There is a hotel in Toronto, Canada, where they have a bar called Epic. Not only is it a fantastic name for a bar, it is a fitting one as well – everything I sampled there was truly epic. From their vanilla and lychee-flavored cocktail to their mint julep (featuring quite a lot of peach flavor), all of the cocktails at Epic are quite worthy of the name.

But none seemed so very worthy as the Mandarin Sting, the first cocktail I tried at Epic. From the first sip, it is a truly delightful, lifting experience with just a hint of hot spice – the aforementioned “sting” – that was easily one of the most exciting taste experiences I have ever had. Everything from its beautiful color to its tangy taste made it a perfect mixed drink for that end-of-the-evening tipple. 

Of course, I couldn’t coax the recipe out of the bartender no matter how much I pleaded, but I have managed to come up with a pretty close approximation of it! Comprised of mandarin orange vodka, orange juice, grapefruit juice, a little splash of lemon juice, and decorated with a slice of fresh jalapeno, the Mandarin Sting cocktail will be a pleasant surprise for everyone who gets to taste it. These make fantastic party cocktails, and the fun with these semi-obscure recipes is that while they are easy to create, they will give you the air of the professional bartender no matter how early on in the game you may be! 

MANDARIN STING COCKTAIL RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

Sugar
2 measures mandarin orange vodka (such as Absolut Mandarin Orange)
1 measure fresh grapefruit juice
1 measure fresh orange juice
Splash of fresh lemon cake (optional)
Slice of fresh jalapeno pepper, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. Chill a cocktail glass by filling it with ice cubes and cold water. Allow it to chill, then empty the glass and frost the rim with the sugar (rub the rim with a wedge of lemon before dipping it). 

2.  Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Pour in the mandarin orange vodka, fresh grapefruit juice, and fresh orange juice, then shake the mixture vigorously until it is well frosted. If you want a slightly more tart-tasting drink, add a splash of fresh lemon juice before shaking the cocktail. 

3. Strain the cocktail into the frosted cocktail glass, being careful not to disturb the sugar on the rim.

4. Float a fresh slice of jalapeno pepper in the drink for garnish.