Recipe: Lime and Bitter Orange Spritzer | Agua de Naranja Agrilla

Cocktail recipe — A refreshing adult spritzer featuring fruits of the Yucatan — bitter orange | naranja agria, key limes, orange liqueur

Recipe: Lime and Bitter Orange Spritzer | Agua de Naranja Agrilla

For me, one of the most surprising culinary discoveries in the Yucatan has been naranja agrilla, or bitter orange. This is the same fruit that marmalade is made from so to say this is an acquired taste may be an understatement. Although I’m not usually a toast and marmalade for breakfast kind of guy I do like the flavour. I won’t be that guy and make you read 2,000 words about Great Grandmother’s marmalade factory before getting to a simple cocktail recipe, but the curious can click here to read more.

Recipe — Adult Lime and Bitter Orange Agua Refresca


  • Key limes
  • Bitter oranges
  • Water
  • Controy Orange Liqueur / Licor de Naranja (I suppose you could also use your fancy pants Grand Marnier)
  • Sugar


  1. Cut bitter oranges in half and juice them.
  2. Pour juice into blender jar.
  3. Chop limes into 4-6 pieces and toss them (yes all them — peel, rind) into blender.
  4. Add teaspoon of sugar per glass or to taste. Remember, orange liqueur is very sweet so don’t overdo it. It you have previously prepared simple sugar, omit this step and sweeten in cocktail mixing stage.
  5. Add a cup of cold water to the blender jar.
  6. Blend. I started with a low setting like mix and only moved up to liquefy or smoothie once everything had pulverized problem.
  7. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain juice into a new measuring cup. Be sure to press down on the peelings in the strainer to extract s much of those flavours as possible
  8. Add 1.5 ounces of orange liqueur to tall glass.
  9. As at least 2 ounces of juice mix to glass.
  10. Add ice, if desired.
  11. Top up with sparkling water or club soda.
  12. Enjoy.

The Marmalade Factory

I lied. To the best of my knowledge, no one in my family has ever owned a marmalade factory. Buy tires is a big post so I felt obliged to In Mexico agua refrescas are blended juice waters that most restaurants have on the menu. Jamaica, or hibiscus flower is ubiquitous and excellent (when it’s not tooth-meltingly-sweet, a real and present danger in Mexico) but I like trying other flavours when they appear. Chaya con piña (think spinach with pineapple) is also excellent. So when my waiter said the days special was naranja agrilla I said yes. I knew that naranja is orange and that sounded refreshing. After he left I translated agrilla, which is how I learned the word for bitter in Spanish. More sophisticated readers will know that these knobbly green and orange fruits are known in English as Seville oranges. It was delicious. I don’t want to say that it was like a refreshing glass of marmalade but, well, that’s kind of what it tasted like.