Cocktail Party

Blood Orange Radler

January 11, 2023
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

There is something about winter that makes me crave citrus. Maybe it’s because growing up I was always in charge of making fresh grapefruit juice for Christmas and the day after my mother’s birthday. Or maybe it’s because I’m a huge fruit-eater and all other fruits are essentially flavorless in New York City during colder months. Whatever the reason, when the temp drops, my thoughts turn to all varieties of tart seasonal fruits like tangerines, grapefruits, blood orange, yuzu, and Meyer lemons— to name a few.

One of my favorite ways to incorporate citrus into my life is by combining them in all manner of cocktails, like this Radler variation that features IPA, lemon soda, blood orange, and Meyer lemon; plus a delicious non-alcoholic aperitif, Ghia, that’s flavored with botanicals such as rosemary, ginger, and gentian. You are free to use any manner of hoppy IPA you like, but my preference is to use a fully non-alcoholic one to make this drink as accessible as possible, although even if you used a regular IPA, this drink would be extremely low-proof—the equivalent of drinking half a can of beer.

When building non-alcoholic drinks, you need to make every ingredient count. Alcohol is, among other things, a great solvent, meaning it picks up and keeps aromatic elements much more efficiently than water. (For a great example of this, try putting a black tea bag in one cup of water versus one cup of vodka, and compare the two after ten minutes.) The key to making sure your non-alcoholic drinks pack the same oomph as your higher-ABV drinks is to layer and nest flavors. Here we’re infusing plain honey with citrus peels, and using no water or ice that would supply flavorless dilution. Supporting this effort is the wood-aged and thyme-infused vinegar to give a complex hit of acidity.
John deBary

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Blood Orange Radler
  • Radler
  • 1 12-ounce can IPA (with or without alcohol), chilled
  • 1 12-ounce can lemon soda, such as Spindrift, chilled
  • 2 ounces blood orange juice
  • 1 ounce meyer lemon juice (or plain lemon juice)
  • 1 ounce Ghia non-alcoholic aperitif
  • 1 ounce citrus-infused honey (see below)
  • 1/2 ounce Food52 wood-aged sweet white vinegar with thyme
  • Citrus-Infused Honey
  • 2 blood oranges, washed
  • 2 meyer lemons, washed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  1. In a glass (or small shaking tin) combine blood orange juice, lemon juice, Ghia, citrus-infused honey, and vinegar and stir quickly to dissolve the honey. Set aside.
  2. In two large water glasses or beer steins, pour 6 ounces (ie. half) of the beer and lemon soda into each glass. Then split the honey-juice-vinegar-Ghia mixture evenly between the two glasses; about 2 ½ ounces each. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with a half-wheel of blood orange perched on the rim of the glass and dusted with pink flake salt.
  3. To make the infused honey, in a small container or bowl, zest oranges and lemons. Pour honey over the top and leave, covered, on the countertop for 5 hours. Then strain out solids using a tea strainer or sieve. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

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