Lemon, Lime, and Orange Citrus Cooler

Citrus fruits overhead in tray
Martin Poole/Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 1 gallon
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
160 Calories
0g Fat
42g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 160
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 10mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 95mg 475%
Calcium 62mg 5%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 327mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This take on a classic lemonade makes a delicious cooling beverage with the best of what citruses have to offer. Tangy limes, zesty and sour lemons, and sweet oranges make a tasty drink that you'll easily make on repeat during the hot months of summer. Three fruits, water, and sugar are all that it takes to make this cooler. Prepare it ahead of time and place it in the fridge for a chilled glass of this citrus darling. You need a big pitcher that can fit around three and a half quarts of liquid and optional ice if you're serving it right away without time to cool it in the fridge. The slices of fruit floating in the pitcher add color and flavor, and perhaps some cocktail umbrellas can transform this humble beverage into a pretty mocktail for kids parties, baby showers, or summer barbecues when you're likely to need an alcohol-free offering. Bring it to your next pool party or make it a colorful centerpiece of your brunch table.

If you have a choice in the citrus you're using, there is a lot of room to experiment. In the United States, the most common lemon varieties are Eureka and Lisbon lemons, but if you have the option, go for Meyer lemons which are beautifully sweet and carry floral notes. The very juicy and seedless Sorrento lemons are another great option . The most common limes you'll find at the store are either Persian or Tahiti. With these, look for fruits that have a little give when you press on them and that have a skin that isn't too thick. Because the cooler needs some natural sweetness, choose Navel or Cara Cara oranges. Choose fruit that feels heavy for its size, with unblemished, smooth, and thin skins. In all three cases, avoid fruit that feels mushy or too soft.

This cooler can be adapted to your dietary needs and preferences with little effort. Instead of sugar, you can use agave syrup, maple syrup, monk fruit, or stevia. But if you're keen on a refreshing and tangy drink, skip the sweeteners altogether for a low-calorie beverage. If, on the other hand, you're willing to experiment, mix the cooler at the last minute but instead of water use chilled seltzer or sparkling water. In this case, we recommend using a liquid sweetener to avoid over-mixing and flattening the bubbly essence of the cooler. For a fizzier drink choose club soda or seltzer, as their artificial carbonation is greater and holds better. For a mildly bubbly drink, use natural sparkling water.

Ingredients

  • 6 large lemons, divided

  • 3 large limes, divided

  • 6 large oranges, divided

  • 3 quarts water

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, or more to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Squeeze the juice from 5 of the lemons, 3 of the limes and 5 of the oranges; pour into a gallon container.

  3. Add water and sugar to juices; mix well.

  4. Thinly slice the remaining orange and lemon and set aside for garnish.

  5. Chill thoroughly and keep in the refrigerator. Serve on ice with orange and lemon slices.

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