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How to make foolproof grapefruit gin, plus more fruity, boozy ideas.  

Stacey Ballis
March 14, 2019

In my life, it often comes down to grapefruit.

I’ve always been a grapefruit fan. It probably started with the size: when it comes to portions, I say bigger is better. So, if I were going to “grab a piece of fruit” per my mother’s snacking suggestion, it might as well be as close to the size of my head as possible. I never had to be coaxed to try grapefruit. I instinctively loved that razor’s edge of sweet and sour, the floral notes, the blushing pink color. I’m not a soda drinker by nature, but I cannot pass up a Fresca when offered.

When my husband and I first connected we found out that we both had the same favorite word in French, pamplemousse, aka grapefruit. When we bought our house, we lovingly named it Chateau de Pamplemousse, and if you come to stay with us, you will find a small jar of grapefruit-flavored gummy bears in your room. We drink the pamplemousse flavor of LaCroix exclusively. My license plate is PMPLMUS.

WATCH: How to Make Grapefruit Poppy Seed Muffins

It was therefore a natural thing, that when I came across a cocktail that started with grapefruit gin, I was all in. Just one problem. I did not possess any grapefruit gin. But a quick search online led me to a recipe for a grapefruit-infused gin, which was essentially a bottle of gin poured over the peels of a large grapefruit and steeped for 5-7 days. Now a couple of things immediately occurred to me. First, even the most careful removal of strips of citrus peel will still expose some pith, which is unpleasantly bitter, and I was thinking that it would only be intensified after a week-long hang. Also, I am super lazy, so the whole peeling and straining thing just sounded like more mess than this particular project warranted. Enter my foolproof lazy infused gin.

How to Make Lazy Infused Grapefruit Gin

  1. Take an organic grapefruit and put it in the bottom of a pitcher.   
  2. Pour a bottle of gin over it.
  3. Cover it with some plastic wrap and let it relax in a dark corner of my kitchen for a week.
  4. When the week was up, I used tongs to carefully remove the whole fruit, and poured the now fragrant tipple back into its bottle.

No muss, no fuss, just grapefruit gin.

What Else Can Be Infused?

This started me down a path of infusing spirits that threatened to overwhelm the bar cabinet. The gift of a Buddha’s hand citron? Gin. A perfect pint of kumquats? Vodka. Blood oranges? Bourbon. Tiny key limes? Rum. It is as easy as making sun tea, and the results are clean and delicious, with no artificial aftertastes like some of the flavored spirits on the market. Don’t love citrus? Peel a whole hand of ginger and toss it in there. Whole spices. A vanilla pod. Once you start, your cocktail game will go fully next level. And they make lovely gifts for friends, strain into a pretty bottle with a custom label, and you will find yourself the most popular guest on the block.

If your fruit is large, like a grapefruit, you’ll only need one per 750ml bottle. If smaller, like limes, two or three will do. Eyeball it, and start tasting at four or five days to get the intensity you want. Don’t steep longer than a week, by that point you’ll start to penetrate into the fruit and get that bitter pith taste. (And no, the fruit is not edible when the week is up. Despite your instincts, just toss it.)

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