A Mandarin Orange Gin & Tonic is the wintry cocktail you’ve been looking for. Sweet citrus juice pairs beautifully with herbal gin and tonic water for a twist on the classic Q&T.
It’s that time of year again.
The time when the boxes of clementines and tangerines line fill our fridge drawers.
Perhaps yours comes from supporting your local high school marching band, like ours often did when I was growing up.
My clarinet-playing sister usually swindled my parents into a box or two of mandarin oranges and grapefruit!
Just kidding, I loved it. (Well, maybe not the grapefruit then, though I love it now!)
Mandarin oranges are such a delight, to me.
They bring back memories of my summer vacations when I would visit my family in South Africa… where it was winter.
One year we visited my great aunt who had a huge citrus tree in her yard. I remember collecting a huge bag of naartjes (NART-cheez) to take with us on the next leg of our family road trip.
I was about 10 years old then, and I loved learning how to peel them myself as much as I loved learning how to say words in Afrikaans!
Naartjie is the Afrikaans word for a mandarin orange, which is also sometimes called a satsuma or a tangerine.
To this day, mandarin oranges are one of my favorite snacks this time of year.
So sweet and tangy, almost like candy. And yet, you’re eating a piece of fruit. Amazing.
I’m so glad my husband shares my love for winter citrus. Last winter we drank this Winter Citrus Spa Water a whole lot, and we plan to again.
I can always count on him to bring home from the store a box of Halos or Cuties — which are two brand names of mandarin oranges.
What is a Mandarin Orange?
A mandarin orange is a small version of the orange fruit.
There are also clementines and satsumas which, like mandarin oranges, are all types of tangerines. Tangerines are smaller than oranges and typically more sweet than sour.
You can eat them plain or in recipes like salads.
My friend Erin has this amazing recipe for a Kale and Mandarin Salad that you should absolutely try. It’s one of our favorites.
One of the best parts of having these little orange beauties around the house is that they make great cocktails.
Take this Clementine Hot Toddy, for example. So. Freaking. Good.
I saw these mandarin oranges recently and fell in love with their fresh-picked look. I decided it would be fun to try them in a gin and tonic recipe.
What is a gin and tonic?
The gin and tonic is a classic, two-ingredient cocktail made with gin and tonic water, and usually garnished with a lime.
Most recipes call for somewhere within a 1:1 to 1:3 ratio of gin to tonic water.
Gin and tonics are often an acquired taste. Gin is not everyone’s favorite spirit, plus the quinine in tonic water can definitely be cloying for some people!
If you’re not sure what gin to use, check out this guide to choosing a gin.
How to make a mandarin orange gin & tonic
Essentially, this is a winter gin and tonic with orange juice.
This recipe substitutes the lime garnish typically used in gin and tonics, and also brings in the addition of fresh-squeezed juice from the mandarin.
The gin and tonic and orange juice pair really well together — citrus is so welcome in any gin and tonic.
Plus, the sweetness of the mandarins really helps to quell any cloying flavor of the tonic water.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments! // susannah
- 3 ounces mandarin orange juice (from 2 mandarin oranges)
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice, optional
- 1 1/2 ounces gin
- 4-6 ounces tonic water
- In a highball glass filled with ice, add orange juice, lime juice if using and gin. Stir. Top with tonic water.
1 mandarin orange yields approximately 3 tablespoons of juice, or 1.5 fluid ounces. You will need to juice 2 mandarin oranges to yield around 3 ounces of juice.
If desired, add lime juice for a tarter flavor.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 169mg Carbohydrates: 60g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 54g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 1g