Every time I eat a mandarin or clementine I can’t help but remember all the ones I ate on our farm in Ecuador. We had several mandarin trees and my favorite way to eat them was to sit in the tree where I picked it from and eat it. It also brings back the memory of a few times when I reached for a branch and felt something cold: a snake that was wrapped around one of the branches. Fortunately, the snake was a dormilona, a lazy non-poisonous snake that like to curl up on the branches and fall asleep, and I never got bitten by one, though I had several of these encounters in my days of climbing trees to pick fresh fruit. Now that I live in the US I associate mandarins with fall and winter, in Ecuador I could eat them whenever I wanted, but here I really look forward to this time of the year when you can find boxes of mandarins in any grocery store. My favorite way to eat them is the same as when I was a child: simply peeled. However, I also really enjoying cooking with mandarins – they are great in salads, meat dishes, desserts, and of course, they are perfect for drinks – mandarin juice (and rind) goes well with many different types of alcohol.
This mandarin champagne cocktail is inspired by the classic orange mimosa and is a great drink to pair with appetizers during these holidays or to accompany a fall or winter brunch. My friends will tell you that I love champagne cocktails, they are easy to make and most people tend to enjoy a bubbly drink. The only labor intensive part of making this sparkling drink is juicing the mandarins, they are small so you will need a good amount of them – however, they are juicy and are a lot easier to squeeze than lemons or limes. I made this drink with equal parts of mandarin juice and champagne, however if you want it a little stronger – or are running low on mandarins – you can use one part juice to two parts bubbly. Also, while mimosas are traditionally made with champagne, you can use any sparkling wine (cava, prosecco, etc). You can also make the juice in advance and refrigerate it until you are ready to prepare the mimosa. Happy holidays!
Recipe: Mandarin mimosa
Summary: Bubbly mandarin cocktail made with fresh mandarin juice, champagne or sparkling wine, and orange liqueur.
- 3 cups chilled mandarin juice, from about 20 mandarins
- 1 bottle of chilled sparkling wine
- Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
For each drink:
- 2 oz of mandarin juice
- 2 oz of champagne or sparkling wine
- A dash of Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- Pour 2 oz of mandarin juice into each champagne flute – should be about half full for most champagne glasses.
- Add a dash of the orange liqueur or Grand Marnier.
- Top off each drink with 2 oz of champagne or sparkling wine.
- Serve immediately.