Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tangerine-Mint Collins

With spring just around the corner, the thought of warm evenings and dinners outside give me the warm fuzzies. What's a great accompaniment to a spring meal? A delicious and refreshing gin cocktail-- a Tangerine-Mint Collins, perhaps? This just may give you the warm fuzzies, too. If you have enough of it, I just may mean that literally.

served in Mason jars with a rims of green sugar for some sweet whimsy

 I don't tend to drink a lot, but Gin is my absolute favorite type of hard liquor. I find the taste to be quite crisp and refreshing when paired with the right additions in a cocktail, or even just with some tonic water and a bit of citrus.

A traditional Tom Collins consists of very simple and few ingredients-- gin, lemon, sugar, and soda water. This recipe I created adds a delicious twist that keeps the cocktail light and easy to drink, but with a bit more depth of flavor. Although gin can be quite the star, I think the real show stopper in this refreshment is the tangerine-mint simple syrup. If you don't prefer alcoholic beverages (or just want a change), you can use this simple syrup in teas or lemonades as it really adds great flavor. Enjoy!

Tangerine-Mint Simple Syrup
makes one pint

1 cup water
1 cup white granulated sugar
handful of fresh mint leaves (stems on)
skins of 3 tangerines

1. In a small sauce pot, stir together the water and sugar. Heat on medium and stir continuously. As soon as the syrup comes to a bubbling boil, turn off the heat. Add the mint leaves and tangerine skins. Stir and let the syrup cool down for about an hour before. Use a strainer and pour the syrup into a pint size jar (make sure it has cooled down completely before sealing). Use as desired.

Tangerine-Mint Collins
makes 2 drinks

1/2 cup good gin (my favorite is Bombay)
1/4 cup tangerine-mint simple syrup
1/4 cup sparkling apple cider
1/2 cup club soda
4-6 mint leaves

1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, simple syrup, and a few of the mint leaves. Shake well and pour halfway into glasses filled with ice. Add about 1/4 cup of club soda to each glass and garnish with the remaining mint leaves.

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