written by
Bert Gallagher

Citrus Vodka: A Comprehensive Guide on Varieties and Cocktails

11 min read

Citrus vodka has become a popular choice for those seeking a zesty twist to their favorite spirit. This flavored vodka captures the essence of various citrus fruits, providing a bright, refreshing taste that livens up any cocktail. With a variety of brands offering their own spin on this tangy infusion, there is an abundance of choices for both novice and experienced vodka drinkers alike.

Originating from a range of countries and featuring a multitude of flavor profiles, citrus vodkas offer plenty of options for enthusiasts to enjoy. From Swedish brand Absolut to Dutch distillery Ketel One, these flavorful concoctions are sure to invigorate your favorite vodka-based beverages. The versatility of citrus vodka extends itself to homemade recipes as well, allowing individuals to customize their creations to their preferred taste.

As the demand for citrus vodka grows, so does the market for innovative, refreshing flavor combinations. Brands like CÎROC™ have capitalized on this by introducing seasonal, limited-edition blends such as their CÎROC Summer Citrus. With the evolving landscape of flavored vodkas catering to various palates, the vibrant world of citrus vodka continues to entice consumers with its aromatic, spirited taste.

Citrus Vodka

History of Citrus Vodka

Absolut Citron

Absolut Citron is a Swedish citrus vodka brand, established in 1879 by Lars Olsson Smith. Based in Åhus, Sweden, the brand has always been committed to staying close to its roots and community. In 1988, Absolut Citron was introduced as one of the first citrus-flavored vodkas, and it quickly gained popularity. Made using Absolut's standard winter-wheat-based vodka, it is infused with natural lemon and other citrus fruits, providing a crisp and refreshing taste.

Ketel One Citroen Vodka

Ketel One Citroen Vodka is a product of the Nolet Distillery in the Netherlands, a family-owned company with over three centuries of distilling expertise. Introduced in 2000, Ketel One Citroen is a lemon-flavored vodka that is crafted using a combination of modern and traditional distilling techniques. It is made with Ketel One Vodka as the base, which is then infused with the essence of lemon, lime, and other citrus fruits to create a bright and zesty flavor profile.

Nolet Distillery

The Nolet Distillery is a renowned producer of high-quality spirits, including vodka and gin. Located in Schiedam, Netherlands, the distillery was founded in 1691 by Joannes Nolet and has been family-owned ever since. They are best known for their exceptional Ketel One Vodka, which serves as the foundation for their citrus-flavored product, Ketel One Citroen. With a commitment to quality and innovation, the Nolet Distillery continues to be a leader in the production of premium citrus vodkas.

Types of Citrus Vodka

Citrus vodka is a popular variety of flavored vodka that infuses vodka with natural citrus flavors. The following sub-sections will highlight some popular types of citrus vodkas:

Lemon Vodka

Lemon vodka is one of the most common types of citrus vodka. Brands like Absolut Citron pioneered the category, and today, many vodka brands feature a lemon-flavored option in their portfolios. Lemon vodka is versatile and perfect for various cocktails, including popular classics like the Lemon Drop Martini and the Cosmopolitan.

Lime Vodka

Lime vodka brings a tangy twist to the classic vodka flavor. Common in cocktails like the Caipiroska and Moscow Mule, lime vodka adds a zesty note that is refreshing and light. Some well-known brands with lime vodka options are:

  • Absolut Lime
  • Smirnoff Lime
  • Stolichnaya Lime

Orange Vodka

Orange vodka offers a sweet citrus flavor that pairs well with a variety of mixers. Perfect for cocktails like the Orange Crush and Screwdriver, orange vodka adds brightness and sweetness to any drink. Top orange vodka brands include:

  • SKYY Infusions Blood Orange
  • Absolut Mandrin
  • Smirnoff Orange

Tangerine Vodka

Tangerine vodka is a unique and flavorful option that combines the sweet and tangy notes of tangerines with smooth vodka. This type of citrus vodka is perfect for making cocktails like the Tangerine Tango or simply mixing with soda water for a refreshing, fizzy beverage. A popular tangerine vodka brand is Grey Goose L'Orange.

Grapefruit Vodka

Grapefruit vodka adds a tart and slightly bitter note to vodka, making it a bold choice for cocktail enthusiasts. Best used in drinks like the Greyhound and Salty Dog, grapefruit vodka lends a crisp and invigorating flavor. Some standout grapefruit vodka brands are:

  • Ketel One Grapefruit & Rose
  • Deep Eddy Ruby Red
  • Belvedere Pink Grapefruit

Popular Citrus Vodka Brands

Grey Goose Le Citron

Grey Goose Le Citron is a premium citrus vodka made by the well-known French brand Grey Goose. This vodka is crafted using the finest ingredients and infused with natural lemon and lime flavors, giving it a vibrant and zesty taste. Grey Goose Le Citron is perfect for those who enjoy a refreshing, light, and crisp drink with a hint of citrus.

