The table as the gravitational center of our lives.

Blood Orange Vodka Martini

“I think she’s the saddest girl ever to hold a martini.” -The stunningly beautiful Penélope Cruz as professional dancer & dream-woman Sofía Serrano in the 2001 Cameron Crowe film Vanilla Sky

It hovered around the 20ºF mark all day today in New York City.  They’re calling it a “deep freeze” on the news.  (I’m calling it a worsening of symptoms in the “Winter Blues” department.)  My breath was forming, like, cumulonimbus clouds outside, you guys.  Between this and the holiday blizzard, I think I’ve had enough of winter for one year unless someone puts me on a snowboard at the top of Vail very, very soon.  Believe me, I need all the mental summer imagery I can muster right now.

And this week, that summer imagery came in the form of 4 perfect, juicy blood oranges.  I get excited every year when the first good citrus starts making its way to the market right after the holidays.  Citrus, to me, speaks of warmer days and sunshine, of large sunglasses and little dresses, of poolsides and docksides.  And doesn’t that sound divine right now?  *Sigh…..*

Back when I was a student at RISD, I remember there was this nice sloping lawn in the front of the main dormitory with a big sculpture standing in the middle of it.  Everyone would lay around on the grass when the weather was nice, smoking Parliaments, doodling in sketchbooks, eating sandwiches from Geoff’s.  We all affectionately referred to the lawn as the “RISD Beach.”  Of course, it isn’t a beach at all, but the idea was that you were supposed to use your imagination since you were at art school and all.  I always loved that.  You could say that I flexed a similar muscle of my imagination last night when I got the hankering to use my blood oranges for a perfectly respectable cause:  a pretty martini that should really be in my hand while a bikini is on my bod.  I thought that maybe if I got sloshed enough on them, my wood floors would start to look like sand and the desperate sounds of my HVAC system trying to maintain a livable temperature would start to pass for a gentle ocean breeze.  I would drape myself across my sofa/poolside chaise and take occasional dips in the bathtub.  Sputnik would fan me with the dried-out, leftover branches from the Christmas tree.

Well, it didn’t work.  It’s still winter, and I’m still cold.  But I did get to drink a few absolutely delicious martinis and write you all a post about it on the internet.

Ingredients:

2 oz. good-quality vodka (NOTE:  I used Grey Goose.)

2 oz. freshly-squeezed blood orange juice

1/4 oz. simple syrup  (NOTE:  Simple syrup is equal parts water and sugar brought to a boil, and then allowed to cool.  It keeps for a while in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.)

1/4 oz. triple sec (NOTE:  I used Hiram Walker.)

Twist from the peel of the blood orange or from a lemon.  (NOTE:  There is a nice little video demonstration of how to make this here.)

Ice

Instructions:

1.  Before starting, place a clean martini glass in the freezer to chill.

2.  Using a cocktail jigger, measure the vodka, blood orange juice, simple syrup, and triple sec into a cocktail shaker.  Fill up the rest of the cocktail shaker with ice, place the lid on, and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.  Remove chilled glass from the freezer and strain the shaker into the glass.  Drape the citrus twist over the rim of the glass and serve immediately.

Yield: 1 fancy glass full of fabulous

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