Grapefruit is one of those fruits that was made to go with cocktails. It is the right amount of bitter and acidity to perfectly compliment a cocktai recipe. And a gin grapefruit cocktail really hits the spot.
While my cocktails of choice most often include vodka, like this pomegranate vodka cocktail, I am branching out as of late with some gin and even a few bourbon cocktails. ANd this year, I thought why the hell not try gin. I was pleasantly surprised, I really enjoyed it. The grapefruit simple syrup was bright and citrusy. Adding a little sage threw in a savory element, but wasn't overwhelming.
What mixes good with gin?
Since gin is not something I drink a lot, I had to do a little research here. Tasting and reading. Hendrick's was my favorite and what I use for this, but I also liked Aviation too. Some of the most common things to mix with gin are:
- Vermouth. For a martini.
- Tonic. I think tonic is gross, but there's no denying that gin and tonic is a super popular and commonly paired cocktail. It has the right amount of bitterness and sweetness to go well with gin.
- Grapefruit. Perfect for gin, because it is acidic, bitter and just a touch sweet.
What to garnish a grapefruit gin cocktail with...
Easy. Bruleed grapefruit slices. I mean, who doesn't love grapefruit covered in sugar. And I will tell you what, brulee-ing grapefruit is even better. It gets a crunchy, caramel-y top that you will love. I read about making grapefruit halves this way a few years ago here and have been eating them like this ever since. That garnish...AMAZING! It is like a little dessert to go along with your drink!
- Grapefruit juice
- Sage leaves
- Grapefruit peel
- Grapefruit slices
You're going to start with a grapefruit simple syrup recipe, that you can make in about five minutes tops. Equal parts sugar and water, the peel of a grapefruit (this is where all the intensely flavored citrus oil is), a few sage leaves. Bring the whole thing to a boil, and continue boiling a couple minutes, until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the juice of the grapefruit.
Let the grapefruit simple syrup sit until tis cooled. Then simply mix some of this with some gin in a cocktail shaker and pour over ice. I always top this cocktail with a little soda water to add some fizz.
To make the awesome garnish, slice up a grapefruit and sprinkle with sugar. If you have a kitchen torch, simply torch the top until the sugar caramelizes. If you don't have a kitchen torch, just throw the slices on a baking sheet under the broiler for a few minutes. You will get the same results.
Ingredient swaps and variations
This grapefruit gin cocktail recipe is super adaptable, here's some ways you can mix it up:
- Use a different liquor. If you are not a fan of gin, or don't have any, this grapefruit simple syrup pairs really well with vodka or even tequila.
- Use a different herb. Gin is kind of floral, and goes really nice with herbs. If you don't have sage, rosemary or lavender would work great in this recipe as well.
- Switch up the citrus. Blood orange is a great substitute here as would be lime or regular orange.
My biggest tip for making this grapefruit gin cocktail is to make sure that no matter what fruit you're using, to make sure to use the peel in the simple syrup. The fruit peel is where all the good fragrant citrus oil is and it will really make your simple syrup stand out for this cocktail.
- kitchen torch
For the simple syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- juice of one grapefruit
- peel of one grapefruit
- 2 teaspoon sage leaves
For the cocktail
- ½ cup grapefruit simple syrup
- 1 cup gin
- Soda water or even better grapefruit italian soda or grapefruit flavored soda water
For the bruleed grapefruit garnish
- 1 grapefruit sliced into circles about ¼ inch or so thick
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- To make the simple syrup, combine the sugar, water, grapefruit peel and sage leaves in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer until all the sugar disolves and the mixture is thick and syrupy. Put through a strainer and cool this completely. You can store this in a jar in your fridge for weeks.
- To make the cocktail, in a cocktail shaker combine the simple syrup and gin. Shake well. Pour into two glasses over ice and top with soda water and mix gently.
- For the garnish, lay the grapefruit rounds on a heatproof surface and sprinkle sugar over the top. The whole thing should be completely covered in sugar - it will end up being more sugar than you think. Torch the sugar until bubbly and caramel in color. Let cool until the brunt sugar is hardened and shiny (kind of will look like glass, think top of the french dessert creme brulee).