Red Bird

It's been a minute since I last shared a cocktail and shame on me because what's Aloha Friday without a refreshing pau hana (after work) beverage?! I'll tell you what it is, it's less fun! So in honor of an awesomely spooky Friday (the thirteenth), I'm sharing my Red Bird with you. This blood orange, bourbon, and spice cocktail, is a such a beauty. It's gorgeous claret color draws you in immediately, emphasized by the contrasting orange provided by the thick spiral of orange zest wrapped around the ice sphere, and the spicy-citrus flavors pair perfectly with a smooth bourbon like Bulleit. If you're thinking most cocktails don't use orange juice for a reason (too sweet, not tart enough), reconsider that thought when approaching blood orange cocktails. Most blood oranges are somewhat tart, so they'll still pack that familiar, albeit more subtle, citrus punch you look for in your favorite lemon or lime based cocktails.

A quick note, this recipe uses a cardamom simple syrup that takes a couple days to steep. You can sub in regular old simple syrup if you're dying to make this today and add an extra drop of bitters instead, however, I do recommend making the cardamom simple syrup if you have time. The cardamom adds a layer of warmness, making this refreshing cocktail perfect for both those colder wintery days as well as the warmer winter days we've been having here in LA. But enough from me, today's all about pau hana Friday! Happy Aloha Friday, you guys. Cheers to the (freakin') weekend, I drink to that, yeah yeah!!

Red Bird: Blood Orange, Bourbon, and Spice

Makes one serving


  • 2-1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 2 oz. freshly squeezed blood orange juice 
  • 1/2 oz. cardamom simple syrup
  • 3-4 drops Blackstrap bitters
  • Thick spiral of orange zest spiral (whole orange)
  • Ice sphere


  • 1 Tbsp. cardamom pods

  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. filter water


  • Cocktail shaker
  • 1/2 oz. and 1 oz. jigger
  • Ice (for shaker)
  • Old fashioned glass
  • Paring knife (for orange zest)
  • Small saucepan
  • Fine mesh strainer


  1. Wrap ice sphere with orange zest spiral and place in chilled old fashioned glass.
  2. Add bourbon, blood orange juice, cardamom simple syrup, and bitters to cocktail shake, fill shaker with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds. 
  3. Strain into old fashioned glass (with orange zest spiral wrapped ice sphere).
  4. Serve and enjoy.


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat on high until it boils and sugar has dissolved completely. 

  2. Let cool to room temperature then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 2 days.
  3. Strain cardamom seeds through fine mesh sieve and discard.
  4. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.