Cocktails Without Citrus: 7 Delicious Mixed Drinks

Sick of cocktails with citrus, don't have any on hand, or just don't like citrusy flavors? Well, you'll be pleased to know that lime, orange, and lemon do not have to rule the cocktail menu.

If you want to keep it easy, many classic cocktails can become citrus-free by removing the garnish (this means even drinks such as a simple Gin and Tonic do not actually need citrus to taste right!).

But there are plenty of other options to choose from. Check out this list of cocktails without citrus so you can expand your flavor palette.

Cuba Libre

The Cuba Libre is a popular alcoholic drink that originated in the 20th century in Cuba as a part of the victory in the Spanish-American War. Although it has a fancy name, you may also be familiar with it as a simple 2-ingredient rum drink: Rum & Coke.

Since being brought to the states, Rum & Coke’s popularity increased, and it is now one of the most popular rum drinks.

Typically, bartenders prepare this drink by mixing three-quarters rum with a quarter Coca-Cola. However, pouring mishaps and variations do not cause extreme taste changes thanks to the sweet-tasting Coca-Cola, which also handily masks the taste of cheaper rum if that's all you have.

Martini

The martini is a popular dry vermouth cocktail known for its features in cinema and classic one-liners. The origins of the first martini are unknown, given people have been drinking this cocktail for so long.

Martinis consist of gin or vodka and dry vermouth, a fortified wine full of herb flavorings. All martinis are served in martini glasses and garnished with olives. Martini glasses are a key part of the martini drinking experience. These were invented in the twentieth century to improve ice longevity and promote the opening of gin.

Many movie quotes capitalize on the fame of the martini. For instance, the famous James Bond quote, “Vodka Martini, shaken. Not stirred.” Although vodka is not the primary alcohol in this drink, it is certainly a popular quote alluding to a highly popular drink.

White Russian

White Russians is a Kahlúa-based cocktail with minimal ingredients. It was officially invented in the late 1960s by Oakland Tribune, who ran a newspaper insert with the recipe inside.

The White Russian did not really become popular until 1998 when the film The Big Lebowski was released, and directors prominently featured the drink throughout the film.

The White Russian is an extension of the Black Russian, invented years earlier. In addition to the base ingredients, this delicious drink has cream, which causes the dark drink to turn white.

Many coffee lovers adore White Russians because of how strongly it resembles iced mocha coffee. It is a good alcoholic beverage if you need a pick-me-up thanks to the Kahlúa.

Mint Julep

The mint julep is a minty bourbon cocktail garnished with mint leaves. It is a sweet drink that European doctors initially used to cure upset stomachs. In the eighteenth century, once European settlers arrived in America, consumption of the cocktail converted from medicinal to recreational.

Juleps are simple drinks made of bourbon, seltzer, sugar, ice, and mint. The best way to serve juleps is in silver cups. In addition to being the original way this drink was served, silver cups keep the ice from melting, which keeps your drink cold for longer.

The mint julep was deemed the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1983 and is still recognized as the official drink of horse racing today. However, the cocktail is not as popular as it once was.

The Manhattan

The Manhattan cocktail is famous for its 19th-century New York origins and sweet or spicy taste. The modern Manhattan mixture combines its timeless recipe and the modern palette, using flavorful bourbon instead of rye.

Manhattan’s are made from bourbon or rye, sweet vermouth, bitters, and a garnish or brandied cherry. To make it citrus-free, you can remove the small splash of orange bitters from the recipe.

Bartenders in the 19th-century made Manhattans using rye because of the sharpness. Nowadays, mixologists have discovered bourbon makes the Manhattan drink a smoother cocktail. Bourbon is also preferred to many people, although some still order their Manhattans with rye.

Gin and Tonic

Gin and tonic is one of the most well-known cocktails across the globe. It is a highball cocktail that came to popularity in the eighteenth century when the medicinal alcohol was mixed with a quinine tonic to kill malaria. Britain had already loved gin before this. However, the delicious tonic mixture had increased its popularity.

The basic ratio for the gin and tonic water in this drink is 1:1 and 1:3, with the strength varying based on the amount of tonic water you put into your drink.

The type of garnish varies for each bartender. To ensure that you do not get a citrus garnish, you can simply (and politely of course) ask your bartender not to garnish with citrus. If they offer another garnish, feel free to say no or let their professional opinion inspire your palette.

Piña Colada

The piña colada is a tropical rum cocktail from San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was created in the 1950s by one of three Puerto Rican bartenders. In any case, the piña colada has made history thanks to its sweet and decadent taste.

Piña coladas are made from coconut, pineapple juice, cream, and light rum. Typically, piña coladas are blended. But, as a cocktail, these drinks are served over ice in a cocktail glass. They are garnished with a piece of pineapple and a cherry.

The piña colada is a fruity, rum-based drink that has no citrus. Typically, the more rum in the piña colada, the sweeter the drink.

Other tips to avoid citrus in cocktails

As you can see, luckily, some of the best cocktails don’t have citrus. If you just don't like it, hopefully these give you some good ideas for drinks to order.

There's also the option of learning to drink neat spirits (without mixers), which will help you avoid citrus in cocktails altogether. Of course, this isn't for everyone, and if your palette is familiar with citrusy or fruity drinks, learning harsh liquors like bourbon may take time. Sometimes you need to give a drink several tries before pouring it down the drain for life.

Finally, asking bartenders for a recommendation is another great option. Mixologists are experts in their domain, and they are usually going to be able to provide you with an amazing drink that meets your requirements.