Trending Cocktails: Citrus and Grapefruit Flavoring

Citrus has always been a favorite when it comes to both food and beverage flavoring, but trend reports show that 2015 is the year of the orange, grapefruit and lemon. Consumers tend to lean towards bold flavors and citrus helps spice up a meal or beverage without the added calories.

According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor from the third quarter of 2014, grapefruit appeared in 9.5% of appetizer dishes and 5.8% of entrées. When looking at Technomic’s Adult Beverage Flavor Trends report, grapefruit is one of the top three citrus flavors for spirits and cocktails – receiving 14.3% growth year-over-year on menus. Citrus, overall, was found to have a 10.6% year-over-year menu penetration at the bar.

Although seasonality can be an issue, it is recommended to use fresh citrus whenever possible. When squeezing the fruit, natural oils come out of the peel (the “zest”) and create a more natural and aromatic flavor, as opposed to the overly sweet taste that may come from artificial products. Navel and Valencia oranges, as well as Eureka and Meyer lemons, have yearlong availability. While grapefruit, such as Rio Red and Pummelo, may be more difficult to find as their season only runs from October through April. Using citrus in any type of dish will enhance the flavors of other items, making it a must-have ingredient for 2015 and years to come.

Here’s some of our favorite citrus drink recipes. Share yours on twitter with @UncorkdMenus

  1. Citrus Sparkler

–          ½ cup vodka (chilled)

–          1 ½ cups liqueur (chilled limoncello)

–          ½ cup fresh orange juice

–          ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

–          Seltzer

–          Lemon zest for garnish

Directions: In one larger pitcher, whisk together vodka, limoncello, orange juice and lemon juice. Divide among 8, ice-filled glasses and top with seltzer and lemon zest to garnish.

2. Pomegranate Citrus Martini

–          2 lemons

–          1 pink grapefruit

–          8 oz. of pomegranate juice (POM Wonderful 100% juice suggested)

–          2 oz. simple syrup

–          3 oz. Bacardi (O. Orange or Limon)

Directions: Juice both the lemons and the grapefruit into a cup or container, using a strainer to catch seeds. Add the pomegranate juice and simple syrup to the freshly squeezed mix. Place ice cubes and desired amount of rum into shaker; add about 4 ounces of juice mixer into the shaker. Shake vigorously. Pour into chilled martini glass. Add garnish if preferred.

3. Old-Fashioned Ginger Snap

–          Ginger syrup as needed (plus ½ FL oz.)

–          3 maraschino cherries

–          4 dashes of DSB aromatic bitters

–          1 squeeze of fresh orange citrus

–          1 ½ FL oz. rye whiskey

–          1 large ice cube

Directions: Put the ½ FL oz. of ginger syrup at the bottom of the glass, followed by the 3 cherries and bitters. Mix lightly. Pour in the whiskey and citrus squeeze, stir. Add the ice cube. Add orange peel for garnish if desired.