Bourbon and Blood Orange Blast

Today's happy hour starter represents collaboration at its finest. First there was this beautiful image I found on someone else's board on Pinterest, which lead me to the source of this awesome cocktail recipe, which lead to finding an excuse to try this new drink.

So now excuse = large dinner party which means I will need to make A LOT of these. And of course new drink recipe = blog photo op. The problem with that is it's hard to stage a photo op when 14 people are coming for dinner in 40 minutes. In steps my good friend and photographer Michael Rubottom, who just happened to be here for dinner. Voilà - now I have a massive quantity of drinks, food AND a great photo for today. Collaboration is a beautiful thing.

Now on to the drink of the day. Granted the name, Bourbon and Blood Orange Blast, does sound very catchy. However, a closer look at the recipe revealed only 2 ingredients - 3 if you count the garnish and that just didn't seem complex enough for a "signature drink" to kick off my party. A simple way - pun intended, to add layers to a drink is a homemade simple syrup. It's a fast, easy and very versatile way to infuse flavors. Get crazy - fresh thyme, jalapeno, maple syrup, lemongrass, fig leaves - all of these make great syrups.

Bourbon and Blood Orange Blast (Enhanced)

(Makes approximately 20 servings)

3 cups high quality Bourbon - I like this one and it's very reasonably priced at Trader Joe's

5 cups fresh blood orange juice

2 cups ginger/mint/rosemary simple syrup

slices of blood orange and bunch of mint for garnish

Pour all ingredients in a large punch bowl, stir and allow to rest for 30 minutes prior to serving so flavors can meld. Float orange slices and mint. Add ice to the cocktail glasses - NOT the punch bowl.

Ginger/Mint/Rosemary Simple Syrup

1 lg ginger root peeled and sliced

1 sprig of rosemary

1 bunch of fresh mint

1 cup of raw or brown sugar for more depth. Use white sugar if the brown color will have a negative impact on the appearance of the drink - like a lemon drop.

2 cups of water

Bring water and sugar to a boil, stir, add other ingredients and turn down to simmer for at least 20 minutes. Cool completely and strain.