California Cooler Cocktail Recipe

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California Cooler Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:12

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The California Cooler is a refreshing and fruity cocktail that originated in the sunny state of California. It's a popular choice for those who enjoy a light, fruity drink with a hint of fizz. The cocktail is believed to have been created in the 1980s, during the wine cooler craze. It's a great choice for those who enjoy white wine and citrus flavors.

How California Cooler Tastes?

The California Cooler is a light, refreshing cocktail with a fruity taste. It has a sweet and tangy flavor with a hint of fizz. The white wine gives it a crisp, dry taste, while the citrus juices add a tangy sweetness. The soda water adds a bit of fizz, making it a perfect summer drink.

Interesting facts about California Cooler

  • The California Cooler was popular during the 1980s wine cooler craze.
  • It's a great choice for those who enjoy white wine and citrus flavors.
  • The cocktail is named after the sunny state of California, where it was created.


  • White wine: 4 oz(120ml)
  • Lemon juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Lime juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Orange juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Soda water: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Ice cubes: as needed
  • Orange slice: 1
  • Maraschino cherry: 1

White Wine

A good California Chardonnay brings fruity and acidic notes that form the base of this cocktail. The 4 oz serving is just enough to shine without overpowering the other flavors. If you skimp on this, the drink loses its wine character. Using a different wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc, can introduce more citrusy and grassy notes.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

Bright and tangy, 1 oz of lemon juice adds a punch and contrast to the sweetness. Too much, and your lips will pucker; too little, and you'll miss the zing. Substitute with yuzu juice for an exotic twist.

Emma Rose

Lime Juice

Lime juice at 1 oz complements the lemon with its own distinct tartness, adding depth. Mess up this measure, and the cocktail can become too tart or too flat. For a change-up, try swapping for key lime juice for a more aromatic profile.

Alex Green

Orange Juice

Sweetness and smoothness come from 1 oz of orange juice. It brings balance, so if it's left out or reduced, the cocktail might be too sharp. Mandarin juice could be a sweeter alternative—if you're willing to tweak traditions.

Mary Mitkina

Soda Water

The 2 oz of soda water give your drink a bubbly lift—miss out on this, and you've got a flat, sad cooler. Use tonic for a bitter kick, or flavored sparkling water for a subtle twist.

Emma Rose

Ice Cubes

Ice keeps it cool and casual. No ice equals a warm, uninviting sip that won't do you any favors. Crush it for a slushie-like cooler on those extra-hot days.

Alex Green

Orange Slice

An orange slice garnish isn't just for looks—it adds a hint of fresh citrus aroma with every sip. No slice is no fun. A lemon or lime wheel could step in if oranges are MIA.

Mary Mitkina

Maraschino Cherry

The cherry on top, literally. It's a sweet, playful finish that leaves a lasting impression. Skipping it isn't a dealbreaker, but why miss out on the fun? Try a slice of peach for a summery vibe.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make California Cooler Drink

  1. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  2. Pour in the white wine, lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice.
  3. Top with soda water.
  4. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Pro Tips

  • Make sure to use fresh citrus juices for the best flavor.
  • You can adjust the amount of soda water to suit your taste.
  • Serve in a tall glass for the best presentation.

Perfect Pairings


Light and refreshing appetizers such as bruschetta, sushi, or a fresh green salad with citrus vinaigrette would complement the bright acidity and citrus notes of the California Cooler.


Grilled or baked fish, shrimp cocktail, and calamari are great seafood options that would pair nicely with the crispness of the white wine and the effervescence of the soda water.


A cheese platter featuring mild cheeses like goat cheese, brie, or feta will balance well with the fruity and tangy flavors in the cocktail.

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What you could change in California Cooler

  1. You can substitute the white wine with sparkling wine for a more festive version.
  2. If you don't have soda water, you can use club soda or tonic water.
  3. You can also add a splash of grenadine for a sweeter taste and a pop of color.

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Sparkling Wine Cooler

Replace the white wine with 4 oz of sparkling wine for an extra fizzy experience. The zesty citrus will highlight the effervescence, making for a party in your mouth.


  1. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  2. Pour 4 oz of sparkling wine instead of still white wine.
  3. Add the lemon, lime, and orange juices as normal.
  4. Top with soda water.
  5. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

This twist turns the chill factor up a notch, perfect for celebratory toasts!

Tropical Cooler

Throw in the flavors of the tropics by using coconut water instead of soda and adding 1/2 oz of pineapple juice.


  1. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  2. Pour in the white wine, lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice.
  3. Add 1/2 oz of pineapple juice.
  4. Top with the same amount of coconut water instead of soda water.
  5. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.

Sip this and be instantly transported to a beach with white sand under your toes.

Berry Delicious Cooler

Infuse the cocktail with berry flavors by adding 1 oz of mixed berry puree and switching the soda water to lemon-lime soda.


  1. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  2. Mix in 1 oz of mixed berry puree.
  3. Pour in the white wine, lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice.
  4. Swap out soda water for an equal part of lemon-lime soda.
  5. Garnish with a few fresh berries and an orange slice.

It's a berry blast that will have you dreaming of summer picnics and berry picking adventures.

In case you forgot basics how to make California Cooler

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on California Cooler

What is the best type of white wine to use for a California Cooler?

The California Cooler cocktail can be made with any white wine you prefer. However, a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would complement the citrus flavors.

Can I make it without alcohol?

Yes, you can substitute the wine with a non-alcoholic white grape juice to create a mocktail version of California Cooler.

Is drinking a California Cooler good for people trying to maintain their weight?

The California Cooler is a light cocktail and contains around 150 calories, so it could fit into a balanced diet. However, it's essential to consume alcohol responsibly and remember that it also contains sugars.

Why does the California Cooler use both lemon and lime juice?

Both lemon and lime juice are used to create a balance of flavors. While they are both citrus fruits, they have distinct flavors. Lemon juice is more sour, and lime juice is slightly sweet, which complements the tanginess of the orange juice and the dryness of the wine.

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