Citrus Sage Tonic

Created by Laura Wright
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The citrus sage tonic is refreshing and adaptable to whatever herbs you might have around. Easily made into a cocktail with spirits too!

An overhead shot of a pink citrus sage tonic in harsh direct light.
An overhead shot of a cocktail shaker with dried sage leaves and agave nectar inside.
An overhead shot of the "Kale & Caramel" book

If you follow a number of food blogs, I’m sure you will hear a chorus of this sentiment in the coming weeks: Lily Diamond of Kale & Caramel (the blog and now book!) radiates passion for what she does because she lives it. That sense of joy that understands harder times, the complexity and depth, and also the truth in her writing—it all translates in real life.

I spent a weekend with her at a retreat in Cambria, California. She picked me up at the airport with a giant hug, the most delicious kombucha, and a batch of Lindsay’s black lentil hummus in tow. There’s a calm clarity and true generosity to her spirit. Kind of like this citrus and sage tonic ;)

Her creative expression, both online and elsewhere, can easily encourage others to unabashedly be themselves. Lily’s work always stands out to me. There’s this natural interplay of savoury and sweet, wholesome and sensory-indulgent, bold and understated. She makes it seem effortless, and that’s why it’s so high-impact and inspiring for me.

Kale & Caramel, which was just released this week, is a book I can live with and work from in a spontaneous, fun, and inspired way. I receive a ton of cookbooks, but I also like to move freely and do my own thing. “Self-care” is a term that’s bandied about by health and lifestyle-focused websites, but Lily’s approach is one of practical, living and breathing self-nourishment.

Among the 12 segments devoted to particular herbs and flowers, there’s a recipe for a simple grapefruit, cucumber and rose skin quencher that takes 3 minutes to prepare, but its goodness will give you some extra buoyancy for the rest of the day. Turn the pages back and there’s an oatmeal and oregano mask that will get you excited because you have everything to make it right now. Beyond that, there’s a strawberry and basil cream pie, jasmine shortbread, fresh corn polenta, chopped salad with mint tahini dressing, and so much more.

I’m sharing this citrus sage tonic from the sage chapter because Lily’s slightly herbal riff on a paloma felt just right. Here, I have it without the alcohol, but in the book, mezcal and tequila are recommended and I’d have to agree that they would be SO perfect (along with a family-sized serving of guacamole please). Happy sipping to all my tonic-lovers out there.

An overhead shot of cut open citrus fruits in direct sunlight.
An overhead shot of prep for citrus sage tonics in bright direct light.
An overhead shot of dried sage leaves in a small white bowl.
A 3/4 angle shot of a pink citrus sage tonic in harsh direct light.

Citrus Sage Tonic

The citrus sage tonic is refreshing and adaptable to whatever herbs you might have around. Easily made into a cocktail with spirits too!
No ratings yet
Citrus and Sage Tonic from "Kale & Caramel"
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings 1


  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave nectar (depending on the sweetness of the grapefruits)
  • 2 large grapefruits, juiced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 large lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ice cubes, for serving


  • Muddler


  • Copyright © 2017 by Lily Diamond from KALE & CARAMEL: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
  • I think a lot of herbs could work themselves in here nicely–like rosemary, basil, cilantro, or thyme.
  • Lily recommends tequila, mezcal, gin or vodka if you’re looking to make this into a cocktail.
  • Also, if you’re wondering why my sage looks so gnarly, I used naturally dried leaves from my plants last year :)


  • Use a muddler or wooden spoon to crush the sage into the agave nectar at the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the grapefruit, lime, and lemon juices and a few pinches of salt. Shake vigorously, then strain the citrus sage tonic over ice.
03/05/2017 (Last Updated 25/10/2022)
Posted in: autumn, beverage, gluten free, grain-free, nut free, oil free, raw, sour, spring, summer, sweet, vegan, winter


Recipe Rating

  • natalie

    That’s an amazing recipe! Loved it, thank you for sharing. I also loved the glasses you served the tonic in. What brand are they or where did you buy them?

    • Laura

      They are old ones from Anthropologie!

  • Lindsay | With Salt and Pepper

    This look and sound divine! I can’t wait til my cookbook comes!

  • Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek

    This tonic looks and sounds amazing! Though what else would I expect from the lovely Lily :) Thanks for sharing! xoxo

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    Thank you for introduction to this book, i need to check it out, i always enjoy creative cookbooks.

  • Lily | Kale & Caramel

    Beautiful friend. This post means so much to me in a glorious, full-circle, chills-inducing kind of way. Your site was one of the first blogs I ever read, my first awakening to the art of this craft. You are the consummate. Your food and words and photographs have given me heart and strength and nourishment for so many years. I cherish every word and every photo on this page, and I am so excited that our books get to be book babies together. AND I CANNOT WAIT FOR JUNE 20!!! Now if only I were sitting down with you over a massive pitcher of sage citrus palomas and a giant bowl of guac. HEAVEN!! Love you. Thank you.

  • Maria

    Tonic waters are so refreshing. Citrus and sage sound wonderful together!!! WOW making my mouth water. Its one of the first nice days Seattle has seen in a loooong while, so it looks doubly refreshing. YUM!

  • Karen

    Gosh, Laura…I’ve been really missing your original, entree type recipes. I was anticipating your return to a regular posting schedule after your long absence following release of your (fabulous) cookbook, but all of your posts seem to be sponsored or in promotion of another blogger’s cookbook release. Bummer!

    • Laura

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you for this honest comment and feedback. I’m sorry that you’re bummed out, and I do understand your frustration.

      This is a season of exciting cookbook releases, and to return the kindness that so many bloggers granted me when my book came out, I like to share my enthusiasm of their books here as well. It’s a tricky balance that I’m trying to work out while also handling a particularly busy season of life on the personal side. This blog is part of my profession, but it’s also reflective of my real life goings-on.

      Hoping you can understand, and that things will return to the more typical flow here soon. Feel free to email me through the contact tab at any time if you have further feedback.

      Thanks again,

      • Karen

        Thanks for listening to me ‘keeping it real,’ Laura. As always, you’re still one of my very favorites. Best, Karen

  • christine

    This was a recipe that I was really excited about too, give me alllll the tonics <3
    I also LOVE the light in these photos, Laura. So pretty!

  • carlos at Spoonabilities

    Tonic is my favorite drink, and the citrusy and the sage should be an AMAZING drink!! Also, Love the photos!!

  • Nandita

    That looks like a lovely book! Will wait for it to be available in India :) kitchen based beauty remedies are the best!