Orange Crush Cocktail

I don’t share too many cocktail recipes on our page, but this Orange Crush cocktail is special and despite being easy to make, actually has a lot of thought behind it.

three orange crush cocktails with text overlay for facebook


So here we go… easy instructions for the best Orange Crush recipe using fresh oranges, vodka and special liquor to make yours the bomb!

Classic Orange Crush Recipe

I honestly don’t drink cocktails too much, mostly because I like to eat calories instead of drink them and also because I am way too lazy to be getting out a cocktail shaker, blending and pouring. Instead, I pop a bottle of wine and I’m already on my way to relaxation town. It’s either that or a Dirty Shirley or spiked Italian Cream Soda.

But an Orange Crush is just as much a Maryland cocktail as crab cakes are a state dish. You won’t find many bars, in the city or on the shore, that don’t have their own citrus juicer proudly displayed. It’s not just a refreshing summer drink, it is an “anytime of the year drink”.

And the moment you see it, you know, they make crushes. And it is a way of life.

It used to be that you didn’t even need to specify your flavor of crush. In Baltimore, they were orange. You can ask for a grapefruit crush, but know that the chances of them having fresh grapefruit are slim to none. Now days they make them with pineapple, lemon and even limes

The chances that there are bags of fresh oranges are, however, HUGE. I have no clue how this orange juice cocktail came to be one of our state staples. Oranges aren’t native to the state. Screw drivers aren’t a typical happy indulgence.

two orange crush cocktails

Where Did the Orange Crush Start?

I mean, we serve our fair share of mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and vodka drink recipes, but doesn’t everyone? Rumor has it that is started at the Harborside Bar in Ocean City, but who knows, many want to claim it as their own.

Some argue that orange crushes are an Ocean City thing and others, a Baltimore thing and some even an Appapolis thing. And even then Waterman’s in Virginia claims to be the original.

But does it really matter as long as you have one in hand?

I think they are enjoyed so much because they are refreshing. And let’s all be honest… they are flipping delicious and anything made with fruit juice has some nutritional value. Hello, vitamin C is good for the immune system and aging.

two orange crush cocktails on a tray


You can use any type you like! Valencia oranges and navel oranges are by far the most popular and the easiest to procure, but you can use more excotic types as well. You can even use blood oranges!

The only type of orange I shy away from using are mandarin oranges and only because they are smaller and don’t have as much fresh orange juice.

Juicing your own oranges is imperative to making this a smashing drink, so get yourself one of these handy dandy citrus juices that aren’t only pretty, but totally functional and easy to use.

From there, a crush is different from a screw drivers because you not only add vodka, you also add lemon-lime soda. Or any other bubbly drink (see notes below!).

three orange crush cocktails

Why You’ll Love This Delicious Cocktail

An orange crush cocktail is loved by almost anyone that tries it. Here are a few reasons why we do:

  • Simple ingredients – The ingredient list for this perfect summer drink is short and simple. All easily found at the store if you don’t already have them.
  • Easy to make – Because of it’s simple ingredients and short list of steps, this is the perfect drink to whip up when you have last minute guests come over.
  • Great for warm weather – Anything with fresh citrus juice makes me think of warmer weather. And while this is great enjoyed all year round, I love it on a hot summer day.


The simple ingredients of this recipe are super easy to find at your local grocery store- if you don’t already have them on hand.

  • Orange juice – I know you are going to wonder if you can use bottled orange juice from the store; but this is one of those recipes that I’m going to say use fresh orange juice. Fresh juice is really key to making this a good cocktail.
  • Vodka – Because this is the main liquor in the cocktail, I using a good quality vodka. Your favorite brand will work just fine.
  • Triple sec – This is just the most popular brand name for orange liqueur, but you could get fancy and use Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Orange Curacao if you’d like.
  • Soda – There are several options that can be used here. You can use a lemon-lime soda like Sprite of 7UP, or just sparkling water or club soda.
  • Garnishes – I like to use fresh orange wedges or maraschino cherries for garnish, but they aren’t necessary. You could also use lemon or lime wedges.
  • Ice – I don’t normally list “ice” as an ingredient. However, it is an orange CRUSH, so crushed ice cubes are best. Fill that pint glass to the brim with real, crushed ice.
orange crush cocktail with cherry and orange

How to Make an Orange Crush Cocktail

This simple cocktail really couldn’t be easier to make.

  1. Ice. Fill a pint glass with crushed ice.
  2. Vodka. Pour vodka and other liquor into the glass.
  3. Juice. Add freshly squeezed orange juice. Although bulky, these professional tabletop juicers are the best and easy to clean.
  4. Soda. Top it off with lemon-lime soda (might not need the full amount).
  5. Garnish. Garnish with an orange wedge and/or maraschino cherry.
  6. Enjoy! Drink immediately!
collage of how to make orange crush cocktail


There are plenty of ways you can change this recipe to turn it into your favorite cocktail.

  • Soda – If you don’t have lemon lime soda, you could use orange soda instead. It will really enhance the orange flavor.
  • Juice – As I said, fresh-squeezed orange juice is best for this recipe, however you could totally sub in fresh grapefruit juice as well. It will be slightly more bitter, but still delicious and you still get that citrus flavor.
  • Vodka – You can use plain vodka (Titos is my favorite!) or use an orange vodka, even lemon infused vodka or a splash of limoncello. Perfect for a hot summer day.
collage of orange crush cocktail for pinterest

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straight on shot of orange crush cocktail with text overlay for pinterest

More Favorites from Savory Experiments

orange crush cocktail with cherry and orange

Orange Crush Cocktail

4.52 from 103 votes
Easy instructions for the best Orange Crush Cocktail recipe using fresh oranges, vodka and special liquor to make yours the bomb!
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes
Servings: 1


  • 1 orange , freshly juiced*
  • 1- 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 3 ounces lemon-lime soda or sparkling water**
  • orange wedges or maraschino cherry for garnish


  • Fill a pint glass with crushed ice.
  • Pour vodka and other liquor into the glass.
  • Add freshly squeezed orange juice.
  • Top it off with lemon-lime soda (might not need the full amount).
  • Garnish with an orange wedge and/or maraschino cherry.
  • Drink immediately!
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!



*Approximately 1/2 cup of orange juice.
**You might not need the full amount, this depends on the size of your glass, amount of ice and fresh orange juice.


Calories: 345 kcal, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Protein: 1 g, Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 3 mg, Potassium: 237 mg, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 21 g, Vitamin A: 295 IU, Vitamin C: 70 mg, Calcium: 52 mg
Calories: 345
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: orange crush
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.52 from 103 votes (83 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    These were our Friday night cocktail and boy did they hit the spot! Delicious, refreshing and a burst of sunshine on a dreary winter day!

  2. 5 stars
    This orange crush looks so refreshing and will be perfect for any brunch. I especially like the crushed ice.