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Cocktails with fruits

3 Grapefruit Flavored Cocktails Your Customers Will Love    

To the many cocktail aficionados reading this, the humble grapefruit might seem like a rudimentary, even boring, piece of fruit. Drinks that tend to garner attention these days contain all kinds of exciting ingredients, like jackfruit, dragonfruit, passion fruit, or my all-time favorite, Ugli fruit. But while the terms "unusual" and "esoteric" have become part of cocktail vernacular, there’s no shame in keeping things simple. Enter the grapefruit.


Known technically as Citrus x paradisi, grapefruit is most likely a cross between the Southeast Asian pummelo and the standard sweet orange. It’s one of the newer fruits on Earth, having been first discovered on the island of Barbados in the mid-18th century. The name comes from the fact that fruit clusters on the tree look somewhat similar to a bunch of grapes. While lemon and lime are our preferred bartending citrus, the grapefruit has lent its own unique charms to a wide variety of wonderful and timeless drinks.  


One only has to turn to the Hemingway Daiquiri—an august libation, to be sure—to see what a delightful ingredient grapefruit juice can be. While the history of this recipe is far from certain, it’s about as cooling as drinks come and perfect for parties.


Right now, grapefruits are in season, and their color, especially in the highly coveted Ruby Red type, is deep and inviting. While the ruby is a little sweeter and a favorite of bartenders, the yellow variety (also known as white grapefruit) has more acid and can actually work better in balancing out sugary components.


A case in point is the Brown Derby, which was perhaps created at the famous hat-shaped Los Angeles restaurant of the same name. I’m a big fan of the simplicity of this drink, but it can err on the sweet side if made with pink grapefruit juice.


That also goes for a rather unknown but delicious cocktail called the Blinker. The drink was first mentioned in Patrick Gavin Duffy’s 1934 The Official Mixer’s Manual and was resurrected in Ted Haigh’s wonderful Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. It is another simple and elegant concoction, calling for rye whiskey, grapefruit, and either grenadine or, even better, fresh raspberry syrup. Again, use a yellow variety here for balance.


And speaking of easy, a great drink to bust out at a gathering for a lot of people is the Paloma, pretty much the only “cocktail” you’ll find in Mexico. (No, the locals do not drink Margaritas.) In its homeland, this ubiquitous highball is made with a sickeningly sweet grapefruit soda called Squirt. But when made with fresh grapefruit juice and topped with sparkling water, the result is one of the most refreshing drinks you’ll ever try.


Grapefruit also matches beautifully with Aperol, Campari, and some bitter Italian Amari, as well as almost all spirits, proving that it might actually be the most versatile citrus fruit out there. These three drinks will prove it.

Vida Paloma

Wine cocktail

The Paloma is a refreshing cocktail featuring tequila, lime juice and grapefruit soda. It’s unclear from when and where, exactly, it hails, but most reports peg its creation to 1950s Mexico.


  • 2 ounces mezcal
  • 3 ounces grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 ounces club soda, chilled, to top
  • Garnish: chile piquin, to rim glass
  • Garnish: cilantro sprig
  • Garnish: grapefruit quarter-wheel
  • Garnish: jalapeño round



Wet a rocks glass and rim half the glass with chile piquin. Add the mezcal, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, and lime juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into the prepared glass over fresh ice. Top with the club soda. Garnish with a cilantro sprig, grapefruit quarter wheel, and jalapeño round.


Green Deacon

Grapefruit cocktail


Absinthe and two kinds of gin may seem unlikely accompaniments to grapefruit, but they work beautifully in this cocktail by bar legend Jim Meehan. The Green Deacon will have you preaching the boundless virtues of this citrus fruit like its namesake clergyman might.


  • Absinthe, to rinse
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce sloe gin
  • 1-ounce grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
  • Garnish: 1 grapefruit wedge


Rinse a chilled cocktail or coupe glass with absinthe and set aside. Add the gin, sloe gin, and grapefruit juice into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Double-strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.




Cocktail with grapefruit slice


A simple mix of gin, elderflower-flavored liqueur, and grapefruit juice, this three-ingredient cocktail from Los Angeles bartender Somer Perez couldn’t be easier to make—which is good, since you’ll certainly want to have more than one.


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce St-Germain
  • 2 1/2 ounces grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
  • Garnish: grapefruit wedge


Add the gin, elderflower liqueur, and grapefruit juice to a shaker with ice, and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.