Spring In A Glass: The O.G. Cocktail

Mandarin CocktailOn a recent trip to Denver, I lunched at TAG Raw Bar and tried a new cocktail. Intense orange flavor. Kick of jalapeño. It was spring in a glass even while snow fell outside. After some experimentation, I came close to the same flavors at home, and I’m so happy. (I now need a dependable, economical supplier of mandarin oranges — which are good for you!)

If you like citrus, herbs, and a little heat and you’re ready for a taste of spring, start mixing!

Recipe: TAG Raw Bar’s O.G. Cocktail

Assemble the following to make two drinks:

  • At least a dozen mandarin oranges (I tried other oranges and none compared.)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 lime
  • Vodka (preferably organic)
  • 2 glasses (rocks or martini)
  • Ice

Now work yourself up for some heavy lifting — it’s time to juice those little mandarins. (See below for more information on how to make this more “fruitful.” Ha!) You’ll want about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of juice. You may not use all the mandarins. However, you may need more than a dozen depending on their size and juiciness, so it’s wise to have plenty on hand.

Next, in a cocktail shaker or tall glass, add the juice from half a lime, several wicked thin slices of jalapeño (adjust the amount based on your taste — I usually go with 4 or 5 thin slices) and a small bunch of cilantro (about 1/4 cup loosely grabbed). Use a muddler to mash those ingredients and release their flavor.

Finally, add about a cup of ice, vodka to your taste, and the mandarin juice. Stir for a couple of minutes and strain into two rocks glasses with ice or two iceless martini glasses. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

Drink up!

Make It A Mocktail!

Not a drinker? This juice is amazing without the vodka. So complex and flavorful. So refreshing. Take a few moments to spice up your morning OJ!

How To Extract Maximum Juice From Those Mandarins

Initially, I tried using my lemon juicer on the oranges — the hand powered kind that’s bright yellow. But the halved mandarins were so small that I felt I wasn’t getting all the juice out. So I came up with a better way:  After cutting the fruits in half, I did a quick-and-dirty hand squeeze (which I think elicited more juice than the lemon juicer). Then I put 5 or 6 of the squeezed halves into the lemon juicer together and did a major last squeeze. (Make sure to tip the juicer sideways to get every last drop.)

A special thanks to Giegie at TAG Raw Bar, who created the cocktail and made it so lovingly.

Bartenders, start your engines… What do you think?

Image Credit: Citrus Cocktails via Shutterstock

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About the Author

Hi all! I'm Mary Gerush - a recovering corporate worker bee turned good-farm-real-food advocate and writer who wants to help people understand what they're eating. I tend a tiny urban farm in Dallas, TX, and hope to scale up one day soon. Omnivore through-and-through, there's not much I love to eat more than a butter-basted grass fed steak fresh from a searing hot cast iron skillet. Follow me on , , and !
  • Aaaah I want this in a glass right now!! We’re living in a world of construction dust at my house, and this morning I officially am kichenless until further notice. A cocktail sounds mighty good right about now.

    • Mary Gerush

      I feel your pain.