Citrus Cooler Cocktail Recipe

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Citrus Cooler Nutrition Facts






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 Citrus Cooler cocktail is a refreshing and zesty drink that was created in the 1980s. It quickly gained popularity among those who enjoyed light and fruity cocktails. The Citrus Cooler is perfect for a hot summer day or a relaxing evening with friends.

  • The Citrus Cooler was inspired by the classic Tom Collins cocktail
  • It is often served at poolside parties and outdoor events
  • The drink is a favorite among those who enjoy citrus flavors

How Citrus Cooler Tastes?

The Citrus Cooler is a light, refreshing, and zesty cocktail. It has a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors, with a hint of bitterness from the grapefruit. The combination of citrus fruits creates a vibrant and invigorating taste that is both thirst-quenching and satisfying.

Interesting facts about Citrus Cooler

  • The Citrus Cooler is sometimes called a 'grown-up lemonade' due to its refreshing and light taste
  • The cocktail is often served in a tall glass with lots of ice to keep it cool and refreshing
  • The Citrus Cooler is a versatile drink that can be easily adapted to include other fruits or flavors


  • Vodka: 1.5 oz(45ml)
  • Lemon juice: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Grapefruit juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Simple syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Club soda: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Ice: 1 cup
  • Orange slice: 1
  • Lemon slice: 1

A few good options for Citrus Cooler are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


The cornerstone of many classic cocktails, vodka is chosen for its neutrality--it provides a strong alcoholic base without overpowering other flavors. A 1.5 oz serving is the happy medium that allows the citrus to shine while still giving you that 'kick' you're looking for in a cocktail. Too much vodka, and your mouth may pucker more from the alcohol than the lemon!

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

Half ounce is all about balance, giving a tart edge without turning the drink sour. Lemon juice adds a bright, zesty character, and if skipped, you'd lose a layer of complexity in your Citrus Cooler, making it just a tad too sweet and bland.

Alex Green

Grapefruit Juice

The 1 oz of grapefruit juice brings a bittersweet profile that makes the cooler sophisticated and refreshing. Ditch the grapefruit juice, and you're missing the signature tang that defines the cocktail. No one wants a one-dimensional drink, right?

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

Exactly half an ounce to kiss the cocktail with sweetness and balance the sour elements. Without it, you might find yourself reaching for a sugary snack to counteract the tartness. It's like a peacemaker amongst flavors!

Emma Rose

Club Soda

This is the life of the party, giving the drink its bubbliness and light body. At a 2 oz pour, it's the perfect amount to dilute the drink to a pleasing potency. Without it, your cooler would be flat both figuratively and literally!

Alex Green


A cup of ice cools things down and brings it all together—skip it, and the cocktail becomes a lukewarm conversation killer. Ice is the unsung hero that never craves the spotlight but always deserves it.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Slice and Lemon Slice

Shall we call them the crown jewels? These garnishes provide both a pop of color and a hint of fresh citrus scent with each sip—a skipping garnish means missing that Instagram-worthy final touch.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Citrus Cooler Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice
  2. Add vodka, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup
  3. Shake well until chilled
  4. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice
  5. Top with club soda
  6. Gently stir to combine
  7. Garnish with an orange slice and a lemon slice

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail well to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed
  • Use freshly squeezed citrus juices for a more vibrant flavor
  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the cocktail cool for longer

Perfect Pairings


  • Seafood: The citrus flavors in the cocktail complement seafood dishes, especially lighter ones like shrimp cocktail or grilled fish tacos.
  • Salads: Try it with a crispy green salad that has a fruity vinaigrette dressing; the bright citrus notes will harmonize beautifully.
  • Cheese Platter: The refreshing taste of the Citrus Cooler goes well with a cheese platter that includes goat cheese, feta, or a creamy brie.


  • Grilled Poultry: A zesty grilled chicken with herbs will pair nicely as the cocktail will cleanse the palate with each sip.
  • Vegetarian Dishes: Items like lemon-infused quinoa or citrus-dressed roasted vegetables will echo the flavors in your glass.


  • Citrus Desserts: Lemon bars or grapefruit sorbet will create a citrus symphony in the mouth when taken with the cocktail.
  • Light Cakes: Angel food cake or a chiffon cake would complement the drink's light and refreshing nature.

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What you could change in Citrus Cooler

  • Vodka: Can be replaced with gin or tequila for a different flavor profile
  • Grapefruit Juice: Can be substituted with orange juice or pineapple juice
  • Simple Syrup: Can be replaced with honey or agave syrup for a natural sweetener

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Spicy Citrus Cooler

Add a thin slice of jalapeño to the shaker before mixing. The spicy kick will contrast the sweet and tart flavors, giving a warming sensation with each sip—perfect for those who like a bit of heat in their drink.

Citrus Cooler Royale

Top the drink with a splash of champagne instead of club soda. This luxurious twist adds a touch of elegance and a pleasant dryness, taking your cocktail from casual to celebratory in a matter of bubbles.

Herbal Citrus Cooler

Include a sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme in the shaker. The herbs will infuse a delicate, earthy aroma that complements the vibrant citrus notes—ideal for an aromatic twist that's as refreshing as a walk in a Mediterranean garden.

In case you forgot basics how to make Citrus Cooler

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

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 Citrus Cooler

What is the best type of vodka to use in a Citrus Cooler?

While any type of vodka will work in this cocktail, premium or top-tier vodkas can enhance the overall quality and taste. Some popular choices include Grey Goose, Belvedere, or Absolut.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of the Citrus Cooler?

Yes, you can easily make a non-alcoholic or mocktail version of the Citrus Cooler by simply omitting the vodka and adding more club soda or citrus juice.

Is the Citrus Cooler a good cocktail for beginners to make?

Absolutely. The Citrus Cooler is fairly simple to make and doesn't require any complex techniques or unusual ingredients, making it a great choice for beginners.

Do I need a cocktail shaker to make a Citrus Cooler?

While a cocktail shaker is recommended to properly blend the ingredients and chill the cocktail, in a pinch you could use a mason jar with a tight lid or even stir the ingredients together in the glass.

What other garnishes can I use for the Citrus Cooler?

While the recipe suggests using an orange slice and lemon slice, you can also use a slice of grapefruit or a sprig of fresh mint for a different visual appeal and flavor profile.

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