palette and zings of flavor reminds us so much of summer.

During the winter, we love buying huge bags of citrus so that we always have fresh juice in the fridge. It’s a nice pick-me-up for a gray day and always a perfect chaser to a cup of coffee in the morning.

Laura Ratliff enjoying a cocktail made with the graffiti cocktail shaker in NYC

We hadn’t mixed up a batch of cocktails in awhile, busy with holidays and travels and family, so when we finally got a moment to breathe yesterday, we stocked up on our citrus favorites, filled up our fancy new graffiti cocktail shaker (a Christmas gift to Ryan) with ice and went to work.

Blood oranges still rank as my favorite fruit in the citrus family, but I had never used them in a cocktail before. Their bright color and adaptable flavor is perfect for cocktails.

Blood Orange Cocktail made with campari, famous grouse scotch and mezcal

Inspired by a bit of Internet research, our finished blood orange cocktail consisted of 2 ounces of mezcal, 1 ounce of fresh blood orange juice, a 1/2 ounce of lime juice, a 1/4 ounce of Campari, and a 1/4 ounce of simple syrup. We shook it, strained it into a chilled rocks glass and then floated 1/4 ounce of Famous Grouse blended scotch for an additional smoky hit.

The drink was a perfect combo of tart thanks to the oranges, bitter because of the Campari and smoky, thanks to the mezcal and the scotch. It was an easy drinker and the neon hue would make it a cheery addition to a dreary winter day.

Finger Limes in season

Our next drink was a complete experimentation, thanks to a newly discovered ingredient: finger limes. Have you heard of them?

The exterior of the limes more closely resembles a pepper (or a miniature cucumber) than a traditional lime and their dimpled, multi-colored skins have a wonderful herbaceous smell, almost akin to mint. Cut one open and you find hundreds of minuscule little pink or green lime “bubbles” that burst with tart flavor when you eat them. The interior is also called “citrus caviar,” and it’s easy to see why.

Not wanting to overwhelm the finger lime’s uniqueness, we kept it simple in this drink, choosing to riff on a classic lime gimlet.

I stirred two ounces of gin with a 1/2 ounce of lime juice and strained the mixture into a coupe, then topped with some Johnnie Ryan cane sugar soda that we had on hand.

Finger Lime Gimlet with seasonally fresh finger limes and soda

Next, I sliced one of the limes into thin slices and then gave the rounds a good squeeze, letting the little translucent orbs fall into the glass. I dropped the slices in too and we were rewarded with a sweet, herbal drink punctuated by the citrus bite from Pop Rocks-like limes floating in it.

Cocktail or not, these limes add an interesting touch to any drink. Even a glass of tap water becomes playful and interesting with these floating in your glass.

Finally, with our grapefruits, we went with a brunch-time favorite, the Salty Dog. The Salty Dog is a very simple drink, and you may have to keep an eye out so that you don’t drink too many, especially if you love grapefruit juice as much as we do! (We can seriously go through gallons of it.)

A Salty Dog, the brunch classic with grapefruit and gin or vodka

Start off by running a slice of grapefruit around the rim of your glass to moisten it. Then, rim the glass with salt and a just a bit of sugar. We used sea salt here (which sometimes doesn’t stick as well), but any salt will work fine.

In a salt-rimmed Collins glass, add ice, 2 ounces of gin and top with freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice. Stir, then garnish with a grapefruit wedge and any other citrus you might have around. The sweet-salty-bitter combo is great, with or without the gin.

A salty dog cocktail made with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

These cocktails also have a few legitimate health benefits, so if you’re sticking to a healthful New Year’s resolution, not all is lost by having one of these tipples.

Grapefruit is loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C and lycopene, that handy antioxidant also found in tomatoes, whereas blood oranges have folic acid and anthocyanins, a natural anti-inflammatory that nutrition experts believe to help prevent cancer, diabetes and bacterial infections.

