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Mandarin Orange Fig Sour

5 from 2 votes

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Mandarin Orange Fig Sour - foam-topped sour with fig and orange garnish
Mandarin Orange Fig Sour

The time for fresh figs has passed, but fig preserves let me play with this holiday flavor year round – especially in this mandarin orange fig sour. Bursting with sweetness from the figs, citrus from the orange and lemon and great hint of bitterness from the orange zest, it’s a cross between a smash and a Boston sour. And it’s perfect for a November happy hour.

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About Figs

Fresh figs are only in season a short time, so I buy them any time I see them. They turn drinks a gorgeous light pink color and add a lovely creamy taste to cocktails. But what to do when they’re not available? Reach for dried figs and fig preserves.

While not beautiful like their fresh siblings, dried figs and fig preserves concentrate the sweet caramel and date flavors of figs. In fact, I sometimes prefer them as they remind me of Fig Newton cookies (which were introduced in 1859, by the way).

The interesting shape of figs is because the flower of the fig is the inside of the fruit – that’s what all those seeds are and why it looks so gorgeous when cut in half.

Fresh figs don’t last long once picked, but dried figs and fig preserves can keep the flavor and texture in your cocktails and cooking year round. You just won’t have those beautiful pink hues in your drinks and dishes unless you work with fresh figs.

Pairing Figs and Citrus in the Mandarin Orange Fig Sour

Mandarin Orange Fig Sour - foam-topped sour with fig and orange garnish
Mandarin Orange Fig Sour

I’ve done a few sours with fresh figs before and they are always beautiful and tasty. While figs don’t taste or smell like citrus, their caramel, toffee, and brown sugar aromas blend well with the sharp citrus peel we’ve got from the muddling.

While I could have created this orange fig sour with just juice from the mandarin, that bitter orange peel flavor and smell would have been missing. I’m counting on that bitterness from the orange oil and the addition of two kinds of bitters to cut through the cocktail’s figgy sweetness.

If you choose to use a regular orange with this, or a tangerine, muddle with the peels on. Getting that burst of orange oils from the citrus provides a good bit of the balance of the drink.

Combining the Whiskey Smash and a Boston Sour

Mandarin Orange Fig Sour - foam-topped sour with fig and orange garnish
Mandarin Orange Fig Sour

I know this isn’t typical – to muddle a drink, then add egg white – but I wanted to give the cocktail a little color contrast and a lovely creamy bed of foam to tie in to the creamy mouthfeel from the fig preserves.

For this orange fig sour I started with the muddling that happens in a typical whiskey smash, this time concentrating on pulling bitter orange oils from the mandarin peel. The muddling also helped me mix the fig preserves with the lemon juice and chai simple syrup so that fig taste runs through the whole cocktail.

For the bitters here I went with Old Forester’s Smoked Cinnamon bitters and Crude Bitters Sycophant orange and fig bitters.

After muddling with everything except the whiskey and egg white, I add in the whiskey and ice, and shake for about 10-15 seconds. Next, I’ll double strain the cocktail into a mixing glass, add the egg white and use a latte whisk or frother to whip up the egg white into a thick foam.

Because it’s already been strained, I go for a straight pour into my chilled coupe glass.

If you don’t have a latte whisk, just double strain the chilled cocktail into a shaking tin, add the egg white and shake for about a minute to whip up the foam. It’ll just take a little more elbow grease.

If you’re a fig lover check out my fig and pear sour, or this fig and fennel cocktail.

Recommended Bar Tools

You don’t need every slick, beautiful bar tool out there, but there are several I’ll recommend. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, that does not affect the cost of the items below.) My favorite pieces usually come from the Cocktail Kingdom section of Amazon:

You may already have these bar essentials, but just in case:

Mandarin Orange Fig Sour - foam-topped sour with fig and orange garnish

Mandarin Orange Fig Sour

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Swap out your favorite fall cocktail for this holiday treat – a little fig, a little orange, a little tart, and a healthy dash of whiskey in this orange fig sour.
5 from 2 votes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1


  • 1.5 tablespoons fig preserves
  • 1 mandarin orange chopped with peel
  • 2 dashes Crude fig and orange bitters
  • 1 dash Old Forester smoked cinnamon bitters
  • 1/2 oz Lemon juice
  • ¼ oz chai simple or maple syrup
  • 2 oz rye or bourbon whiskey
  • 1 egg white
  • Garnish: mandarin wheel and dried fig


  • Combine fig preserves, mandarin orange, bitters, chai simple syrup and lemon juice in a shaker and muddle until the orange peels are fragrant in the shaking tin. Add whiskey and ice, and shake for about 10 seconds. Double strain into a new shaker or mixing glass, add egg white and use latte whisk or frother for 30 seconds to build the foam. Pour into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish.
Keyword bitters, chai simple syrup, fig, fig bitters, fig cocktail, mandarin orange, rye whiskey, Whiskey Sour
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on November 17th, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey and cocktail author (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.

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