This bright and citrusy gin cocktail is the perfect way to add a little liquid sunshine to these frigid February days! With citrus season in full swing, deep winter is a great time to enjoy the sweet and sour flavors of mandarin oranges.
Make this easy gin sour with gin, sweet freshly squeezed satsuma mandarin juice, lime juice, and ginger simple syrup.
What are satsuma mandarins?
Every winter, I feel a little excitement when I see those small, super sweet satsuma mandarins appear at the grocery store.
If you’re not familiar with satsuma mandarins, they’re typically the ones displayed with the leaves still attached. They’re incredibly delicious and also pretty darn cute.
Satsumas have very loose skin, even looser than the average easy-peel mandarins (technically clementines) sold by brands like Cuties.
Because the skin is removed so easily, the leaves and stems are left intact to prevent the fruits from peeling prematurely. The delicate nature of these citrus fruits seems to be the reason that they’re not available year round, like clementines. It’s a brief window each winter, and I always make sure to enjoy it while it lasts.
Satsuma mandarins are also known as citrus unshiu and they are often confused with tangerines or clementines. Mandarins are a category of citrus that includes satsumas, tangerines and clementines.
Satsumas are very sweet, seedless, and the easiest mandarin to peel. This type of mandarin originated in Japan hundreds of years ago and is one of the most cold hardy citrus fruits, capable of surviving temps as low as 15 degrees F!
By contrast, tangerines tend to be a bit more tart, while clementines are the smallest type of mandarin.
Satsuma mandarins are also very photogenic, so they’re guaranteed to make annual appearances here and over on Instagram.
Mandarin Ginger Gin Sour ingredients
This easy gin cocktail is bold and citrusy, with freshly squeezed mandarin juice, lime, and a spicy ginger syrup.
I love the Fiery Ginger Syrup from Liber & Co, which is readily available at my local grocery store.
But if you’re not big on extra spicy, or if you can’t find a store-bought ginger syrup, it’s very easy to make your own!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Gin (a classic London dry style works great here)
- Satsuma mandarins (about two fruits per cocktail)
- Ginger syrup (Liber & Co Fiery Ginger or homemade)
How to make the cocktail
This easy sour skips the egg white found in many traditional gin sour recipes. If you prefer the creamy froth that egg whites (or aquafaba, for a vegan version) bring to a sour, feel free to add one egg white to the list of ingredients and shake well.
I omitted egg whites here to keep the flavor of the satsuma mandarins as pronounced as possible. Egg whites have a tendency to soften and tone down flavors, but here we want to keep things as bright and zesty as possible.
To make the cocktail, first juice your mandarins and limes. An elbow-style citrus squeezer or a citrus reamer are great options. Satsuma mandarins tend to be around the size of average limes or lemons, so they will fit easily into a citrus squeezer.
Measure all ingredients using a bar jigger or tablespoons (2 tablespoons = 1 ounce). Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, then fill it about 3/4 with ice. Shake until well chilled, then strain the liquid into a cocktail glass. Garnish with mandarin slices or wheels, if desired.
Love this coupe glass? It’s the May Coupe from Fferrone Design.
If you want to make your own ginger syrup, here’s a quick recipe:
How to make your own ginger syrup
My favorite way to make ginger simple syrup is to use ginger juice from The Ginger People. It’s available on Amazon, at Whole Foods, and other grocery stores.
A quick recipe is: 2 tablespoons of ginger juice per 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of hot water. Combine all ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Store any leftovers in a covered jar or bottle. It will last about two weeks in the refrigerator.
If you want to use fresh ginger root, you’ll need about 1/2 cup of peeled and chopped (or grated) ginger. Add a cup of sugar and 1 1/4 cups water to a small saucepan over medium heat.
Stir frequently, until all of the sugar has dissolved, then add the ginger and simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes, or until flavorful.
Remove the syrup from the heat and all it to cool fully before straining out the ginger root. Store the syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
You may also enjoy these other gin cocktails:
Satsuma Mandarin Ginger Gin Sour
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz freshly squeezed satsuma mandarin juice
- 3/4 oz Liber & Co Fiery Ginger Syrup (see Notes below to make your own ginger syrup!)
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- For the satsuma mandarin juice: Each mandarin will produce about 1/2 ounce of juice, so choose 2 plump fruits and extract the juice using a citrus squeezer.
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill it 3/4 with ice.
- Shake until chilled, about 12 seconds. Strain into coupe glass and garnish with mandarin or lime.
To make your own ginger syrup:Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons ginger juice (I used The Ginger People)
Published February 11, 2020. Last updated February 3, 2022.