A group of cocktails made with different citrus fruits. Blood oranges, limes, grapefruits and finger limes

Cocktails that are good for you? Maybe winter isn’t so bad after all.

- Laura

P.S. We get a lot of e-mails asking about what we use in each post: where we get our ingredients, what ice trays we use, etc., so when it’s applicable, we’ll be adding a “What We Used” at the end of each post with the links to the products we use and love.

What We Used: Graffiti Cocktail Shaker // Tovolo Perfect Cube Tray // Tovolo King Cube Tray // Citrus from FreshDirect

On Laura: Tights and Skirt from J. Crew // Rodarte Love/Hate Sweatshirt from Opening Ceremony // Rio Rio Lipstick from Topshop

P.P.S. Do you follow us on Facebook and Twitter yet?


  1. Kristen
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 20:23:28

    What a refreshing bit of sunshine for a cold day. Lovely!


  2. Rhonda
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 12:50:06

    Fresh squeezed juice is for breakfast right? I may start drinking in the morning now ;)


  3. Yossy | apt2bbakingco
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 13:00:02

    These drinks are gorgeous! I’ve always wanted to try finger limes, did you use them in any savory preparations?


    • Smith & Ratliff
      Jan 12, 2012 @ 11:50:57

      I haven’t yet, but I’ve heard that they’re amazing on raw oysters.


  4. Kasey
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 01:14:57

    I love winter citrus (I think it’s winter’s way of giving a little back ;). Your drinks look beautiful!


  5. julie
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 01:32:57

    These look delicious! Can it be summer again?!

    Check out our blog and do some shopping!!
    xx Julie xx


  6. Dora
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 06:52:15

    Mmm.. ok, now tell me, who can’t live without coctails in any season? Now, off I go to grab one!:-)


  7. Amy Parker Anderson
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 09:29:24

    Count me in Rhonda….. a blood orange cocktail would be a great brunch addition!

    But seriously, looks delicious….. it’s on my cocktail menu for the weekend! Also, great idea to add a “What We Used” section to the end of y’alls posts.



  8. Createlive
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 16:10:52

    Ok, I was so confused for a second when I saw the graffiti cocktail shaker! That is too funny. Looks absolutely delicious :)
    -Carly @ Createlive


  9. Food porn Friday: Salty Dog | Calgary Herald
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 12:01:50

    […] cruising around for some Friday Food Porn that I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this luscious Salty Dog cocktail from Smith and Ratliff. The photos drew me in, the recipe had me making weekend plans and […]


  10. Chiot's Run
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 16:55:08

    MMMM, I have not heard of finger limes and I’m not quite sure how. I’m not much of a cocktail drinker, but I love citrus and have a fruit of the month subscription this winter so I might be making these – thanks for the inspiration!


  11. Wendy @ Salt and Wine
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 21:40:44

    That Salty Dog is making my mouth water!


  12. Friday Happy Hour: Winter Citrus Cocktail « like your teeth
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 14:49:17

    […] I love cocktails. They remind me of summer and vacations. I rarely have them in the winter because there is something about cold weather than makes me want to drink red wine and eat red meat. This past weekend I got bored of  wine and decided to try making a cocktail from the blood oranges I have seen popping up in grocery stores and markets during this time of year. I was also inspired by this post. […]


  13. Melissa Case
    Jan 21, 2012 @ 14:24:42

    Wahooie! We’re in the midst of Winter hara kari ’round here; snow and ice are falling, so I’m playing “chemist” with my liquor cabinet. I made the “Winter Splash” this morning and, though I wasn’t sure about it at first, I absolutely loved it. Moving on to the Salty Dog this afternoon. Thank you!


  14. super mode
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 22:38:35

    So pretty! <3


  15. Ashley Faye
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 10:43:35

    Just found your blog and I love it! We talked about finger limes this time last year.. can’t wait for spring to get here fully and get totally citrus!


    • Smith & Ratliff
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 15:25:59

      Thanks Ashley!

      We’re dying to get back outside ourselves and sip a few of these. -RS


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