Six-Citrus Gin Punch

Although spring has certainly not come to Vermont yet, the days are longer and I'm definitely sensing the impending arrival of my favorite season. What better way to celebrate than with a colorful, fresh punch that we can use to toast the return of the sun!


You're likely wondering why this is called a "six-citrus" gin punch. Yes indeed, this drink features six different cirtusy flavors! My goal here was to create a symphony of citrus, celebrating its diverse qualities and colors. It's great for this time of year, when citrus season is still going strong, but we're all dreaming of summer.

This cocktail is like a sunrise. It's the most gorgeous yellow-pink-orange color, and has such a cheery, complex citrusy flavor. I've shown it both with and without an Empress 1908 Gin float, since it's totally optional (but oh so much fun).


Four of the citrus flavors come from fresh-squeezed fruit. I used juice from a mixture of tangerines, Cara Cara oranges, blood oranges, and pink grapefruits. Tangerines are super sweet and almost jammy in taste, while Cara Cara (or Navel, if you prefer) have a more classic orange flavor. Blood oranges are much more earthy, and contribute such amazing color. Finally, grapefruit is bitter, rounding out the sweetness of the oranges.

The remaining two citrus flavors come from liqueurs. There's some Limoncello for both tartness and sweetness, and some Campari for bitterness. The latter basically acts like bitters in this drink, lending an important counterpoint to the freshness of the fruits. Adding a dash of bitters to any punch makes it so much deeper and more interesting in flavor, and keeps the punch from feeling overly juice-like.

Oh, and then I garnished it with a mandarinquot and kumquat, so there are actually eight different citrus elements here... but those can be a bit tricky to find so I'm not counting them in the official total.


One of the things I really like about this drink is that you can make it work for you. Choose your favorite citrus fruits and use what looks best! Any combination of oranges or grapefruits will be delightful; just try to balance sweet, tart, and bitter flavors. If you end up with sweeter fruits, compensate with a bit of additional Campari; likewise, if you end up with more bitter or tart fruits, compensate with a bit of additional Limoncello. I do recommend trying to find blood oranges though, because the color is just fabulous.

You can also rim the glass in sugar if you like, as shown below. (Clearly this is a drink I've made many times, with many different variations). The sugar rim is just so fun and festive.



Let's not forget about the gin! I think gin and citrus pair beautifully, and you can see here that I've used my go-to: Barr Hill from Caledonia Spirits in Vermont. I think the floral and herbaceous flavors of the gin go so nicely with the symphony of citrus, but you could do this drink with vodka if you prefer a more straightforward approach. 

And then that beautiful purple float! Clearly I have a bit of an Empress obsession right now, as evidenced by last months' Unicorn Cocktail. I recommend this gin so highly if you can get your hands on it. Its purple color is natural, thanks to butterfly pea flower, and it's just so fun to work with.

 

When it comes to citrus, the more the better! I love its diverse colors and flavors and shapes. Citrus season is such a bright spot during the dark winter, but I actually enjoy citrus most this time of year when I'm starting to think about lighter flavors.

Wouldn't this be a lovely accompaniment to a spring brunch? Or you can take this drink into summer, perhaps by adding some mint or blackberries, which would be perfect for a deck party or BBQ. We've even brought various versions of this cocktail on hiking picnics. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy it, I hope it brings some sunshine to your day!


Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Looking for another gin cocktail that's citrusy and perfect for spring or summer? Then check out this Blackberry-Limoncello Gin Smash!

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)

  • 3-4 oz mixed citrus juice. As described above, I like a mixture of tangerine, Cara Cara orange, blood orange, and pink grapefruit, but do what makes you happy. Any single piece of citrus will yield enough juice for about one drink (although it varies significantly!), so aim to have at least one piece of citrus per drink that you're planning on making.
  • 1.5-2 oz gin
  • 0.25-0.5 oz Limoncello
  • Scant 0.25 oz Campari
  • Optional but awesome: 0.5 oz Empress 1908 Gin float
Thoughts About Method
(These are just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Sugar the rims of your glasses if you like. Totally optional, but it makes this punch feel so festive!
  2. Juice your citrus and combine it as you see fit. Taste as you go to make sure you like the balance of sweetness, tartness, and bitterness.
  3. To a cocktail shaker, add the citrus juice, gin, Limoncello, and Campari. Shake with ice, give it a taste, and adjust as you like. Add a dash of Limoncello if you want it sweeter, a very tiny dash of Campari it you want more complexity and bitterness, or a dash of juice if you want it less strong.
  4. Serve over ice and garnish with a piece or a couple pieces of citrus.
  5. If you want that gorgeous purple layer, add a small float of Empress 1908 Gin at the end!

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