Orange Spooner

orange spoonerSome drinks are just good. Some drinks are good stories with provenance. Some drinks are all the above!

My Mimi’s people are from the southwest corner of Georgia. Many of her Bainbridge cookbooks are part of my treasured library of culinary literature. Mimi loves to read them and be reminded of all the loved ones she knew growing up and the delicacies they served from their sideboards. This recipe comes from one of these beloved bindings of culinary delights.

But like any good Southern dish, there is a story with this one. Mimi has made this drink for us many a time while growing up and particularly in the wintertime. With truckloads of Florida’s citrus crop crossing the state line and popping up for sale on street corner, farm stands, and markets, oranges and other various and sundry citruses are at their peak. This drink is fantastic with the freshest of Florida’s finest, and I now serve it with a bit of history too.

My very first Friday night in Auburn, I met a guy with the last name of Spooner. I didn’t just meet him and chock him up as someone I should grab lunch with someday – I’d met a real buddy. From farming to land to timber to his way cool belt with his initials (I had to get one thereafter), we hit it off. One weekend, this chap was brave enough to come home and eat Sunday dinner with my family. Immediately, my grandmother, Mimi, was enthralled with my friend Stephen’s surname, for her grandparents were best of friends with the Spooners from Donaldsonville, not far from Bainbridge.

Who would have ever thought that this Spooner was a descendent of those Spooners? His father’s family is from the town and his grandparents live there still. Amazing how the generations before us were so close. Stephen and I were best of buddies throughout school and he and his wife, Sarah Barry, are some of my dearest friends. I’m dubbed “Uncle” James by their babies and love it! Way cool even more so, I called Sarah Barry “Spoonful” at Auburn before she became Mrs. Spooner, because, well, she’s just that! A spoonful!

Getting back to the drink part of this tale, one of Mimi’s old cookbooks from her family’s neck of the woods has a drink I love called an Orange Spooner. A good drink with a good name that I love to share with my generation of Spooner friends – I can’t help but wonder if our families ever had this drink together. I like to think so!

Orange Spooner
2 cups of orange juice
Thin strip of lime rind
¼ cup of confectioners’ sugar
2 sprigs of mint

Cover and blend for 10 seconds. Add 3 cups of crushed ice and blend until smooth. Serve with spoons if need be. Maybe that’s where the name comes from? Enjoy!


James T. Farmer III was born and raised in Georgia, where he continues to live and work as a landscape designer. He shares his love of food, flowers and photography on his blog All Things Farmer. He shares his design skills in his book Time to Plant, A: Southern-Style Garden Living.