During the winter months, produce aisles of Japanese supermarkets become a bounty of unique variations on the orange: mikan, iyokan, ponkan, dekopon and more. Each hybrid and cultivar embody a different shape and balance between sweet and sour, but most are peeled before eating — except for the kinkan.
Kinkan (Citrus japonica) is a type of small, round or oval kumquat. There are seed and seedless varieties, and the entire thing is generally eaten in one bite, peel and all. The thin peel adds bitterness to the usual sweet and sour experience of a mandarin orange, and the size makes for an enjoyably fleeting moment of feeling gargantuan.
An Americano is a simple, quality cocktail vessel to explore the subtleties of kinkan. Not to be confused with the coffee, although both are supposedly named because of their popularity with American tourists, this Italian aperitif requires equal parts bitter Campari and sweet vermouth over ice and topped with soda water.
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Last modified: March 18, 2023