This grapefruit gin cocktail drink is the perfect refreshing drink to sip during the winter, when you need a pop of tart citrus to brighten up the grey days.
I’m sure one of the first things you noticed about this grapefruit and gin concoction is how purple it is. A typically citrusy, bright orange drink isn’t the first place you’d think to find what almost looks like an homage to the professional basketball team in Arizona.
The unusual color is from the butterfly pea tea in the gin that I used for these pictures. The tea gives the gin a little more of a floral note than a more traditional gin, but you can use a clear gin without the butterfly pea tea, and it will taste just as good.
This drink is flavored with fresh grapefruit. If you absolutely must, you can make do with storebought grapefruit juice, though the final beverage won’t be as fragrant without the grapefruit peel.
Not to mention that a slice of grapefruit perched on top at the end makes the vibe a little classier.
Pulp or no pulp in the juice, either goes for this drink.
Subbing the grapefruit out for pomelo sounds delicious, since it also has a sweet/tart citrus flavor with a hint of bitterness.
If you don’t have access to any grapefruit or pomelo, you can try using an orange. Since oranges aren’t as bitter as grapefruit or pomelo, you can add a little of the pith when you’re muddling the citrus peel, and that can help impart a bit of that same essence.
If you’re not used to making cocktails and don’t have the same equipment you usually see when you’re hypnotized at the bar watching pros whip up your drink (or is that just me?), it might be intimidating to try at home.
However, you can definitely scrounge around your kitchen for alternatives instead.
No cocktail shaker? An old jam or olive jar, plus a strainer, does the trick instead.
No muddler? The end of a wooden rolling pin or spoon works fine.
How to Make
In your cocktail shaker (or jam jar), place the sugar, salt and grapefruit peel.
Muddle until fragrant. The point of this step is to get the grapefruit peel to release its oils, and the gentle pressing along with the grittiness of the sugar and salt help do that.
Then add the gin, water and ice. I like adding a little water to smooth out the edges of cocktails at home.
If you’re not using butterfly pea flower tea infused gin, then you can add the grapefruit juice in here too, but since I wanted the layered effect, I kept them separate for now.
Pop the lid onto your container, and shake vigorously until the outside of the container is cold. You want the drink to be cold enough, as well as make sure that enough air incorporates into the beverage for a smoother sipping experience.
Fill your serving glass half full with ice. Make sure it’s new ice, since the ice you already used is broken down and will melt too quickly into your drink.
If you haven’t already added the grapefruit juice in, pour that into your serving glass first, then gently pour the cold gin on top.
Since the grapefruit juice is more dense than the alcohol, it’s best to keep the juice as the bottom layer so it doesn’t sink into the gin. I’d also recommend pouring the gin into the bowl of a spoon held over the liquid, and letting the gin drip slowly and gently onto the juice so that the force of normal pouring doesn’t disrupt the bottom layer.
(For anyone who already shook their grapefruit juice with their gin, ignore that whole paragraph).
Top the beverage off with sparkling water, and add a slice of grapefruit if you’d like. Give the drink a stir before sipping!
The butterfly pea tea in the gin I used changes color when you add acid, hence the two drinks in one illusion in these pictures.
Tips to Make
- Salt is a must in any sippable, alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It makes the other flavors pop more, so add some to this cocktail as well!
- Make sure that you’re avoiding as much of the white pith as possible when you extract the grapefruit peel from the fruit. It’s bitter enough alone, so you don’t need to add the pith too!
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 inch wide piece grapefruit peel
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 shot gin
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ cup grapefruit juice
- sparkling water
- sliced grapefruit for serving optional
In a cocktail shaker, place the sugar, grapefruit peel and salt. Muddle until the grapefruit is fragrant and the sugar is clumping.
Add the gin, water, and a big scoop of ice. Snap on the lid, then shake until the outside of the container is cold.
Fill your serving glass half full with ice, then add the grapefruit juice. Strain in the drink on top of the juice gently. Top the drink off with sparkling water, and add a slice of grapefruit for garnish if desired.
Give the drink a good stir before enjoying!
I used gin infused with butterfly pea tea flowers, but a more traditional clear gin is fine here too.