Citrus Blossom Sangria
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You know it’s officially springtime in Los Angeles when the air suddenly fills with the indescribable perfume of citrus blossoms a-blossoming. One minute you are stuck in traffic, disgruntled and wheezing from Smog Lung, and the very next you are twirling in circles and frolicking with your arms thrown wide, basking in the the fragrance of the gods. It happens that quick. Hopefully, you pulled over first. It is truly how we know that spring has sprung, because let’s be honest…otherwise we would have no clue.

I obsess over my citrus trees this time of year. I talk to them. I stand under them for long stretches of time with a doofy grin on my face and after the neighbors are already giving me side-eye, I stuff my pockets with the fallen blossoms so that the smell comes with me wherever I go. And so this year, I decided I would take my weird blossom-stalker tendencies one step further AND DRINK THEM like a total psychopath. Might as well…might as damned well.

To make this lovely libation, you must start by collecting fresh blossoms. Resist the overwhelming urge to confetti-toss them on the ground and roll in them.

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Before you can cocktail, you’ve got to make your citrus blossom simple syrup. And the first step towards that is making citrus-blossom water.

There are three ways you can do this:

A). Buy orange-blossom water here because: Amazon.

B). Cook down the blossoms in a pot on the stove.

3). Let the blossoms diffuse in distilled water in a jar in the sun for about a week.

If you do either of the latter, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup washed citrus blossom petals (stems and centers removed)
  • 2 cups distilled water

Muddle your blossoms really well in either the bottom of your distilling jar, or in the bottom of a saucepan. If you’re jarring them to sit in the sun, add your water, seal the jar tight, and set it in the sun. Wait a week or so until the fragrance is to your liking. If you’re cooking on the stove, place your water and muddled blossoms over low heat, and let it warm up gradually until it’s almost boiling. Don’t actually boil them. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down (or if they have been distilling in the sun, bring them in and let them cool) and strain the blossoms from the water.

Now to make simple syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange blossom water

In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, and lemon juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add your blossom water, and let the whole thing cool. Recipe adapted from maureenabood.com.

Now for cocktails.

  • Slice up several types of colorful citrus–any combo, but something like one pink grapefruit, one blood orange, one orange, and one lime, and toss into the bottom of a pitcher.
  • 1/2 cup Citrus Blossom simple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Elderflower Liqueur
  • 3/4 cup Cointreau
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh citrus blossoms (reserve a few for garnish)

Dump all ingredients into the pitcher, and give it a good stir. Refrigerate for several hours to let those juices mingle.

When ready to drink, pour over ice in a lowball glass, and garnish with a bit of sangria-soaked fruit and a few blossoms.

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I’m not sure a photograph has ever more accurately depicted my life.