Blood oranges taste like sunshine in the middle of winter.
Blood Orange Sparkler
Makes six 5-ounce drinks
Blood oranges are a seasonal treat; look for them from December to May. They are grown throughout the Mediterranean as well as in California.
Planning ahead: Chill the sparkling wine for at least 30 minutes before making the cocktails.
1 blood orange
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons sweet vermouth
One 750-milliliter bottle sparkling wine, chilled
Blood orange slices for garnish
Using a sharp knife, cut off and discard the ends of the blood orange. Stand it upright on a cutting board and slice the rind and white pith off the fruit using a gentle downward sawing motion, cutting away as little of the flesh as possible. Discard the rinds.
Cut the fruit crosswise into ½-inch slices. Divide the slices evenly among the 6 wineglasses.
Sprinkle ½ teaspoon sugar into each glass and muddle to extract the orange juice. Add ½ teaspoon vermouth to each glass and stir.
Divide the sparkling wine among the glasses, stir, garnish with blood orange slices, and serve.
(* Excerpted from Raising the Bar by Nick Mautone (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2004. Photographs by Mette Randem)