Serves a Crowd

Yuzu, I Zu

August 25, 2009
2 Ratings
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

  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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