10 Citrus Cocktails To Keep Your Life Tangy

photo by Amanda Schuster
photo by Amanda Schuster

Yes, yes, winter is the season of hot chocolate and flips, but it’s also when the citrus fruit harvest is in full swing. Don’t just settle for spiked lemonade. If there was ever a time to demand fresh juice, this is it.! Yesterday we posted the history of the Whiskey Sour. Check out these other classic citrus cocktails that will keep you sipping happy all winter.

The Gimlet

The Gimlet is the ultimate applause for simplicity. Comprised of just three ingredients: gin (or vodka), lime, and simple syrup, this cocktail is incredibly easy to make. While it can be served on the rocks, I prefer my Gimlet up. I had a particularly delicious gimlet at Schapiro’s made with Ford’s Gin. Here’s a variation of the classic Gimlet:

  • 2 oz/60 ml 86 Co. Ford’s Gin
  • 1 oz/30 ml Lime juice
  • 1 oz/30 ml Simple syrup

In a shaker filled with ice, shake and strain into champagne coup. Garnish with a twist of lime.

The Penicillin

Given the hokey name of this cocktail, a lot of people mistake it as being proprietary. Wrong! Although the Penicillin originated on the Lower East Side, it’s now a cocktail staple. Think you don’t like peated whisky? This could change your mind. The Underdog complements Connemara peated whiskey with honey, lemon, ginger and Dead Rabbit Orinoco bitters made by Adam Elmigirab. Get better sooner. Here a recipe for a similar drink, made with all Irish whiskeys, but you can also use Scotch.

Caipirinha, ctsy Porto Bay Hotel & Resorts
Caipirinha, ctsy Porto Bay Hotel & Resorts
  • 2 oz/60 ml Powers Gold Label whiskey
  • ¾ oz/20 ml Lemon juice
  • ¾ oz/20 ml Honey
  • ¼ oz/7 ml Connemara peated whiskey
  • 3 Slices fresh ginger
  • 3 Dashes Dead Rabbit Orinoco bitters (or Peychaud's if you can't find it)

Muddle the ginger in a shaker, then fill with all of the ingredients except the peated whisky and ice. Shake and strain into a lowball and float the peated whisky atop.

The Caipirinha

Ah, Brazil’s National Drink might also be your night’s biggest mistake. Do not down four Caipirinhas, although the impulse will be present. The main ingredient in the Caipirinha is cachaça. Unlike rum, which is often made of molasses (the by-product of sugar), cachaça is made exclusively from sugarcane juice, and was officially granted its own category to set it apart from rum. The Caipirinha is most commonly made with lime. Here’s a take on the ol’ classic. Cheers!

In a lowball glass, muddle the limes and sugar. Add ice and stir in the cachaça. Garnish with a lime wedge.

The Last Word

Once a Prohibition-era cocktail, The Last Word experienced somewhat of a rebirth at Seattle's Zig Zag Café. This gin and lime based cocktail mixes Chartreuse and maraschino liqueur for a funky, sweet and sour concoction. Warning: this cocktail can be super sweet, so you might want to adjust the Chartreuse measurement accordingly. For those with a penchant for the sugary, Madam Geneva makes the drink excellently with Beefeater. Here’s a simple way toward your Last Word.

Harvey Wallbanger, photo by Bienvenido
Harvey Wallbanger, photo by Bienvenido
  • ¾ oz/20 ml Beefeater gin
  • ¾ oz/20 ml Green Chartreuse
  • ¾ oz/20 ml Lime juice
  • ¾ oz/20 ml Maraschino Liqueur

Shake with ice and strain into champagne coupe.

The Harvey Wallbanger

Besides orange juice and vodka, the Harvey Wallbanger calls for Galliano, an Italian herbal liqueur filled with anise and vanilla. Despite its hefty name, the HW is a pretty standard cocktail. Supposedly, the drink was named after a patron of Duke’s Blackwatch Bar. Bang away, Harvey! Want to try this at home? We recommend Dry Fly Vodka.