  • Flavor profile: Bright lemon and lime
  • Serving suggestion: Ideal for martinis and other citrus-based cocktails

Absolut Citron

Absolut Citron is a popular citrus-flavored vodka from the renowned Swedish brand Absolut. Established in 1879, Absolut has an extensive lineup of flavored vodkas, with Absolut Citron being one of their original flavors. This vodka features a taste of lemon and other citrus fruits, making it perfect for cocktails and mixed drinks.

  • Flavor profile: Zesty lemon and mixed citrus
  • Serving suggestion: Excellent in cosmopolitans or lemon-infused sours

Ketel One Citroen Vodka

Ketel One Citroen Vodka is a citrus-flavored vodka from the Dutch brand Ketel One. With a lively and smooth citrus flavor, Ketel One Citroen is infused with lemon and lime essential oils, resulting in a balanced and refreshing taste. This vodka is great for cocktails and mixed drinks, as well as sipping straight or on the rocks.

  • Flavor profile: Balanced lemon and lime
  • Serving suggestion: Great in vodka tonics and lemon drop martinis

Cîroc Summer Citrus Vodka

Cîroc Summer Citrus Vodka is a seasonal, limited-edition offering from the famous French brand Cîroc. Combining a blend of natural citrus flavors, this vodka delivers a bright, fruity, and vibrant taste that is perfect for summer cocktails and other warm-weather drinks. Its smooth texture and unique flavor make it a must-try for citrus vodka enthusiasts.

  • Flavor profile: Fruity and zesty citrus
  • Serving suggestion: Ideal for summertime spritzers and beachside sips

Making Citrus Cocktails

Citrus vodka brings a zesty twist to classic cocktails, enhancing flavors and creating a unique drinking experience. Here are two popular citrus vodka cocktails: the Cosmopolitan and Screwdriver.


The Cosmopolitan is a classic cocktail that combines citrus vodka with a hint of cranberry and orange. Follow these simple steps to create a delicious Cosmopolitan.


  • 1 1/2 oz citrus vodka
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau (or any orange liqueur)
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz cranberry juice


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour the citrus vodka, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and cranberry juice into the shaker.
  3. Shake well for 15-20 seconds, until well-chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon, if desired.

The combination of citrus vodka and fresh lemon juice in a Cosmopolitan shakes up a refreshing and zesty taste, perfect for any occasion.


The Screwdriver is a simple yet satisfying cocktail that showcases the bright flavors of citrus vodka and orange juice. Here's a quick recipe for this classic drink.


  • 2 oz citrus vodka
  • 4 oz fresh orange juice


  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour the citrus vodka and fresh orange juice into the glass.
  3. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.
  4. Garnish with an orange slice or a twist of lemon peel, if desired.

The Screwdriver is an easy-to-make cocktail that highlights the citrus notes in vodka, making it a delightful choice for both novice and experienced drinkers.

Production Process

Winter Wheat

Citrus vodka production begins with the preparation of the fermentable base. In the case of some top citrus vodka brands, winter wheat is the primary grain used. This type of wheat is known for its rich taste and high-quality starch content, making it ideal for producing a smooth vodka.

The winter wheat is ground and blended with water to create a 'mash', which is then mixed with yeast to kick-start the fermentation process. During fermentation, the yeast extracts oxygen from the starch and sugars present in the grains, producing alcohol. It is crucial to use a suitable strain of yeast, like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for this process. Malt meal may also be added during vodka production to aid in the fermentation process.

Copper Pot Stills

Once fermentation is complete, the next step in producing citrus vodka is distillation. Brands like Ketel One use copper pot stills to achieve a higher level of purity and depth in flavor. Initially, column distillation is used to create a fresh and lively ultra-wheat spirit. The spirit is then re-distilled in the copper pot stills, which date back to the 19th century, to further refine the vodka, removing impurities and unwanted flavors.

Following distillation, the vodka undergoes filtration. To achieve a high-quality citrus vodka, the filtration process is essential, as it results in a nearly colorless and odorless spirit.

The last stage in the production process is the addition of citrus flavors, which typically come from fresh seasonal fruit. This infusion of citrus imparts a delicate aroma and taste to the vodka, creating a premium product that is both smooth and versatile.

