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Everyone's favorite citrus-flavored vodka, Absolut Mandarin is the latest addition to the Absolut Vodka brand of spirits made by the Swedish company V&S Vin & Sprit, AB.

Filled with citrusy goodness and surprisingly smooth for a drink that's 80 proof, this stuff tastes great right out of the bottle but still has enough of a bite to let you know that's vodka going down your throat and not Snapple. A good balance between taste and kick.

Inspired by god-knows-what to purchase and experiment with a bottle of Absolut Mandarin after a week of boring office work and tiring heavy lifting / shovelling, I have made a few bold, new discoveries.

But first, a description of the alcohol itself. It comes in the usual frosted-glass Absolut bottle, with a half-sphere bottom coloured orange so as to (presumably) resemble a mandarin orange. And, indeed, beyond the typical (and to my tongue, vaguely medicinal) flavour of vodka there is a strong taste of the fruit. The bottle lists a 40% alc./vol. (Canadian measurement), and a total volume of 750 mL - enough for several days of casual drinking with friends, or a singular drunken night of vomiting, if I know my vodka.

Experiment I

This first was simply drinking a shot of Absolut Mandarin neat. It was decent, though the experience might have been improved had I stuck the vodka in the freezer for a while instead of drinking it as soon as I got home. It tasted about as described above.

Experiment II

Moving into the more complex mixes now - a simple screwdriver, orange juice and vodka. Unfortunately, the only orange juice in the house was of the "Homestyle" variety, meaning there was pulp in the mix - silly of me. The resulting drink was... well, orangey. More orangey than a screwdriver is expected to taste, probably. It wasn't bad, just... orangey.

Experiment III

This one was prompted by a friend, of whom I will no longer solicit drink-mixing advice. He suggested a splash of mint extract to be added to a mix of ginger ale and vodka. The resulting drink... Well, it tasted EXACTLY like brushing your teeth in the morning, rinsing with vodka, and then drinking orange juice - in other words, horrible. I won't soon forget the hard-learned lesson of mixing orange and mint flavours. Assuming, of course, that I don't drink so much of the bottle as to forget.
I did drink it all, though. I'm not one to waste good alcohol - I just drank it all in one gulp to avoid the taste.

Experiment IV

Vodka and ginger ale. Simple, and it washed the lingering taste of mint from my mouth. The orange aftertaste was also refreshing.

Experiment V

While the bit with the mint extract had proven a terrible failure, I attempted the same mix with artificial vanilla extract, with significantly greater success. The taste was not unlike icing on a fruit flan consisting entirely of orange, except without cake and with alcohol in the icing and not as sweet.

Alright, that wasn't a good description at all. It was good, though.

Experiment VI

My final experiment of the evening was a mix of A&W Root Beer with a slightly lesser amount of Absolut Mandarin. It was tasty, though my ability to judge was perhaps a little marred at this point by having consumed a good fifth of the bottle. Nonetheless, I maintain that A&W Root Beer makes a good mix with Absolut Mandarin.

That said, it's about time I took a nap.

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