This vodka orange crush cocktail is a copycat recipe based on the Ocean City, Maryland, classic. Made with fresh orange juice, vodka, triple sec, lemon lime soda, and crushed ice, these Crushes are as close to the original orange crush cocktail recipe as I can find! Easy, delicious, and so refreshing on a hot day!
Nothing says I’m enjoying a hot day better than sitting seaside with a refreshing summer cocktail in hand, am I right?
And if you can load up on Vitamin C while you’re at it? It’s practically healthy!
The Orange Crush cocktail is a delicious and refreshing treat on a summer day, just as perfect for enjoying on the beach or in your backyard.
If you’re ready to try your hand at making Crushes, you’ll find everything you need in the post below, plus my tips to make the best cocktail possible for yourself and your friends.
Introducing the Adult Version of the Orange Crush
Back when I was a kid, one of my favorite drinks was Orange Crush. But no, I’m not talking cocktail orange crush. I’m talking about the soda.
Back in my youth, the childhood version of Orange Crush was highly prized for its ability to turn your tongue and upper lip a bright orange stain, which would last whole the summer day playing outside!
Thankfully, the much more adult namesake doesn’t dye your face, but is just as refreshing on a hot summer day.
Invented in Ocean City, Maryland
The first time I tried an Orange Crush, I was surprised to learn it is not, in fact, named after the beloved soda.
Rather, it’s the brainchild of Harborside Bar & Grill, a local institution in Ocean City. And it gets its name from a much more literal meaning.
Rather than being named after the soda, the Orange Crush cocktail gets its name from the actual act of crushing (and squeezing) all the oranges you need to make the drink.
I like to think it’s also called an orange crush because you really should use crushed ice to get the best (i.e. most refreshing and delicious) results.
My Vodka Orange Crush Cocktail (Recipe & Ingredients)
I’ve written out a proper cocktail recipe at the end of this post, but it you’re a fan of guesstimating, you can probably stick with these loose instructions for this delicious cocktail.
(Although don’t blame me if you end up with too much alcohol – proper measurements and full instructions are further down in this post, so guesstimate with caution!)
Here’s what you’ll need, in addition to the crushed ice…
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice That’s Crushed!
An orange crush cocktail is basically orange upon orange upon orange. So… a lot of orange!
And the key to an amazing orange crush cocktail is using fresh squeezed orange juice that’s been squeezed straight from an orange. Or in the case of this cocktail, oranges!
While you can use orange juice from a carton, if you have the time and patience (and ideally a juicer of some sort), fresh orange juice is far superior.
I also recommend using a navel orange, or several. You need about 1/3 cup orange juice per cocktail, and a navel orange will give you roughly 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of juice. So if you’re making 2 cocktails, it’s best to have around 3 oranges on hand.
Once you’ve squeezed the juice, add it to a cocktail shaker, pouring it over ice (crushed is best).
Layer On Some Orange Triple Sec and Orange Vodka
Now it’s time to layer on the oranges (and layer on a boozy one-two punch, with vodka and triple sec)
Into your shaker, add orange vodka and orange triple sec.
Now you’ve got your layers of orange upon orange upon orange.
Shake for 30 seconds or so, until foamy and blended.
Quick note, Grand Marnier will do the trick if you don’t have the triple sec!
It’s Lemon Lime Soda Time
Pour your triple orange mixture into a cocktail glass, and then fill the rest of the glass with your favorite brand of lemon lime soda, such as Sprite, 7-Up, etc. The light citrus sweetness really balances all the orange.
You can substitute Sprite with any brand of lemon lime or soda (citrus sodas like Sierra Mist, 7-Up, or a generic brand work).
Just make sure you don’t add the citrus soda until after you’re done shaking the juice and alcohol. Otherwise, the laws of carbonation will leave you with quite a mess!
The 4th Orange in the Crushes Cocktails
Finally, garnish your cocktail with a fresh orange slice, and enjoy.
Side effects may include extreme refreshment on a summer day or a super relaxing beach day with friends, so enjoy with caution!
Tools Needed to Make This Drink
I’m not a huge fan of having a ton of extra kitchen gear that never gets used, but for this drink (and many cocktails), it really is helpful to have a few basics: a cocktail shaker, a jigger, a juicer, and some summer appropriate outdoor glasses.
Cocktail Shaker– Don’t eschew a cocktail shaker, because they really do help make your drinks taste better! Your ingredients blend together better, get colder and start foaming to signal they’re ready. It’s made a huge difference for us, and makes it easier to make delicious drinks every time.
Shot Measuring Glass / Jigger– More than just a standard shot glass, I love this one that has measuring lines on the sides. Of course, you could just eyeball your ingredients, but when you’re first getting started, it isn’t a bad idea to have some guidelines!
Juicer – While I’m the first to admit the Smeg Citrus juicer is adorable and looks great on a counter, you don’t really need something this fancy, of course! Something like this basic Oxo will do the trick for juicing!
Unbreakable Stemless Wine Glasses– And, of course, my favorite unbreakable glasses! It’s summer, which seems to lead to more walking around outdoors with a drink in hand. It is not a bad idea to have these unbreakable wine glasses… especially around a pool!
How to Make This Recipe: Orange Crush Cocktail Recipe
Below, you’ll find the recipe as well as a guesstimation of nutritional information. Note, that info is provided by a third party plugin, so may not be totally accurate.
Orange Crush Cocktail
This refreshing vodka orange crush cocktail is made with fresh orange juice, vodka, triple sec, lemon lime soda, and crushed ice. A copycat recipe based on the Harborside Bar & Grill's Ocean City original, Orange Crushes are easy and refreshing, perfect for a backyard barbecue or beach party on a hot summer day!
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (equivalent to roughly 1 to 2 navel oranges)
- 2 oz orange flavored vodka
- 1 oz orange triple sec
- Crushed ice
- 1 can Sprite, or another lemon lime soda
- Orange wedge (for garnish)
- In a cocktail shaker, combine freshly squeezed orange juice, vodka, triple sec and crushed ice. Make sure the lid is secure and then shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.
- Pour into a glass and top off with Sprite or another brand of lemon lime soda.
- Add an orange wedge as garnish, and enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 638Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 106mgCarbohydrates: 124gFiber: 5gSugar: 113gProtein: 3g
ATurtlesLifeForMe.com offers estimations of nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators via a third-party plugin, and may be inaccurate. It is meant as a best guess, and not intended to provide dietary advice of any kind. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.
Thursday 13th of October 2022
This recipe is truly amazing. I tried it and it turned out very nice.
Wednesday 20th of June 2018
This sounds fantastic!! Orange is one of my favorite flavors in a good cocktail. I do agree fresh squeezed is always best, but I am like your friend ... I cheat and pour it from a carton :D Thanks for the recipe!