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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!

Caramelized Citrus Smash


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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 Dip the cut fruit in sugar for this Caramelized Citrus Smash


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?

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Grill the citrus face down before you cook any meats or veggies.


  1. Watermelon
  2. Pineapple
  3. Peaches
  4. Pears
  5. Grapefruit
  6. 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.

Look at this gorgeous grilled citrus!! Caramelized Citrus Smash


  1. Make sure your grill is good and hot!  Let it warm up for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Be sure to scrape or clean the grates really well.  You don’t want any bits of leftover steak on your fruit.
  3. Oil the grates with a light or neutral flavored oil that has a high smoke point like safflower or avocado oil.
  4. Place the fruit flesh side down on the grates and cook WITHOUT MOVING for 3 minutes to get a good sear.
  5. 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.

Sweet and Tart Grilled Citrus for my Caramelized Citrus Smash | Take Two Tapas | #GrilledCitrus #SummerCocktails #Grapefruit #Limes #VodkaCocktails

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.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

Smoky and Sweet Caramelized Citrus Smash

This Caramelized Citrus Smash features grilled citrus with a touch of sweetness, is light and crisp, and perfect for a summer afternoon!


Caramelized Citrus Smash cocktails and grilled citrus on a table

Caramelized Citrus Smash

This Caramelized Citrus Smash features grilled citrus with a touch of sweetness, is light and crisp, and perfect for a summer afternoon!
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks and Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 10 cocktails
Calories: 185kcal
Author: Brooks Stewart


  • 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
  • Ice


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!


*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars.  Thank you!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g
Grilled Caramelized Citrus Smash | Take Two Tapas | #GrilledCitrus #SummerCocktails #Grapefruit #Limes #VodkaCocktails

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Recipe Rating


Saturday 18th of August 2018

I never thought of grilling fruits other than pineapple. These sound really refreshing and I like that I can make the non=alcoholic version for the kids.


Saturday 18th of August 2018

I never thought of grilling fruits other than pineapple. These sound really refreshing and I like that I can make the non=alcoholic version for the kids.

pam (Grey is the New Black)

Tuesday 21st of July 2015

This is fantastic! Thanks for linking up to Tipsy Tuesday!

Saturday 25th of July 2015

Thanks Pam! I always enjoy a great cocktail party:)

A Potable Pastime

Tuesday 21st of July 2015

I've grilled fruit before (pineapple, peaches) but not citrus, and never thought of using it in a cocktail, either. Will have to try!


Monday 30th of March 2015

I have never tried grilling citrus fruit, this sounds wonderful!