Today marks the last day before the Roman Catholic period of Lent, a holiday celebrated in some form in virtually every continent across the globe.

In Brazil, it is celebrated as Carnival, a raucous party that takes over the whole city of Rio de Janeiro.

In the U.S. it is Mardi Gras, or literally Fat Tuesday, where revelers wear masks and sometimes embarrass themselves for cheap plastic beads (which is probably why they wear masks).

orange hurlersMy favorite celebration of the day, however, has got to be the one which occurs in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea.  The Carnival of Ivrea is best known for its Battle of the Oranges, which every year turns the small town into a mass of fruit-flinging madness.

Said to be one of the most ancient carnivals in the world, the celebration retells an ancient story:  somewhere around the year 1000,  a count named Arduino tried to exercise his right to sleep with a newly-wedded girl on her wedding night.  The young wife, however, wanted nothing to do with him and killed the libidinous tyrant.   Now, every year the citizens commemorate their liberation from the concupiscent count by throwing oranges at each other….  hard.

What better day, then, to unveil my newest tea cocktail?  I call it the Bloody Punch, and while the name sounds a bit graphic, it is far better than an orange hurled at your face.

Bloody Punch

2 oz. vodka (recommended TRU Vodka)

1/4 oz. triple sec

1/4 oz. Crimson Punch syrup (get recipe here)

2 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed blood orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake well and serve in a martini glass.