Citrus drinks are beverages that contain juice or flavoring from citrus fruits. The most common citrus fruits used in drinks are oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and tangerines. Citrus drinks cover a wide range of products including juices, sodas, lemonades, punches, and cocktails. They provide a tangy, refreshing taste and aroma to drinks. Let’s take a closer look at what defines a citrus drink.
Citrus Juice Drinks
Beverages made primarily from the juice of citrus fruits are considered citrus juice drinks. They contain varying amounts of 100% citrus juice or concentrate. Popular citrus juice drinks include:
- Orange juice – Made from oranges
- Grapefruit juice – Made from grapefruits
- Lemon juice – Made from lemons
- Lime juice – Made from limes
- Tangerine juice – Made from tangerines
- Citrus fruit blends – Mixes of different citrus juices
Pure citrus juices with no added ingredients beyond the fruit juice and water are sometimes referred to as “not from concentrate” juices. They offer the truest citrus taste. Juices “from concentrate” have had some or most of the water removed and then added back later. This makes them more affordable and shelf-stable.
Citrus flavored sodas or citrus sodas contain carbonated water, sweeteners, citrus flavoring, and often citrus juice or pulp. Popular citrus sodas include:
- Orange soda
- Lemon-lime soda (like 7Up or Sprite)
- Grapefruit soda
- Tangerine soda
- Citrus blends
The citrus taste in these sodas sometimes comes from natural citrus oils but is often derived from artificial citrus flavoring. Higher quality citrus sodas will contain a percentage of actual citrus juice.
Lemonades and Limeades
Lemonade and limeade are simple citrus drinks made from lemon juice or lime juice, water, and sweetener such as sugar or honey. They may also contain flavorings and pulp or rind. Other ingredients are sometimes added like:
- Fruit juice
Lemonade and limeade can be served still, carbonated, or frozen. They make refreshing hot weather drinks.
Citrus punch is a blended fruit drink made with citrus juice, other fruit juices, water, sweeteners, and sometimes carbonation. Citrus fruits commonly used in punches include:
Other juices and ingredients may include pineapple, mango, guava, passionfruit, ginger, mint, soda water, etc. Citrus punches have a tropical flavor profile.
There are many cocktails that incorporate citrus juices, especially lemon, lime, and orange. Popular citrus cocktails include:
- Margarita – Tequila, lime juice, triple sec
- Daiquiri – Rum, lime juice, sugar
- Mojito – Rum, lime juice, mint, soda water
- Whiskey Sour – Whiskey, lemon juice, sugar
- Long Island Iced Tea – Vodka, gin, rum, triple sec, lemon juice, Coke
- Lemon Drop – Vodka, lemon juice, sugar
The acidity of citrus balances sweet and strong flavors in cocktails. Juices like lemon and lime add tartness. Orange liqueurs like triple sec and curaçao provide sweet citrus taste.
Other Citrus Drinks
There are a few other beverage categories that may contain citrus elements:
- Citrus tea – Tea brewed with citrus fruits or citrus flavoring
- Citrus energy drinks – Citrus flavored energy boosting beverages with caffeine and supplements
- Citrus protein shakes – Citrus flavored dairy or plant-based protein shakes
- Citrus smoothies – Blended drinks with citrus juice and pulp
Common Citrus Drink Ingredients
There are some common ingredients found in many types of citrus drinks:
|Citrus juice||Juice extracted from citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, etc.|
|Citrus zest/peel||Thin outermost layer of citrus rind containing aromatic oils.|
|Citrus pulp/flesh||Soft inner citrus fruit used in juices and smoothies.|
|Sweeteners||Sugar, honey, agave syrup used to sweeten citrus drinks.|
|Water||Adds liquid base and dilutes strong citrus flavors.|
|Carbonated water||Added to drinks like sodas, punches, and cocktails.|
|Herbs & spices||Mint, basil, ginger, etc. complement citrus.|
|Other fruits||Pineapple, strawberries, mango blend well with citrus.|
Benefits of Citrus Drinks
Citrus drinks have several benefits when consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet:
- Provide hydration – Their liquid content hydrates the body.
- Source of vitamin C – Citrus fruits are high in immune-boosting vitamin C.
- Electrolytes – Contains electrolyte minerals like potassium.
- Fiber – Citrus pulp provides fiber, which aids digestion.
- Low in fat and calories – Mostly water and carbohydrates, low in fat.
- Phytochemicals – Contain beneficial plant compounds with antioxidant power.
- Taste – They provide a refreshing, tangy flavor people enjoy.
Potential Downsides of Some Citrus Drinks
There are some potential downsides of certain types of citrus drinks if consumed excessively:
- High in sugar – Many contain added sugars that should be limited.
- Acidic – Can erode tooth enamel and aggravate digestive issues.
- Fruit juice has no fiber – Juices remove the pulp with fiber.
- Alcohol content – Citrus cocktails have high caloric alcohol content.
- Artificial ingredients – Some have artificial colors and citrus flavoring.
Moderation is key, as with any food or beverage choice. Drinking more water and eating whole fruits and veggies is recommended over fruit juice.
Popular Brands of Citrus Drinks
Some well-known brands of citrus drinks include:
- Orange juice: Tropicana, Simply Orange, Florida’s Natural, Minute Maid
- Grapefruit juice: Ocean Spray, Ruby Red
- Lemonade: Simply Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Minute Maid Lemonade
- Limeade: Chick-fil-A, Raising Cane’s, Chili’s
- Citrus soda: Mountain Dew, 7Up, Sierra Mist, Squirt
- Citrus punch: Hawaiian Punch, Hi-C, Five Alive
- Margarita mix: Jose Cuervo, Margaritaville, Chi-Chi’s
Smaller premium juice brands like Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice and A Slice of the Good Life focus on not from concentrate, GMO-free, and organic citrus juices.
How to Make Basic Citrus Drinks at Home
You can easily make tasty citrus drinks at home with simple ingredients:
Extract juice from lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, etc. Juice them by hand or use an electric juicer. Drink the juice on its own, diluted with water, or poured over ice.
Citrus Spa Water
Combine water, citrus slices, herbs, and optional sweetener like honey or agave. Allow to infuse then remove fruit. Chill and serve over ice.
Citrus Limeade or Lemonade
Mix freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice with water and sweetener like sugar or simple syrup. Add mint or fruit slices for extra flavor.
Steep your favorite tea with slices of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit. Sweeten if desired. Serve chilled over ice.
Citrus drinks encompass a wide variety of beverages featuring the juices, flavors, and fruits of the citrus family. They include fruit juices, sodas, lemonades and limeades, punches, cocktails, and more. When made with real citrus juice and pulp they provide hydration, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But some versions high in sugars, acids, and artificial ingredients should be consumed in moderation. Enjoying DIY citrus drinks made at home using fresh ingredients is a great way to get the benefits of citrus in a refreshing beverage.