This Mandarin Orange Crush Cocktail recipe is what summer is all about. It is refreshing, light, and gives you the perfect reason to squeeze some fresh mandarin oranges.
If you like mimosas, you'll love this cocktail. Just think of it as a mimosa where vodka is switched out for the champagne with some added flavor from the orange liqueur. And you still get a little fizz from the sparkling water or club soda.
So what is in an Orange Crush Cocktail?
Traditionally, the Orange Crush is a simple blend of vodka, orange juice, orange liqueur, and lemon-lime soda, club soda, or sparkling water to top it off. And as you can imagine, there are so many variations that one can make using just those four ingredients. And my spin on this traditional cocktail does just that.
I added a bit more sweetness swapping out the orange juice for freshly squeezed mandarin oranges and I've added more bang by going with Grand Marnier (an orange liqueur hybrid --- which I'll explain a little later). Everything else remained as-is.
And who doesn't love a vodka + orange juice cocktail during the hotter months?
For this recipe you will need:
- Vodka, AKA the star of the show next to the fresh mandarin orange juice
- I go with Grand Marnier because it's a great liqueur...and oh yes, it contains Cognac which is equally great
- Fresh mandarin oranges that have been freshly squeezed. This recipe calls for 3 ounces of fresh juice so that's around 2 mandarin oranges (you should be able to get 1.5 oz. of juice per orange).
- Orange-flavored sparkling water is a perfect choice to keep things light
- A few slices of orange to use for garnish
A few tips when making an Orange Crush:
- I am a firm believer in fresh is best so opt to squeeze your own juice over buying it.
- I love Tito's vodka but will use Monopolowa Vodka when we don't have any on hand. I do use Tito's to make most of my vodka-based drinks.
- Go with sparkling water to minimize the sweetness, however, if you like it sweet, use Sprite.
- Use a shaker filled with ice to make sure all the flavors are blended together. Ice also helps to emphasize the aromas in the cocktail and dilutes it (in a good way).
Which orange liqueur should I use?
The traditional recipe calls for an orange liqueur which means using Cointreau, Triple Sec, or Grand Marnier. Cointreau has a crisp, smooth, orange flavor. Triple sec is a drier style of orange liqueur. Grand Marnier is classified as a triple sec hybrid, made from a mix of Cognac, distilled bitter orange essence, and sugar. It is frequently used in classic French desserts.
It really depends on the combination of other ingredients as you don't want to have too many contrasting flavors. Here's a quick rule of thumb...if you go with an orange-flavored vodka, use Cointreau. If you go with unflavored vodka, use Grand Mariner.
Why use mandarin oranges instead of navel oranges?
Although mandarins are a type of orange and belong to the overarching category as Tangerines, Clementines, and Satsumas, they are generally sweeter than navel oranges. And because their skin is thinner, it makes them easier to peel. Did I mention they were sweeter?
This mandarin orange vodka recipe is just what the summertime ordered and I'm certain you will enjoy it. And always remember...drink responsibly.
If you enjoy orange-flavored cocktails, you can also check out my Sunkist Orange Cocktail!Print