While the grill is hot, throw on some fresh citrus for a beverage that will keep you cool while you’re cooking. My Caramelized Citrus Smash is perfect for summer and all year long!
If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
I saw a commercial for charcoal grills the other day and they mentioned grilled fruit. Right away my brain kicked in and said: “WOW that would be a great idea for a cocktail!”
Vodka drinks and red wine are my usual go-to drinks at parties so you can tell that I like tart and sweet drinks. My husband, Brooks, drinks bourbon. I guess being from Kentucky it’s only natural for him to gravitate toward that spirit.
The only way I can drink “the brown” is with raspberry ginger ale. Or after I have consumed a few too many cocktails and then I could drink toxic waste and I wouldn’t know. Back to my vodka drinks…
Fresh citrus is always better than buying bottled juice because the juice tastes better, you get all the vitamins and nutrients from it, bottled juice has been processed to remove the “good stuff” and has extra sugar added to it. You don’t want that!
I like the sweetness of fruit mixed with vodka and the acid of citrus to round out a summer day of lounging by the pool. Or any day that ends in Y for that matter. Living in Arizona I need to be mindful of staying hydrated. If I’m feeling guilty about not drinking water I remind myself that there is ice in my drink so I will stay hydrated! LOL!
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Easy Summer Drinks
With all the fresh fruit in season during the summer, including all the gorgeous citrus, I can’t help but take advantage of it and make some simple and quick summery drinks. What else is popular in the summer? Grilling outside!
Why not pull double duty on the grill if I am heating it up for burgers and such and grill some citrus to make a cocktail?
What is the best fruit to grill?
- and I’d love to try cherries
All of these are great but I don’t see my favorite fruit for cocktails. Lemons and limes!
For the Caramelized Citrus Smash, I use ruby-red grapefruits, lemons, limes, and navel oranges. The addition of the oranges adds a hint of sweetness without overpowering the other citrus.
How do I make grilled fruit?
- Make sure your grill is good and hot! Let it warm up for at least 10 minutes.
- Be sure to scrape or clean the grates really well. You don’t want any bits of leftover steak on your fruit.
- Oil the grates with a light or neutral flavored oil that has a high smoke point like safflower or avocado oil.
- Place the fruit flesh side down on the grates and cook WITHOUT MOVING for 3 minutes to get a good sear.
- Remove and let sit until cool enough to handle.
For my Caramelized Citrus Smash, I slice my citrus in half, brush the cut side with a bit of honey, and dip the cut sides in sugar. The honey helps the sugar to stick to the citrus better. Toss the citrus cut side down on the grill to caramelize the sugar and get some pretty grill marks on it.
Once the fruit/citrus is grilled I let it rest until cool.
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At this point, you can bag up all the citrus and store them in the fridge or the freezer. I like to juice the citrus once it is cool enough to handle. Using my hands I squeeze and smash the juice and a little of the pulp into a glass container and keep it in the fridge to make cocktails. I even save a few of the smaller pieces like the lemons and limes in the freezer as pretty cocktail garnishes later on.
Once you have the juice you can build your cocktail or mocktail!
The Caramelized Citrus Smash is equal parts vodka and grilled citrus juice with sparkling water or lemon-lime soda to your liking. You can even leave out the vodka and make it a mocktail by just adding the soda or sparkling water to the grilled juice.
Summer Cocktails with Vodka
Vodka is such a light spirit that pairs with a wide variety of mixers. Here are some other fun summer cocktails that you can make with vodka:
- Sparkling Pineapple Lemonade
- Space Pop Cocktail
- Watermelon Vodka Cocktail
- Tropical Mini Cocktails
- Blackberry Coconut Splash
- Blueberry Vodka Lemonade
This Caramelized Citrus Smash features grilled citrus with a touch of sweetness, is light and crisp, and perfect for a summer afternoon!
- 2 Ruby Red Grapefruits (cut in half)
- 2 Navel Oranges (cut in half)
- 2 Lemons (cut in half)
- 2 Limes (cut in half)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 15 ounces Vodka
- Water (optional lemon-lime soda or sparkling water)
Prep and grill the citrus
- Slice all citrus in half.
- Dip the cut ends in sugar.
- Grill on high for 8 minutes or until sugar is caramelized.
Prepare the Caramelized Citrus Juice
- Squeeze the juice from all the citrus.
- Add honey and mix.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the Caramelized Citrus Smash Cocktail
- Mix 1.5 ounces vodka, 1.5 ounces juice, and 1 ounce of water or sparkling water.
- Serve over ice cube!
- PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 1g
This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
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