Tuesday, January 27, 2009

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Given a Glut of Grapefruit

Fruit experts disagree about the origins of grapefruit,
how it was named, and even what species it is,
but there is little debate
about how delicious grapefruit are
and how they perk up tired taste buds.

~ Alice Waters
Chez Panisse Fruit

Not long ago, I was blessed with a huge bag of grapefruit. More precise, perhaps, to say that my friend Carlo called to say I could harvest as many as I liked from his side yard. Otherwise, they would just be left, untended, unloved, on the trees. The thought of hundreds of orphaned grapefruit was almost more than I could bear.

It turns out that dozens of grapefruit also were more than I could eat. At the end of a week, some peel had been candied, some dried and powdered for marinades and stews, the flesh sliced into a bowl with oranges, bananas, maraschino, and mint for a fruit salad. There was sufficient grapefruit bitters to last through the summer.

Breaking out the reamer, I juiced the remaining fruit. The dozen or so fat yellow globes yielded a liter of strained juice. Tasty enough—if tart—to drink straight up. Better to hit it with a splash of seltzer. Better still to measure it into a cocktail shaker to perk up them tired cocktail taste buds.

For sipping tequila neat, I favor more aged selections, but inocente puts out a clean blanco, a triple-distilled 100% blue agave tequila that stands up quite nicely to puckery grapefruit juice. Out it came.

Both Marleigh Riggins at Sloshed! and Chuck Taggart on The Gumbo Pages have written about Eric Alperin’s tequila-and-Campari cocktail, the sculaccione. I enjoy it as well, but bitter is sometimes a hard sell around this house. Fortunately, the Italian amaro Aperol (flavored with orange, gentian, and rhubarb among others) plays bitter roles with great success. With the switch of spirits, I dubbed this one the

2 oz blanco tequila (inocente Platinum)
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz fresh grapefruit juice
½ oz Aperol
½ oz simple syrup
dash Angostura bitters

Shake with ice. Strain into an old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.

Given the hundreds of cocktails in Dale DeGroff’s The Craft of the Cocktail, a casual reader might be forgiven for skimming right past the salt-and-pepper martini. Me? I’m not an unbending martini purist, but the glut of chocolate martinis, appletinis, and endless what-the-hell's-this-itinis has made me leery of deviations from the classic gin-and-vermouth formulae, so it was a while before I sampled this grapefruit-spiked version. Plymouth gin is lovely in this one. Oh, if I could only have back those misspent days.
Salt-and-Pepper Martini

1 ½ oz. gin
¾ oz. lemon juice
¾ oz. grapefruit juice
1 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes of Angostura bitters

Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled salt-rimmed martini glass.



nerdling said...

Yay! So glad you liked it. We're a bitter-loving household, but it really is hard to hate on grapefruit. :)

Matthew Rowley said...

It was a treat ~ so glad you unwittingly poked me in the direction of trying it.

Anonymous said...

If you have a need for misshapen lemons, I've got the hook-up :)