Mango-Mania: Creating sub-tropic masterpieces!

Stay away from the Winter Blues with summer cocktails!

Stay away from the Winter Blues with summer cocktails!

So I’m pretty sure that by now that we’ve all had the chance to try either a pomegranate martini one of the many other power fruit cocktails taking the country by storm. They’re good, aren’t they? Can I interest you in something even a little more luscious? If so, come with me down mango lane. For good reason, the mango is the second most popular fruit on the planet. With its versatility and availability, it has quickly climbed to the top of every mixologists daily shopping list.

Mangos are a sub-tropical fruit, requiring a long, hot period to properly ripen. More mangos are eaten fresh than any other fruit in the world. And there are over a thousand varieties of mango. The enzymes in mangos are tenderizing, similar to those found in papayas. Mangos help to lower cholesterol, aid digestion, and are rich in both vitamins A and C.

Now that we know a little more about this little piece of heaven, here’s how to get your hands on it. While mangoes are readily available at most grocery stores nation wide – nothing compliments any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage better than a fresh mango – there are also a number of fresh purees and nectars available. One such brand that is quickly becoming an industry leader in Canada is a company called Rubicon Exotic Juices, located in Richmond Hill, Ontario. At Rubicon they squeeze their juices fresh daily, with no additives, and have a large variety of exotic fruit beverages for you using only the highest quality ingredients. (

As I noted before, mangoes are extremely versatile. With their rich, sweet flavor, they can be used in everything from spice blends to bubbly. In fact, it would seem that there is nowhere this fruit cannot be used. For as long as I can remember, mangoes have graced the kitchen in salad dressings, chutneys and in marinades. If we follow along the same lines, there is no reason we shouldn’t be sipping some delectable mango cocktail creations.

For the light drinker in all of us, mangos offer a refreshing alternative to water and pop. Let’s explore a few ways to incorporate this ingredient into our beverages. For our first mocktail (non-alcoholic), we are going to be bringing out our favorite bar tool, the muddler. Start by muddling five or six raspberries with some mint and then fill your glass with ice. Pour in two or three ounces of fresh mango puree and top with soda. Simple? All that left to do is imagine that you are lying on a beach in the South Caribbean (are you there yet?). Want to create a party favourite? Simply substitute the soda with sparkling wine. If time is on your side, you can also make mango ice cubes for a unique cocktail experience.

Mango cocktails can also be used in another trend currently sweeping its way across this country, food and beverage pairing. From aperitifs to deserts, this fruit has many applications. Take a mango chili martini, for instance, with its deep, rich flavors accented by a hint of spice. This martini is perfect before, during or after dinner. To make this martini, combine two ounces of your favourite vodka, one ounce of Cointreau and two ounces of mango puree. Add a pinch of chili flakes and shake vigorously over ice, before straining it into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with either a fresh sliver of mango or a small chili pepper. This martini can be enjoyed with a chutney-baked poultry dish or, of course, on its own.

So, we’ve looked at a refreshing summer cocktail, a martini that can be enjoyed alone or with dinner…what’s next? Oh yeah, after dinner! Perhaps you have heard of old faithful: blueberry tea – Amaretto, Grand Marnier and tea. If you keep your eye open, you can find some incredible mango flavored teas on the market. For fun, add one ounce of Grand Marnier, if a softer approach is more your style, try adding a little banana liqueur. This can also be done in the iced tea form by combining the ingredients in a shaker tin and shaking them over ice.

From mango margaritas to mango teas, I think we have ourselves a new and exciting adventure ahead of us. Remember: keep tasting. There are no wrong answers in experimenting. Until next time, keep Raising the Bar – and remember: please drink responsibly.

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