Yuzu, I Zu

By Teri
August 25, 2009

Author Notes: This is what happens to a person who never buys juice but has house guests who do and so, with good intentions but little experience involving liquified food -- I mean, outside of a lime, I always thought fruit should be savored not sipped, but I have been wrong before -- brings home a bottle of unsweetened yuzu juice. She makes a cocktail.

If you've ever mistakenly taken a swig of unsweetened yuzu, you'd need a drink too. Yuzu is a citris fruit, first from China but now also popular in Japan. Unsqueezed, I'm told, it looks like a rather sad grapefruit. Squeezed and straight, it tastes like the sourest Sour Patch Kid you ever met without that much-needed sugar coating.

Yet mixed with equal parts basil-infused simple syrup and vodka, it tastes exactly like what I need at the end of a day that started with work e-mails at 5 a.m. -- a dream.


Food52 Review: Basil and grapefruit are a pleasant and surprising mix of flavors, and the seltzer added just the right amount of exciting effervescence. - JennyJestei

Makes: enough syrup for four to six drinks. replicate as necessary.


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • ice
  • vodka
  • yuzu juice (unsweetened), or fresh grapefruit, lemon, lime juice, or a combination


  1. For the Syrup: Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water into a saucepan. Heat until dissolved. Add about 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves. Let steep for 15 minutes. Pour through a sieve, reserving syrup. Chill.
  2. When thirsty, mix equal parts syrup, yuzu and vodka. Pour over ice. You could get fancy and get out the cocktail shaker, or you could invite a slurp of club soda along. And if there's no yuzu at your house, a mix of grapefruit and lime juice would be splendid. Enjoy with a squeeze of lime. http://gingersaltpeachlime.blogspot.com/2007/09/yuzu-i-zu.html

More Great Recipes:
Cocktail|Fruit|Serves a Crowd|Vegetarian

Reviews (3) Questions (0)


Jazzi June 20, 2013
This looks wonderful! Would it still taste good without vodka? If so, I'd love to make this.
gingerroot August 6, 2011
This is absolutely wonderful. I did not have fresh basil so infused the syrup with fresh rosemary. I also used grapefruit and lime (though I hope to find yuzu at the FM tomorrow). This is my new go-to-it's-Friday cocktail! Thank you!
Hadyourtea? March 3, 2010
This sounds wonderful, so fresh and flavourful