Uptown Rocks Cocktail Recipe

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Uptown Rocks Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:15

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 Uptown Rocks is a sophisticated cocktail that hails from the upscale bars of New York City. It's a favorite among the city's elite who appreciate its balanced flavors and elegant presentation. The cocktail's name is a nod to the uptown districts of Manhattan, known for their luxury and refinement. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a drink with a bit of a kick, but also appreciate the finer things in life.

How Uptown Rocks Tastes?

The Uptown Rocks is a delightful blend of sweet, sour, and bubbly. The sweetness of the agave syrup and the tartness of the lime and grapefruit juices are perfectly balanced by the smoothness of the vodka and the effervescence of the champagne. It's a cocktail that's both refreshing and sophisticated.

Interesting facts about Uptown Rocks

  • The Uptown Rocks is typically served in a rocks glass, hence the name.
  • Despite its sophisticated image, it's a relatively easy cocktail to make at home.
  • The cocktail's signature orange hue comes from the Ketel One Oranje Vodka.


A few good options for Uptown Rocks are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose

Ketel One Oranje Vodka

With a modest 1.25 oz, this vodka brings a smooth, citrus-flavored foundation. Too much, and you'll be on a one-way trip to tipsytown. Too little, the drink lacks character. No Ketel One Oranje? No worries! Use regular vodka and a dash of orange essence.

Mary Mitkina

Pink Grapefruit Juice

1 oz provides a tangy touch without turning the drink into a sourpuss. Skipping grapefruit means missing that zesty zing – a crucial part of the 'Uptown Rocks' identity. Grapefruit substitute? Try orange or pomelo juice for a similar vibe.

Mary Mitkina

Lime Juice

Half an ounce brightens the cocktail with acidity, balancing the sweetness. Leaving it out dulls the razzle-dazzle of the drink. Lemon juice is a nifty substitute, but expect a slightly different type of tart.

Alex Green

Agave Syrup

Just a third of an ounce sweetens the deal, avoiding a flavor profile that's too tart. Miss out the agave, and the balance shifts unfavorably. Alternative sweetener? Simple syrup can step in, but it lacks the agave's suave touch.

Mary Mitkina

Brut Champagne or Sparkling Wine

A splash of fizz, precisely 0.67 oz, to elevate the cocktail's elegance. Forget the bubbly, and you lose the spectacle. Prosecco can substitute for a sweeter lift.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Uptown Rocks Drink

  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice.
  2. In a shaker, combine the vodka, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and agave syrup.
  3. Shake well until the mixture is chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into the glass.
  5. Top with the champagne or sparkling wine.
  6. Stir gently to combine.
  7. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit or lime, if desired.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh-squeezed juices whenever possible for the best flavor.
  • Chill your glass before serving for an extra refreshing cocktail.
  • Don't shake the cocktail after adding the champagne or sparkling wine to preserve the bubbles.

Perfect Pairings


Especially dishes such as shrimp cocktail or a light ceviche. The citrus base of the drink pairs amazingly with the seafood's delicate flavors.

Salty Snacks

Think along the lines of salted nuts or pretzels which contrast nicely with the sweet and tart profile of the cocktail. We recommend using <Link href="https://amzn.to/3vYqbjn" rel="nofollow">these snacks</Link>

Cheese Platters

A variety of cheeses, particularly goat cheese or feta, which have a tangy flavor that complements the cocktail’s citrus notes.

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What you could change in Uptown Rocks

  • If you can't find Ketel One Oranje Vodka, any good quality orange-flavored vodka will do.
  • If you're not a fan of grapefruit, you can substitute it with orange juice.
  • Agave syrup can be replaced with simple syrup or honey.

Explore all drinks starting with U here

And of course - twists🍹

Citrus Blast

Use lemon vodka and swap out grapefruit juice for a mix of orange and lemon juices. This twist punches up the citrus notes for those who love a tangy cocktail with a sharper zest.

Tropical Remix

Substitute the vodka with coconut rum, and replace grapefruit juice with pineapple juice. This will transport 'Uptown Rocks' from the sophisticated cityscape to a beachside sunset.

Berry Uptown

Introduce muddled raspberries and swap champagne for a rosé sparkling wine. The berries add a fruity sweetness and the rosé puts in a blush, creating a 'berry' delicious twist on the traditional.

In case you forgot basics how to make Uptown Rocks

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 Uptown Rocks

What type of gin works best for the Uptown Rocks cocktail?

Though any gin can be used, a traditional London Dry Gin can add a distinct complexity to the cocktail with its robust juniper notes.

Can I use bottled lime juice instead of fresh lime juice for this cocktail?

While bottled lime juice can be used in a pinch, fresh lime juice is highly recommended for the best flavor.

What other garnishes can be used for Uptown Rocks cocktail?

In addition to cherry and lime wheel, other citrus fruits like an orange slice or a sprig of fresh mint could also add a nice touch.

Can I serve the Uptown Rocks cocktail in a different type of glass?

Traditionally, the Uptown Rocks cocktail is served in a rocks glass, but it can also be served in a highball glass or a stemless wine glass.

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