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Author Notes: On a lazy Sunday, I peeled an orange while listening to the sounds of grass being mowed through the open window. The syrup boiled, and I picked mint from the herb planters in my backyard. As I rinsed the leaves off with the garden hose, I heard my little next door neighbors attempts to woo passing cars with 25-cent cups of lemonade. I muddled mint and orange and added gin, and then I drank this cocktail on my porch in the warm July sun. I drank two more, and then I fell asleep. Sounds just terrible, doesn’t it?
In case you were wondering, orange simple syrup is pretty much how I imagine rays of summer sunlight would taste if you melted them into a glass. Considering the temperature outside is currently 41° F, I could really use the reminder of the cocktail hour that once was. I bet you could too. Syrup recipe comes from Bon Appetit. —Rebecca Firkser
Food52 Review: Even before I gathered the makings of this cocktail, I knew it would sing to me. It's a snap to put together. I decided to add orange rind slivers in place of zest in the syrup. Vodka, lime, mint, and orange is a marriage made in heaven -- and now in a shaker filled with ice. A glass with smushed oranges and mint, a vigorous twist of the wrist, a splash of soda, and a mint leaf garnish make the perfect sundowner. This drink gets better as you reach the bottom of your glass! —nykavi
Makes: 1 cocktail
Prep time: 2 hrs 30 min
ounce orange simple syrup (see recipe below)
ounces shots vodka or gin, more to taste
ounce lime juice
sprig mint leaves, to garnish
cubes of ice
splash seltzer or club soda
Orange Simple Syrup
cup cane sugar
- To make the simple syrup: Using a vegetable peeler to remove large strips, zest the orange. Add zest, sugar, and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Strain the syrup into a small jar or bowl. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, for several weeks.
- For the cocktail: Make the orange simple syrup and let it cool completely. In the bottom of a glass, muddle sliced orange and mint. In a cocktail shaker, combine the syrup, lime juice, vodka, and ice. Shake well and pour into the glass with muddled orange and mint and fresh ice. Top with a splash of seltzer.