In a tall glass filled with ice, add the orange juice and vodka. Stir, and then float the Galliano on top.

Margarita, photo by Ralph Daily
Margarita, photo by Ralph Daily

The Sidecar

Made with Cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice, this old favorite is making a comeback. Predictably, the cocktail is of French origin, with the Paris Ritz staking claim. However, some believe its roots are British. So it’s kind of like the French Bulldog of cocktails. Bursting with beautiful orange colors and moody flavors, this is your grandmother’s favorite drink redefined.

  • 1.5 oz/35 ml Cognac
  • ¾ oz/20 ml Triple sec
  • ¾ oz/20 ml Lemon juice

Set aside a sugar-rimmed glass of your choosing. In a shaker filled with ice, shake the ingredients and shake into said glass. Garnish with orange peel

The Paloma

As its name might suggest (paloma is Spanish for dove) this is a lovely drink - when done correctly. Although the Paloma is commonly made with grapefruit soda and tequila, I prefer it with fresh unsweetened grapefruit juice, and club soda. New York City's Mayahuel makes an incredible Spicy Paloma with jalapeño infused tequila blanco and salt. Here’s my adaptation:

  • 3 oz/90 ml Grapefruit juice (unsweetened)
  • 2 oz/60 ml Tequila Blanco infused with jalapeño*
  • ½ oz/15 ml Lime juice
  • ½ oz/15 ml Simple syrup
  • Club soda for topping

Shake all ingredients except soda well with ice. Strain into highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with grapefruit wedge.

*To make the jalapeño infused tequila, add two seeded and sliced jalapeno peppers to a 750/700ml bottle of tequila poured into a glass jar. Let steep overnight. Strain.

The Monkey Gland

This is one of my all time favorite (and admittedly, grossly misnomered) cocktails. It calls for both absinthe and gin, plus orange juice and grenadine. Though it’s been around since the ‘20s, it’s not always the most standard thing to order. Make sure the bar you’re attending serves this sort of cocktail, otherwise you’ll feel like a jerk. If you’re feeling cheeky, you might as well go to Monkey Bar and order one. Here’s a basic Monkey Gland recipe:

  • 1.5 oz/35 ml Gin
  • 1.5 oz/35 ml Orange juice
  • ⅓ oz/10 ml Absinthe
  • ⅕ oz/6 ml Grenadine
  • ⅕ oz/6 ml Simple syrup

In a shaker filled with ice, shake briefly and strain into a cold glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Ramos Gin Fizz, photo by Edsel Little
Ramos Gin Fizz, photo by Edsel Little

The Margarita

It wouldn’t really be a citrus list without the Margarita, would it? Available at basically any bar (although varying in quality and legality), the margarita calls for tequila, triple sec, and lime. I believe this is one of the few cocktails that pairs beautifully with food. You are even free to drink it as a slushy!

  • 1.5 oz/35 ml Tequila Reposado OR Mezcal
  • 1 oz/30 ml Lime juice
  • ½ oz/15 ml Triple sec

Shake all ingredients well with ice. Strain In a chilled lowball glass filled with ice (salt rim optional) or serve up in a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.

Last, but not least, The Ramos Gin Fizz

Here’s a tip: this drink is laborious to make. Do not order on a jammed Friday night unless it’s listed on the menu or you’re BFF with the bartender. This is a NOLA favorite, and back in the day a team of bartenders would line up to make it. Why? Because you shake, and shake, and shake, and SHAKE IT. It’s as delicate and airy in taste as it is excruciating in process. Comprising of gin, heavy cream, orange flower water, lemon and lime juice, egg white, vanilla, and soda (just one second, taking a breath), this is a beautifully light drink despite heavier ingredients. If you’re running short on orange flower water, you can make this at home with orange bitters or a little triple sec. Don’t leave that out, though, it really gives the drink a delicate touch.

Dry shake (shake without ice) for 40 seconds, add ice and shake for another 35, making sure to count. You really have to or it won't work! Strain into tall glass. Top with soda. Breathe sigh of relief. Enjoy!