OMG guys, you will love these Tangerine and Scent Leaf (Efirin) Mules! A potent and intriguing cocktail made with Nigerian tangerines and scent leaf also known as efirin or local basil.

I went to my faves, D. S. Vegfruit to stock up on some fresh produce, and my eyes landed on some tangerines that they had sliced open and placed atop a stack of other tangerines. They were so orange and so sweet, I bought a dozen, not knowing what I would use them for, but knowing for sure that the would be fun to play with. I left them in the fruit bowl for a couple of days and ate a couple. And then one hot Sunday afternoon after lunch, the idea struck to make cocktails. It has been far, far, far too hot these days. I can’t deal.

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I like cocktails that have some sort of bite to them, as I have never been one for syrupy sweet drinks. So with this, I wanted to fully respect the flavour of the tangerine, but also temper the sweetness with something directional, hence the idea to use the efirin. Yes, I know, efirin is usually only used in savoury cooking, but you know I’m not happy unless I have turned rules like that on their head :).

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The sweet juicy citrus goes so well with the earthy aroma of the efirin. Efirin (in Yoruba) is like a local basil, which is commonly called ‘scent leaf’. It is a feisty but charming little herb and I love to discover more and more creative ways to use it!

This was the result. You can make it two ways, and the jury is out on which is better.

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If you want a longer, lighter, more refreshing drink, I’d say go for the vodka version. It’s the kind of cocktail for long, languid days and blue skies and denim shorts. It feels like something that is reviving and good for you.

If you want a more potent and succinct drink, then the cognac version is for you. It is spicier, more aromatic, and tastes three dimensional. Akin to the sort of potion you sip calmly in low lighting while you are sitting at a buzzy bar and getting lost in house music.

So the choice is yours. What mood are you in? Mix accordingly, friend!

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Ingredients

1 whole tangerine

4 whole scent or basil leaves, torn up

2 handfuls of ice

2 tsp honey

200ml vodka or cognac

250ml tonic water

Method

  • Separate the segments of the tangerine and divide them evenly between two glasses.
  • Pour equal amounts of the honey, the vodka or cognac and the scent leaves in each glass and muddle them until the tangerine segments are nicely pulverised.
  • Load the glasses up with ice, and then pour over the tonic water until each glass is full. Stir and serve. The pulpy tangerine sacks are a yummy snack to munch on once you have finished your drink!