orange you glad…

The very first time I had an orange martini was at the appropriately named Martini Bar at The Tides in South Beach. I really enjoyed it…

Like many buildings in SoBe, The Tides is a boutique hotel that embodies the art deco ideal. It’s restaurant, La Marea, offers innovative Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and boasts one of the best ocean views in Miami. My meal included an appetizer of Carpaccio of Tuna with Blood Orange Olive Oil and the Seared Moroccan Tuna Filet was my main course. Just like their drinks, I loved their food. You can have your drinks at the Martini Bar or poolside. Being the cocktail fiend that I am, it only seemed fitting to have a few at both.

I have tried a few orangetinis since then—some great and some, well, crap. Having been disappointed more times than pleased, I decided to try making it at home.

When I set out to make my own, I wanted my o-tini to taste, well, orangey. Some of the ones I’ve had either didn’t have enough orange taste or had too much.  While others were cloyingly sweet, a few were harshly bitter. Striking that delicate balance of orange flavor and a just hint of sweetness proved to be both challenging and fun.

Challenging because I had to come up with just the right combination of ingredients and as everyone knows, booze ain’t cheap. Fun because I got to taste quite a few drinks and used my friends as my tasters.  And boy was it fun!

For the orange flavor, I tried everything from fresh-squeezed oranges, to store-bought OJ, and even Sunny Delight. The clear winner, Tang (yes, the same one that astronauts once drank), gave the best orange flavor without being too sugary and tart.

Ultimately, the definite choice for the vodka turned out to be Absolut Mandarin. For an added boost of orange, I ended up using Grand Marnier instead of plain ol’ triple sec or even Cointreau.

The result: an orangetini that is tropical and whimsical without being too fruity and serious. But then again, you really can’t take yourself too seriously when having any drinks (besides the classic martini) that end with the suffix “tini”.  For obvious reasons, I christened this baby “Mandy”.  Let’s see if you can figure that out…

Do try this at home, folks:

Mandy

  • 1 oz. Absolut Mandarin
  • 1 oz. Tang
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier

Shake in the shaker with ice. Strain into martini glass rimmed with powdered Tang. Garnish with a slice of orange and kiwi. Enjoy!

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