Cocktail Spotlight: Mandarin Sunset

The Mandarin Sunset cocktail traditionally has been served over ice, but I prefer it up in a chilled cocktail glass with an added twist: blackberry brandy layered, not mixed. This cocktail is aesthetically appealing when you layer the blackberry brandy with the back of a barspoon to create the sunset. You could also use grenadine to create a sunrise, although I wouldn't recommend drinking it at 6 am. The result is a beautiful sunset perfect to sip on a balcony or patio when the sun goes down in the summertime. The overwhelming aroma and taste is citrus and refreshing, but does have a hint of watermelon and some berry when you add the watermelon pucker and blackberry brandy. The berry flavor comes out as you near the bottom of the glass.  I introduced this cocktail to the Buddha Buddha Martini Bar & Cocktail Lounge in dowtown Harrisburg in the summer of 2013. Unfortunately, it appears to have been removed from the cocktail menu. It is important to use Absolut Mandarin, not another brand of orange vodka, because the mandarin flavor differs slightly from orange flavor.

It involves Absolut Mandarin vodka, Dekuyper watermelon schnapps, orange juice, blackberry brandy, and a spiral orange twist.  The result will be salmon-colored with a purple hue on the bottom. The picture posted is a result of me drinking it one night and forgetting to take the picture. Fortunately, I remembered before finishing.

Have a great weekend!  If you get adventurous and decide to make this wonderful cocktail, please let me know your thoughts.  I will be back on Monday to continue educating the world 'one cocktail at a time'. Happy Mixing!



  • 2 oz Absolut Mandarin vodka
  • 1 oz Dekuyper Watermelon Schnapps
  • splash of orange juice (approx 1/4 oz)
  • 1/2 oz blackberry brandy layered at the end
  • garnish spiral orange twist


  1. Fill mixing glass or pint glass with ice.
  2. Add ingredients over ice, except blackberry brandy and cover with a cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain the liquid into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Layer blackberry brandy with the back of a barspoon carefully (approx 1/2 oz). Check the layer as you pour.
  6. Garnish with a spiral orange twist by using a channel knife all the way around an orange, twist around finger to create spiral (hold for 10 sec), float partially in glass and over the edge.


purplegirl59's picture


Michael,you are a genius and I can't wait to try the Mandarin Sunset,and other new drinks that you create so beautifully.For those of you who have not been fortunate enough to have sampled Michael's elegant cocktails,you really don't know what you are missing out on. I am looking forward to your new book and anticipating the wonderful array of treasures that I'm sure will not disappoint. I purchased Michael's first book,and it was so well put-together,containing pictures,recipes,and beautiful settings. Very stylish and chic,and a great conversation piece for your coffee table,and a must for your own personal bar.


You're getting good at this...Maybe you should think about writing on the side...So eloquently put...Thanks again! I look forward to keeping in touch with your new, michael


Another one I can't wait to try! This weekend sounds like the perfect time to try this cocktail out.
SavannahRose's picture


This sounds delicious! You have to make this for the next party!