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Guide to citrus cocktails

If you are looking for citrus cocktail inspiration, Drizly will help you fill up that glass with this handy list of recipes featuring our favorite fruits.

February 24, 2022

Tropical Cocktail with Pineapple Garnish

Nothing freshens up your afternoon get-togethers like a citrus flavored adult beverage. Adding a squeeze of fresh fruit to your cocktail adds a colorful sparkle along with tangy flavors.

So, if you have been only using your fresh fruits as a garnish, let's take a look at how to spice up your garden party this season.

What exactly is a citrus cocktail?

Citrus fruits and alcohol have a long history together. Originally used to help flavor low-quality products, drinks mixed with high vitamin C fruits like oranges and lemons had the added health benefit of helping to prevent scurvy during colonial times. Today, the acidity of citrus fruits are used to help balance the flavor profiles of many drinks. They can either be a major component of the drink like a greyhound which is equal parts grapefruit and vodka, or a simple twist of lime in a whisky highball.   

Tips for preparing citrus cocktails

What liquor works best with citrus?

The two traditional favorites when it comes to tangy citrus cocktails are vodka and tequila. Classics like the margarita, the greyhound, and the gimlet all come to mind while the champion of all warm weather fruit-based drinks is red-wine soaked sangria.

What citrus fruits should I use?

Aim for seasonal fruit from your nearest farmer's market for the freshest drinks. Staples like grapefruit juice and lime juice top the list along with lemons and all types of oranges. The key to preparation is to mix the drinks as quickly as possible. The longer your freshly squeezed juice sits around, the less tart it has.

Where can I buy pre-made citrus cocktails?

It is supposed to be easy living in the summer and if you don't want to be bothered crafting the perfect drink, there are plenty of options for pouring a tasty beverage straight from the can into the glass. Our selection of ready-to-drink citrus cocktails include daiquiris, margaritas, and other fruity cocktails.

What can I substitute for ingredients?

Don't fret if you can get your hands on fresh limes - experimentation with other fruits is part of the fun. For instance, a wedge of orange instead of lime turns a vodka tonic into an entirely new drink.

Recommended citrus cocktail recipes

If you are looking for inspiration, Drizly has you covered with some zesty cocktail suggestions.

The Bee's Knees

A Prohibition-era mainstay, The Bee's Knees originally used fresh lemon juice along with honey to hide the harsh taste of bootlegged gin. Fun fact: if you replace the gin with light right rum, this cocktail becomes a Honeysuckle and if you use Jamaican rum, it's called a Honey Bee. 

Orange Blossom

The Orange Blossom is a sparkling twist to the ordinary mimosa! Next time you have to host brunch, surprise your friends with this lovely cocktail that mixes freshly squeezed orange juice, vodka, and prosecco.

Citrus Margarita

The Citrus Margarita takes the classic margarita to the next level! Add expected ingredients to your shaker like tequila and triple sec, then combine with fresh orange and tangy lime along with agave nectar for an ideal summertime sipping margarita. Best enjoyed with a bowl of chips, salsa, and guacamole.

Strawberry Basil Fizz

Take the fizz of ginger beer, the sweetness of strawberries, and the tartness of fresh lemon juice for a fruity flavored cocktail that is the perfect match for garden parties and afternoon happy hours.

Clementine Crush

You'll flip for this simple mix of tangerine and tequila. The Clementine Crush is classy enough to be served in a champagne glass, but chill enough to be enjoyed by the pool.

Tequila Sunrise

With a storied history, the Tequila Sunrise gets its namesake brilliant colors from floating a dash of bright red grenadine syrup into a glass full of orange juice and tequila.

Blood Orange Sangria

When you are ready to take your sangria game to the next level, check out this delicious food featuring the bold flavors of blood oranges. Our version takes chilled cabernet sauvignon, fresh cinnamon, and Cointreau mixed with the citrusy tang of blood orange juice. 

Where to buy citrus cocktails

Too busy to shop? Drizly has you covered. Browse our virtual shelves for lemonade, vodka, tequila, and everything else you need to craft the perfect fruity cocktail at home, and we’ll have it to you in an hour or less.