Enjoy citrus forward classic American cocktails


SOUTH AFRICA offers an abundance of juicy citrus fruits, perfect to enjoy in citrus-forward classic cocktails like the Blinker and the Daiquiri. By adding fresh in-season local citrus juices, cocktail lovers can serve up a taste sensation on a sunny day.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States’ (DISCUS) Cheers! Spirits from the USA campaign in South Africa hosted an interactive virtual cocktail demonstration where local buyers and hospitality personalities discovered how lemons, oranges, grapefruit and naartjies pair beautifully with American whiskeys and other distilled spirits in a range of delicious cocktails. 

George Hunter, an award-winning mixologist, kicked off the event by exhibiting the simplicity of the classic Old Fashioned cocktail (pictured above). Using 44ml of Maker’s Mark, 10mls of sugar syrup, and a dash of aromatic bitters, the drink is served with ice and a twist of orange zest in a tumbler. Hunter’s tip for making an Old Fashioned is to use more ice than a typical recipe may recommend to prevent too much dilution and to create a velvety texture to the drink.

Hunter also prepared a Blinker cocktail – a crisp blend of American rye whiskey or bourbon, grapefruit juice, bitters and grenadine.


Here’s how to make one at home:

44ml American rye or Bourbon

60ml grapefruit juice

15ml Grenadine

5 dashes grapefruit bitters

Add ice to a cocktail shaker, add the cocktail blend and shake it for about 10 seconds. Strain it into a stemmed glass and garnish it with a disk of grapefruit peel. For extra citrus flavour and aroma, squeeze some oils from the grapefruit zest over the surface of the drink. Give your cocktail a uniquely South African twist by muddling in spekboom leaves or a piece of aloe, for added crisp, lemony flavours.

The Clover Club, a drink that works well in any season and suits all tastes, is slightly more complex, but worth the effort. Using 44mls of fine American gin, a shot of fresh lemon juice, a shot of raspberry syrup and the white of one egg (or vegan cellulose), blend the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. The drink must then be strained into another shaker for what bartenders call a dry shake, to increase the foam of the egg white. Serve in a cocktail glass, garnished with fresh raspberry skewers, an edible flower or lemon zest.

Clover Club

The classic Daiquiri is a sour style drink and the foundation on which most bartenders create cocktail menus today. The base of the cocktail is 44mls of American rum, with 20mls of sugar syrup, and one shot of fresh lime juice. The ingredients are blended in a shaker with ice, strained into a cocktail glass and served simply with no garnish.


Fine American whiskeys and distilled spirits are being introduced to adults in the South African market by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States as part of the Cheers! Spirits from the USA campaign. For more information, click here.

Please drink responsibly.  Follow US Distilled Spirits in SA on Facebook: @USwhiskeyZA and Instagram: @usdistilledspiritssa, or contact Leigh Angelo at [email protected]

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