5 Best Ways To Substitute For Lime Juice In Cocktails

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Last Updated on October 31, 2022 by Toya

Here are 5 of the best ways to substitute for lime juice in cocktails with ingredients you may have in your kitchen right now! 

I’ve shared the best substitutes for lime juice in all sorts of recipes here, but today, I’m taking a look at lime juice alternatives that work specifically in cocktails.


Lime juice has a tart, acidic, flavor with a slight hint of sweetness. These properties make it a great candidate to help balance out any sweetness as well as the flavors of the other ingredients in the cocktails including the alcohol. It also adds a bright refreshing flavor to cocktails.

Most people usually have fresh lime which can be squeezed to get lime juice to make a cocktail. However, if you’re all out, or you can’t find any at the grocery store, here are several ways to replace lime juice in a cocktail.

What are the best lime juice substitutes for cocktails?

  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice powder
  • Orange juice
  • Bitter orange juice
  • Lime extract

Common ways to substitute for lime juice in cocktails

Lemon juice

lemon JUICE

If you have it, fresh lemon juice is an excellent substitute for lime juice in cocktails. 

Like lime juice, lemon juice will add a sour, acidic flavor and help balance out the flavors of the other ingredients in the cocktail. 

You may perceive a slight difference though since fresh lemon juice is slightly sweeter than fresh lime juice which is more bitter.

Orange juice

You may not have lime juice, but if you have freshly squeezed orange juice it can work in place of lime juice in some cocktails. Orange juice is better suited for cocktails like Hurrican of the Tequila Sunrise, Mimosa, or even used in a Margarita.

Sour orange juice

In the absence of lime juice, you can use sour orange juice to make cocktails. Sour orange isn’t very common in the US, but it is very popular in The Bahamas and the Caribbean. This fruit tastes like a cross between lime and orange and is great for making tropical cocktails. Use less sour orange juice than the lime juice called for in the recipe, then adjust the taste as desired. So, for example, if the cocktail calls for 1 ounce of lime juice, start with ½ an ounce of sour orange juice.

Lime juice powder

Most people may not have lime juice powder on hand, but, it is work getting if you’d like to have a year-round lime juice substitute for your cocktails, but also for other recipes that call for lime.

Start by using ¼ of a teaspoon of lime juice powder in 1 fluid ounce cup of water to make an equivalent of 1 ounce of lime juice. I like Judee’s Lime Juice Powder which I get on Amazon. It is a little on the pricey side, but it lasts so long and is so versatile in the kitchen so it’s worth the price in the end.

Lime extract

Lime extract is a good substitute for lime juice in cocktails. Lime extract is made from alcohol, water, and cold-pressed oil of lime and is able to easily impart that zesty citrus lime flavor to many drinks and other recipes calling for lime flavor. 

A little goes a long way here. So about 1 teaspoon of lime extract is enough for a glass of cocktail. I get my lime extract for beverages, baking, and cooking from Amazon at a good price. Check it out if you need some for your cocktails or just to keep in your kitchen for when you need lime flavor but can’t find them.

What to avoid in your cocktails

If you can, help it don’t use bottled lime juice in your cocktails. Bottle lime juice is a less intense, less fresh, watered-down version of freshly squeezed lime juice and you’ll immediately taste the difference in your cocktails. 

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