What is Japanese Yuzu? A Yuzu Cocktail Recipe

Yuzu Cocktail Recipe from this fragrant Japanese Citrus | @whiteonrice

“What is yuzu?” Don’t feel bad if you have never heard of this beautiful little citrus, since outside of a few Asian cuisines and particularly in Japanese cultural circles it is seldom grown or used, however we’re here to tell you that yuzu is pure culinary gold.

Yuzu is a sour, tart and very fragrant citrus, slightly smaller than a billiard ball. Yuzu is a citrus that isn’t eaten straight, but is used as a souring ingredient through the use of it’s juice and zest.  The flavor is reminicent somewhere between a classic Eureka lemon and an oro blanco grapefruit, but still has its own unique fragrance and flavor.  It is a bit more floral and sour and utterly wonderful.  It smells so good the Japanese will use yuzu for perfumes and will ritualistically bath in yuzu during Toji (winter solstice).

Read all about yuzu citrus on our yuzu info page here.

Yuzu Cocktail Recipe from this fragrant Japanese Citrus | @whiteonrice

Diane had requested yuzu recipe ideas from readers and there were several fantastic ideas, however I already knew how I wanted to use our first born yuzu. A cocktail, of course. We kept the ingredients simple so the yuzu could be highlighted and not overwhelmed by the alcohol and since there isn’t much juice per yuzu, but the rind is so aromatic, we muddled a whole yuzu in order to get the most out of it.

The result: pure deliciousness.  There will be upcoming recipes featuring the yuzu, but for now we raise our glasses and toast to one of our favorite lumpy garden orbs: Yuzu!

More posts about Japanese Lemons: Yuzu & Kabosu:

What is Yuzu? Why is Yuzu so prized?
What is Kabosu? differences between Kabosu and Yuzu
Our Yuzu Sherbert Recipe
Our Yuzu Cocktail Recipe
Our Sauteed Peas with Yuzu Kosho Recipe

Yuzu Cocktail Recipe from this fragrant Japanese Citrus | @whiteonrice

Yuzu Cocktail Recipe

Yield: 1 Cocktail

Total Time: 5 Minutes


  • 1 whole Yuzu (or @ 1 1/2 Tablespoons yuzu juice)
  • 2 ounces (60ml) Gin (preferable Hendricks)
  • couple dashes Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 ounce (15ml) Simple Syrup, or to taste
  • dash of orange bitters
  • 2 ounces (60ml) club soda


  1. Slice yuzu in half and gently muddle just to release the oils and juice of the yuzu. Add the gin, vanilla extract, simple syrup, and bitters to the cocktail shaker. Add ice & shake for 15-20 seconds.
  2. Place ice into an old-fashion glass, strain the cocktail over the ice, top with club soda, and gently stir. Garnish if desired.

Note 1: A basic simple syrup is a 1:1 ratio of sugar dissolved in water. example- One cup sugar dissolved in one cup of water. We usually make larger batches and keep on hand in the refrigerator.

Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

Hello! All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use our images without prior permission and do not re-publish this recipe. Simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.