How to Brûlée Citrus for Cocktails

January 25, 2018

How to Brûlée Citrus for CocktailsHow to Brûlée Citrus for CocktailsHow to Brûlée Citrus for CocktailsCitrus season brings a variety of tart fruit to farmers markets and grocery’s stores. It’s the best time of year for sours and tiki drinks as well as beauti, bright garnishes. One of my favorite ways recently to serve them is bruleeing them. They lend a beautiful caramel depth of flavor to any drink. Muddling or garnishing cocktails with these brûléed fruits will up your cocktail game!

If you have have had a bruléed grapefruit for breakfast, you know the simple winning combo of carmalized citrus. White sugar is classic and neutral flavored, but why not try mixing up the sugars you use to brûlée?! Brown sugar, coconut sugar, demerara… each will lend a different flavor to the broiled citrus fruits and cocktails they are used in. Rum and demerara sugar would be a great match while brown sugar would go swimmingly with bourbon. This Winter G&T uses bruleed blood oranges that infused the cocktail with carmalized goodness that pairs so well with the spices. Find out how to brûlée citrus for cocktails below.

How to Brûlée Citrus for CocktailsHow to Brûlée Citrus for CocktailsSome key things to keep in mind when brûléeing fruit:

-make sure the citrus has no access moisture. You still want to to me juicy, but the sugars will disolve when contacting citrus juice and you won’t be able to brûlée.

– slice you fruit how you want to serve it before brûléeing. Otherwise when you go to cut it post, the sugar will crack and can fall off.

– add sugar then imeditley brûlée before moving to the next one. Otherwise, the sugars may begin to disolve on the citrus before you get to them.

Brûléed Citrus for Cocktails

tools: knife, cutting board, paper towels, kitchen torch or oven,

  • 1 citrus grapefruit, orange, lemon or other citrus fruit
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar per fruit,


Cut fruit in wheels or slices. Lay slices flat on a paper towel. Add another paper towel on top of them. Let dry for 5-10 minutes. Dab the fruit to remove access moisture. Line a baking dish or heat proof surface with parchment paper. Sprinkle fruit slices with sugar to coat, one at a time if using the kitchen torch method. Use the kitchen torch or oven method below to brûlée. Let fruit cool before using in cocktails.

-Kitchen Torch

Using a kitchen torch, torch the fruit slices until golden amber and some edges begin to blacken.

-Oven Method

Turn the oven to broil. Add the baking dish with sugar fruit into the oven. Brûlée until the sugar has turned a golden amber color, about 5 minutes.

How to Brûlée Citrus for Cocktails

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  • Reply Holly October 15, 2018 at 6:25 am

    Great idea, especially for the G & T cocktail. How long does the brûlée’s fruit keep for?

    • Reply Ashley Rose October 31, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Holly, it will depend on the fruit and how fresh they are, but 2 days they should last before the sugar dissolves!

  • Reply Kathy March 7, 2023 at 10:32 am

    Have you tried freezing the fruit slices and then putting them into the top of cocktail, say a Margarita, frozen at the time of serving?

    • Reply Ashley Rose March 22, 2023 at 10:41 am

      I haven’t yet, but super curious how it would turn out. Going to have to try it!

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