Serves a Crowd

Yuzu, I Zu

August 25, 2009
2 Ratings
  • Makes Enough syrup for four to six drinks. Replicate as necessary.
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.


Test Kitchen Notes

Basil and grapefruit are a pleasant and surprising mix of flavors, and the seltzer added just the right amount of exciting effervescence. - Jenny —Jestei

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • gingerroot
  • Jazzi
  • Hadyourtea?

3 Reviews

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