I saw Trisha Yearwood make this Lipstick Mandarin cocktail using serrano chiles, but I wasn’t sure if my crew could handle that kind of heat so I tweaked the recipe a bit. Even this cocktail was too spicy for my Mom, but my husband and I enjoyed the mild heat you get after each lovely sip. You can also add more orange flavor by adding the peel of one orange to your simple syrup and let it steep for 15-20 minutes and then pull out the orange peel.
1 lemon, cut in half
Extra fine sugar, to rim glasses
4 small slices jalapeno pepper, plus more for garnish
4 ounces mandarin or clementine vodka
4 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
2 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces Simple Syrup
Chill 4 martini glasses. Rim each with a lemon half and then dip in sugar. Squeeze into a shaker the lemon juice from the halves you used to rim the glasses. Place the pepper pieces in the shaker and muddle. Add to the shaker: mandarin or clementine vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice and simple syrup. Top with some ice, shake and strain into the glasses. Garnish each with a small slice of jalapeno pepper.
Combine the sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool.