Ahhh, to be sitting poolside somewhere tropical. The lounge chair view in the photo above is so enticing. To get that Spring Break feeling, take a sip of a Tangerine Mint Spritzer. This quick and easy drink is refreshing and light. It tastes like you're on vacation. The drink is delicious in both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. I fell in love with this drink during a recent visit to the Ojai Valley Inn. My take on the recipe is at the end of this post.
While in Ojai, California, I saw Ojai Pixie tangerines everywhere. This town really appreciates its seasonal, local harvest. I saw tangerines in bowls as decor, tangerine body scrub, and tangerines on all the menus-- in salads, drinks, sauces, and baked goods. The beauty of the pixies is that they are sweet and seedless. I thought I'd share some of my favorite ways to enjoy tangerines.
I love tangerines in my Sweet/Savory Crunchy/Smooth Salad. The sweet tangerines are the perfect counter balance to the earthy beets. I made a version of this salad using colorful golden and candy strip beets from Underwood Family Farms. The beets are roasted in tangerine juice, thyme, and olive oil. This time for the "crunchy" I used homemade croutons instead of pinenuts. Smooth avocado rounds out this salad, which is a wonderful showcase for tangerines.
Out of all the ways I've had Ojai Pixie tangerines lately, the Tangerine Mint Spritzer is my favorite. Sure, I'd love to be on a tropical island right now, but I am home sitting in my backyard with my spritzer in hand. When I close my eyes and focus on my refreshing drink, I feel transported to that poolside spot in the first photo. I feel relaxed. Then, I open my eyes and see my kids laughing and playing on the swing set. I take in their unfettered joy and feel grateful for what I have. I realize that my lounge chair view of my kids is paradise to me.
Recipe for Tangerine Mint Spritzer
Serves 1 (increase recipe as needed)
Adapted from the Ojai Valley Inn
2 Ojai Pixie tangerines (which are small)
8 mint leaves
½ teaspoon agave nectar (or more depending on sweetness of fruit)
5 ice cubes
1 ounce rum (optional)
4 ounces club soda
1. Cut the tangerines in half. Peel and segment half of a tangerine and place in an 8 ounce cocktail glass. Add in mint and agave. Muddle the ingredients (crush and mix in the glass).
2. Squeeze the juice from a whole tangerine into the glass. Add ice and optional alcohol. Top off the drink with club soda and stir. Cut the remaining half tangerine into slices for garnish. Serve immediately.
I used the back of my wood citrus reamer as a makeshift muddler. It worked perfectly in the short glass.
Ojai Pixie tangerines courtesy of Nancy Eisman of Melissa's Produce.
Poolside photo courtesy of Karyn Saffro.