The cocktail world would be lost without citrus. From lemon and lime to orange and grapefruit, the tart fruits are everywhere. They garnish your Gin & Tonic, express their oils into your Sazerac and support an entire category of cocktails known as sours, which includes well-known drinks like the Margarita, Gimlet, Daiquiri and Sidecar. But there’s one quirky citrus fruit that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves: Yuzu.
The knobby, yellow, extra-seedy fruit tastes somewhere between a lemon, grapefruit and mandarin orange. It’s often used in Korean and Japanese cooking—it’s one of the main flavorings in ponzu sauce—but, as you may have guessed, it can also be used to zest up cocktails (pun intended).
Though the fresh fruit is hard to find stateside, a number of companies offer cocktail-friendly yuzu-flavored products (French liqueur purveyor Marie Brizard even announced plans to add a Yuzu Liqueur to its lineup). Here, seven citrusy essentials to add bright and funky flavor to your drinking repertoire.
This play on the yuzu-infused Junmai sake falls on the sweeter side of the yuzu spectrum. Skip the Sake Bombs
and instead try it in a citrus-spiked Sake-Tini
This straight-to-the-point cocktail mixer balances the tangy flavors of yuzu with meyer lemon and cane sugar syrup. It’s made specifically for boozy exploits, so all you have to do is mix it with your favorite spirit—we’d go for tequila, bourbon, vodka or even gin—and enjoy.
If you want all the delights of yuzu without the difficulty of hunting down the fresh fruit, go for this simple purée. There’s no artificial sweetener, color or flavor, so your drinks will get real deal tang.
For yuzu-in-a-bottle that will last much longer than fresh fruit or purée, this bottling is a no-brainer. Though sweeter than some other yuzu-flavored products, the dessert wine still channels the citrusy essence of the fruit, along with additional floral flavors, and will add depth and dimension to cocktails. Try swapping it in for vermouth in a Vodka Martini
and add a yuzu twist.
Made from a base of a barley-distilled spirit, this liqueur balances tart, crisp and sweet for a flavor that works in a variety of cocktails. The brand even suggests mixing it with tomato juice for a bright take on a Bloody Mary
Looking for just a hint of yuzu aroma for your Old Fashioned
? Bitters are the answer. This aromatic additive from Miracle Mile combines the citrus fruit with flavors of green tea, cinchona bark, cardamom pods, and burdock root.
Meet your Margarita’s new best friend. This citrusy salt adds a delicious bite to the classic lime-spiked drink. Pro move: Add a bit of yuzu purée to the cocktail and then rim the glass with this super fine, golden-hued seasoning to nail the summer drinking game.