My Sparkling Clementine

Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine...

Seriously dreary lyrics if you examine them closely - which I did before I started writing this post. But never mind that. It's on to the topic at hand - a drink recipe that is far more cheery than that crazy, corny song.

Speaking of cheery. It is hard to beat the uplifting effects of citrus. The vivid colors, the fresh aroma, the perky taste - all of that makes me very happy. Plus I am hard-pressed to think of many great drink recipes that do NOT include some kind of citrus - at the very least as a garnish.

With that said, there are only so many ways to blend in the run-of-the-mill lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit juices. But that's where the fun begins, when you start experimenting with more exotic varieties of this incredibly versatile fruit and mix up drinks like these with blood orange, or Buddha's hand, or ruby red grapefruit or in this case clementine and kumquat.

This drink is an excellent addition to a Thai dinner like this one and it makes for a very bright and festive presentation.

It also includes 2 of my favorite techniques - infusing your spirits before you mix them (In this case with a pint of sliced kumquat). And making a flavorful homemade simple syrup with fresh ginger and lemon grass. It also includes something else I like - bubbles or sparkling juice. That's where the clementine comes in.

I might just call this My Sparkling Clementine.

  • 2 cups of vodka - infused with 1 pint of sliced kumquat for at least 2 hours
  • 1 cup of coconut rum
  • 1 cup of lemon grass/ginger simple syrup - combine a handful of chopped ingredients with 1 cup sugar and 2 cups water and simmer for 20 minutes
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint

Combine all ingredients in carafe or punch bowl and let stand for at least 30 minutes. To serve, pour over ice leaving enough room for a generous pour of sparkling clementine juice - I found a tasty one at Trader Joe's.