Three top citrus cocktails for summer


Summertime is a wonderful time of the year, one which I personally have come to appreciate more and more as I get older.  The warm weather, flowers blooming, long days, and comfortable breezes add up to make a welcoming time to enjoy the outdoors.  It’s also the time of year when citrus makes a great complement to dishes and drinks.  Here are some of my favorite citrus-based cocktails, and my recipe for homemade sour mix.  Warning: some of the drink recipes may be slightly off in terms of measurements, and they also may need to be adjusted to your personal taste.  However, I believe they should be good to go as-is.

1. Margarita on the Rocks

Libbey Vina Margarita Glass

This is a great drink to make in batches, since you can tweak it for more or less citrus intensity, and for strength.  The thing that makes this “homemade” is the sour mix (see recipe below).

1 1/4 oz. tequila

3/4 oz. triple sec

1 oz. sour mix

Add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a margarita glass or a rocks glass with ice.  If you would like a salted rim, you can prepare the glass before pouring in the mix using a Margarita Glass Rimmer. Alternatively, if you have two plates on hand, place a small bit of water or lime juice on one of the plates and spread a coating of salt evenly onto the other.  Turn the glass upside down and dip it onto the first plate, and then transfer it onto the salted plate.  Move the glass rim around the salt to ensure an even coat, and then gently tap the glass so that any excess salt falls back onto the plate (rather than having it dribble down into the drink).  For a “top shelf” margarita, use a high-quality margarita and replace the triple sec with Cointreau.  For an added touch, after pouring the drink into the glass, drizzle the top with a splash of Grand Marnier.

2. Tequila Sunrise

It’s been a while since I made one of these, but it’s one of the more pleasantly-aesthetic orange juice cocktails out there.

2 oz. tequila


3 oz. orange juice

To make, simply add the tequila and orange juice to a shaker with ice, shake, and pour into a highball glass (or similar glass).  Then, carefully pour a splash of grenadine down the side of the glass so that it settles at the bottom.  If the grenadine forms too distinct a layer, take a straw or spoon and gently stir so that it blends more with the orange juice so that the dark red at the bottom makes a nice transition to the orange color above, like the sky during sunrise.

3. Tom Collins

This is perhaps my favorite summertime drinks.  Simple to make, it seems to have it all you want in summer – sweet, sour, the notes of the gin, and the fizz of the soda.

1 1/4 oz. gin

3/4 oz. sour mix

soda water

Mix the gin and sour mix in a shaker with ice, pour into a highball glass, and fill to the top with the soda water.  Mix gently with a spoon, and drop a cherry in so it settles at the bottom.


Homemade Sour Mix

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Juice from lemons and limes (3-4 each)

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot or saucepan and add the sugar, stirring so it dissolves.  Add lemon and lime juice, turn down the heat, and let simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool before using.  The mixture should turn into a concentrated mixture of sweet and sour proportions, but you may want to increase the amount of either citrus fruit based upon your personal preference.  For quick cocktails, use the sour mix to make a variety of “sour” drinks, such as Amaretto Sour, Whisky Sour, etc.  Simply combine 2 oz. liquor with 1 oz. sour mix with ice in a shaker, shake, and strain onto ice in a cocktail glass.

Some other citrus-based cocktails

  • Mojito
  • Vodka Gimlet
  • Screwdriver
  • Lemon Drop




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