Alcohol Content in Citrus Vodka

Citrus vodka is a popular flavored vodka that is typically infused with the zest or juice of citrus fruits, such as lemon, lime, or orange. The alcohol content in citrus vodka primarily depends on the brand and can vary from one product to another. While the flavor of citrus vodka is usually enhanced by the natural citrus elements, the alcohol content remains similar to that of traditional, unflavored vodka.

Most vodka varieties, including citrus vodka, contain an alcohol content of around 40 percent, also known as "80 proof" as mentioned by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. This standard alcohol content can be across different vodka brands, such as Absolut Citron and Ketel One Citroen. However, some brands may offer variations with different alcohol contents, increasing or decreasing the percentage to suit different consumer preferences.

It is essential to note that the calories in vodka depend on the proof or alcohol content. Higher proof or alcohol content translates into higher calories, while lower proof or alcohol content results in fewer calories. This correlation applies to all vodka types, including citrus vodka.

In summary, citrus vodka usually contains an alcohol content of around 40 percent, or 80 proof, which is standard across most vodka varieties. This percentage may vary depending on the brand and product, but overall, it reflects a similar level of alcohol content as traditional, unflavored vodka.

Flavored Vodka in Context

Flavored vodka has increasingly become a popular choice for many consumers and mixologists, as it offers a diverse and creative palette of options to mix into cocktails or enjoy on the rocks. With a variety of flavors, citrus vodkas stand out as a favorite choice for many, providing a tantalizing combination of sharp, tangy, and zesty attributes of different citrus fruits.

Citrus vodka is typically infused with flavors derived from fruits like lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, and tangerine, to name a few. It's the perfect companion to many refreshing concoctions, adding a burst of flavors that elevate classic cocktails to a new level.

One notable citrus vodka recipe can be made by infusing lemon peels with vodka in a 1-quart jar for 4 to 7 days, making sure to shake the container daily to ensure optimal flavor development. This lemon-infused vodka, much like other citrus varieties, caters to different palates, making it an appealing choice for vodka enthusiasts.

When it comes to quality citrus vodka, brands such as Hanson of Sonoma Organic Mandarin stand out for their smooth and mellow flavor. With a less acidic taste compared to other flavored vodkas, this option provides consumers with a pleasant, orange-inspired twist.

It's essential to be mindful of the carbs and calories present in flavored vodkas, as they can significantly differ depending on the brand and flavor profile. For instance, Stoli Orange Vodka contains hints of tangerine, mandarin, and kumquat and has 40% alcohol content. Understanding this information can be helpful for those watching their consumption or adhering to specific dietary preferences.

In the flavored vodka landscape, the allure of citrus vodkas stems from their versatility and wide range of uses – from classic cocktails to adventurous libations inspired by an infusion of zesty flavors. The abundance of quality options available in the market speaks to the dynamism and adaptability of the flavored vodka market, providing endless opportunities for creativity and enjoyment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Price of Smirnoff Citrus?

The price of Smirnoff Citrus may vary depending on the region and store you are purchasing from. Generally, a 750ml bottle can range from $10 to $18.

Ingredients in Smirnoff Citrus?

Smirnoff Citrus is made with the base of Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka, which is triple-distilled and filtered 10 times. The citrus flavor comes from the addition of natural citrus extracts, making it a refreshing and flavorful choice for cocktails.

Best Citrus Vodka for Cosmo?

To make a delicious Cosmopolitan, good options for citrus vodka are Absolut Mandarin Vodka or Ketel One Citroen Vodka. Both brands offer high-quality flavored vodka options that complement the orange liqueur and cranberry juice used in the Cosmo recipe.

Popular Citrus Vodka drinks?

There are many popular cocktails that use citrus vodka. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Lemon Drop Martini
  • Citrus Vodka Collins
  • Citrus Vodka and Tonic

Each of these drinks showcase the bright, zesty flavor of citrus vodka, making them a popular choice for people who enjoy fruit-forward cocktails.

Alcohol content in Smirnoff Citrus?

Smirnoff Citrus typically has an alcohol content of around 35% ABV (alcohol by volume). This is similar to the standard vodka ABV, making it a versatile option for mixed drinks and cocktails.

Is Citrus Vodka gluten-free?

Many citrus vodkas, like CÎROC Summer Citrus, claim to be gluten-free as they are distilled from sources other than grains, such as grapes. However, it's important to note that not all brands will have the same gluten-free status. Be sure to check individual labels or consult the manufacturer for the most accurate information.