Orange Crush Cocktail Recipe

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Two Orange Crush Cocktails with orange garnish

If you’ve ever read an article about fruity cocktails, then you’ve most likely read the phrase: ‘it’s summer in a glass’. It’s a delightful way to paint a mental picture of the most refreshing cocktail you’ve ever tasted. Well, my friends, we’re here to tell you that all of those cocktails pale in sunshine comparison to the one, the only— Orange Crush cocktail. It’s Maryland’s unofficial state drink and we’ve got the best vodka orange crush cocktail recipe just for you.



Freshly squeeze your orange juice for authentic orange flavor.


Roll your oranges before squeezing them for maximum juice extraction.


Orange bitters helps to balance the sweetness of the cocktail.



1 Person

2 Oz

60 Ml

2 Parts

2 Oz

60 Ml

2 Parts

Freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Dashes of orange bitters
Lemon-lime soda
Orange slice, to garnish



Fill a pint glass with ice


Add the vodka, orange liqueur, fresh orange juice, and bitters


Top up with lemon-lime soda and stir gently with a bar spoon 


Garnish with orange and serve

History of the Orange Crush cocktail

Many bars in Baltimore, Maryland claim to have invented the Orange Crush cocktail recipe. It’s not surprising because the cocktail has taken on a juicy life of its own. It’s practically a sin not to serve them, and an even bigger one if you don’t have an orange juice press on site. However, the birth of this summer-in-a-glass cocktail (you knew it was coming), happened in 1995 at Harborside Bar & Grill.  

Fast-forward many years later and Harborside’s Orange Crush cocktail recipe is a cult classic. They’re the star of every Baltimore happy hour and some places have even taken to serving them in buckets for big crowds. The beauty of the Orange Crush is that it’s probably the least pretentious cocktail around. It’s a cocktail for everyone and it doesn’t hurt that it tastes like summer in- juuust kidding. But seriously, it’s one of the best orange-infused cocktails ever.       


The OC might be the OG but that doesn’t mean that bartenders haven’t invented multiple spin-offs. The Grapefruit Crush is a popular alternative that uses ruby grapefruit vodka and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Watermelon and strawberry are also popular choices but if you’re still looking for more fruity inspiration, then check out our fruity cocktail summer selection 

When to serve

Armed with your best Orange Crush cocktail recipe, you’ll be tempted to serve it at every party occasion and you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s the perfect all-rounder cocktail and you can even serve it in a double rocks glass if you want to make it a little fancier for something like a summer wedding.

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Baltimore, Maryland is the home of the Orange Crush, and the locals will fight you if you claim anything different. They serve more Orange Crush cocktails than any other state and we suspect it will stay that way for many years to come.

Orange is often seen as an old-school flavor but in truth, it's highly versatile. Its bright and sweet citrus character is at home in just about anything. It can be used as a base ingredient or as the star of the show.

Freshly squeezed orange juice is preferable because orange juices are often sweetened, but if you are in a pinch, then store-bought is fine.

The original recipe calls for Sierra Mist, but any good quality lemon-lime soda will do.