I think it’s perfect that citrus season comes in winter. You would think by looking at a juicy pink grapefruit, that it would be a product of sunny skies and warm temperatures. But lemons, oranges, tangerines, kumquats, and of course grapefruits are at their best right as the weather is gloomy and cold. They’re like little balls of reserve sunshine, to be consumed when you need a little taste of summer. I need some ‘consume in case of gloom’ stickers for the pink grapefruits on my counter.
Anyway, about this drink. It’s a variation of a salty dog, which is a classic gin cocktail usually comprised of grapefruit juice, gin, and salt. There seems to be some argument about wether the salt goes in the drink, or on the rim. You can figure out which side I’m on from the photos. It’s essentially gin and juice(Thank you, Snoop Dogg). Actually that cocktail is called the greyhound, and it is literally just gin and grapefruit juice over ice. Now, there’s nothing wrong with either of those drinks, they’re classics for a reason. I just wanted to add a little more interest.
It’s always important to me when I’m mixing a gin cocktail to make sure I can still taste the botanicals in the gin, after all I do drink it for it’s lovely flavors and I wouldn’t want to lose them. A lot of the classic recipes I looked at used buckets of juice compared to the amount of gin, so I scaled back to a simple 2 to 1 ratio of juice to gin. I wanted the drink to be refreshing and light, so cucumber was a natural addition. Then I added some Peychaud’s bitters for a little more depth of flavor, and some savory notes.
Be warned, after you muddle in the cucumber this drink will turn kind of a murky color. Adding green to orange does that unfortunately. Though after adding Peychaud’s bitters(which in addition to tasting fantastic, are a stunning bright pink color) and straining, the cocktail reclaims it’s lovely pinky orange hue.
For purely aesthetic reasons I used pink Himalayan sea salt to garnish the rim, which I thought would photograph well and add to the overall pink theme. It’s also pretty tasty, but any old coarse-ish salt will do just fine. The leafy green garnish is also optional. I used bunches of mint from my plentiful balcony garden, which is quite convenient for me. However cucumber, grapefruit, or no garnish at all would also be fine options.
Oh, and I tried out a new gin this week. We picked up a bottle of Sipsmith London Dry Gin, which is quite nice. It’s got a rich texture to it, and really intense and zesty aromatics. Great for mixing with strong flavors, like ruby grapefruit. It also has a touch of perfumey-ness to the nose, but in a subtle kind of white flowers way. I’m not a big fan of their label design, it looks a bit like a vintage Christmas card in a bad way to me, but I like what’s inside the bottle quite a lot.
PS. Pink grapefruit in French is pamplemousse rose, which I think is pretty delightful. Unfortunately I did not learn this when I took French, but from buying many bottles of fancy sparkling water.
Grapefruit Cucumber Salty Dog
Makes 1 cocktail.
4 ounces fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
2 ounces gin
1 slice of cucumber(1/2 inch)
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Choice of garnish: cucumber wheel, fresh mint, grapefruit wheel or grapefruit peel twist.
- Pour a hefty amount of salt(about a 1/4 cup) onto a small plate.
- Turn your serving glass upside down, and wet just the rim by dipping into your grapefruit juice.
- Press wet rim of glass into your plate of salt, rotating it around until an even layer of salt is covering the rim of the glass. Set aside.
- Muddle slice of cucumber for about 30 seconds in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
- Add in gin, juice, and bitters. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
- Add 3 or 4 ice cubes to your salted serving glass.
- Strain mixture into glass over ice cubes.
- Add garnish and enjoy immediately.
Serve in a short and wide rocks glass, or a tall and thin collins glass.
The gin may be swapped out for vodka in equal portions.
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