Weekly Cocktail #39: Blood On The Adriatic

Blood on the Adriatic.

Blood on the Adriatic.

After the detours of the holidays and Mixology Monday, we now resume our normal weekly cocktail schedule. And we are happily back at “work”. As for this week’s cocktail, it certainly checks a lot of our boxes for how we choose drinks. Seasonal ingredient? Check. Excuse to try a new type of booze? Check. Not too boozy? (it’s January, we’re a bit pickled from the holidays) Check….Oh, and does it tastes really good? Check.

blood3The Blood on the Adriatic combines blood orange juice, Amaro Montenegro and Aperol, shaken and strained into a cocktail glass. It is easy to make, uses the blood oranges that are in season, is barely stronger than a glass of wine, looks beautiful (IMHO)…and packs a lot of complimentary flavors. We based this cocktail off of the Adriatique Cocktail from Jackson Cannon at Boston’s Island Creek Oyster Bar.

blood4Serious Eats wrote this cocktail up a while ago and we loved it, with the sweet, acidic orange juice playing well with the herbal and bitter Amaro and the citrus and rhubarb of the Aperol. But both of us immediately thought the cocktail would be better (at least for us) with the more tart, berry-ish complexity of blood oranges. And we think we were right. The tart, acidic berry flavors add to the sweet orange and balances the bitter notes. This cocktail is very refreshing and has a wonderful aroma. And we will admit that we just love the color.

blood7As for the ingredients, you can find blood oranges in most good produce or farmers markets this time of year. We tend to prefer the deeply colored Moros, but all blood oranges will have that berry-ish flavor. As for Amaro Montenegro, it is a type of Italian “Amari”, a family of bittersweet, herbal liqueurs and digestifs (here is a good intro guide). Amaro Montenegro is one of the more “accessible” Amaro, it is sweeter and less bitter than most, with complex herb and honey notes and only about 25% alcohol. Aperol is basically Campari’s sweeter, lighter, and less bitter, boozy and “ashy” cousin. Aperol has lots of sweet citrus and rhubarb flavor with a bitter finish. Both the Aperol and Montenegro are good introductions to more bitter-flavored cocktail ingredients.

bloodWhile these may seem like disparate flavors to put in a cocktail, they all share a similarity. Each has sweet notes on its own, but is balanced by another flavor. Blood oranges have the tart berry flavors, Amaro Montenegro has herbal notes and the Aperol adds more fruit and a bitter finish. When you put them together you get a sip that starts with tart, moves to sweet, fruity and herbal and ends with a clean, slightly bitter finish. And for all that flavor, this cocktail is way less than half-strength, so you can have more than one. Good stuff? Check.

blood2Blood On The Adriatic:


  • 1 oz. blood orange juice
  • 1 oz. Amaro Montenegro
  • 1/2 oz. Aperol


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass, coupé or flute. Serve.

23 thoughts on “Weekly Cocktail #39: Blood On The Adriatic

    • Thanks! We wish we could get better detail on the patterns on the glass…very pretty.

      We have been trolling antique shows for stemware…getting a bit compulsive…

  1. love the color to and the spirits I never heard about before – your bar must be enormous – the photo with the orange with its leaf and halved one – is stunning … want to take a bit out of it .. it’s so juicy.
    Have a great weekend.

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  3. i hope you won’t get angry but I used this recipe to come up with our weekly aperitive here where i work.. i twisted it a bit coz i use mandarin instead of blood orange and also the spirit quantities are inverted in mine… italians dont understand the use of amari on cocktail.. not yet at least ehehe..
    anyway all of this is to say thank you for inspiration and for the really tasty drink.. which i had the chance to try.. and loved it..

    ps.. u guys have the best pics on the net

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