When UPS Gives You 9 LB Of Grapefruit Make Grapefruit Liqueur


Despite the failed apocalypse or perhaps because of it, we received a lot of perishable and non-perishable gifts this season. The cured meats and nuts will likely find a home in our groaning pantry, even the cheese in tube form could come in handy, like when you want to add gritty texture to your silky fondue or the inevitable silly string emergency or so… After scouring the interwebs racking my brain in response to the largesse of grapefruit from the Mom-in-law, I came upon a recipe for sweet and savory salmon with shallot-ruby grapefruit sauce and pink grapefruit liqueur turning my citrus albatross into alcoholic liquid pink gold. As recipes go, this involves minimal effort, a decent amount of booze, and lots of Wii time plungering alien rabbits downtime waiting for your flavors to mingle. I did pare down the 4 cups (!) of sugar to 2 1/2 cups of different sweeteners to give it a more complex flavor and tossed in a habanero one of my friendly neighborhood bartenders gave me from his garden just for funsies. It definitely gives you a bit of a spicy kick but just enough to say, “How do you do?” and not “How you doin’?” 😉 You still get a tangy sweet ruby red grapefruit taste without the bitter edge with caramel sweetness from the brown sugar and honey. If don’t have much of a sweet tooth and want mainly a grapefruity boozy taste, you can cut out the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. I’m still trying to find uses for this besides grapefruit drops (I’m a sucker for sugar-rimmed cocktails [hic!]) and grapefruit liqueur mimosas but even a shot with some club soda and an Amarena cherry is pretty satisfying. Hmm, guess this means I can honestly say my Mom-in-law has driven me to drink 😉 So thanks for the citrus holiday challenge and I’m looking forward the 2013 showdown!

Tipsy tips:
To supreme or not to supreme? A popular method of sectioning grapefruit (or any citrus fruit) is to supreme, where you use a knife to cut off the peel just into the edge of flesh and then cut out the fleshy wedges leaving you a juicy wedge without membranes, pith, peel, or pits. I’ve found that with really juicy ripe fruit, the membranes are pretty loose and I can just slit them and peel them off with my fingers but if you have a new knife you’re dying to put through its paces here’s a great tutorial from Bon Appétit.

6 large grapefruit
2 c vodka (I used Crater Lake Vodka)
1 c brandy (I used VSOP)
1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c honey
1 whole habanero pepper, optional

Peel grapefruit and remove the flesh from its membranes. Combine grapefruit and remaining ingredients into a large ~3 quart, watertight and airtight container (canning jars or juice jugs that have a sturdy twist lid are great for this). Shake to mix well (don’t worry if the sugar doesn’t dissolve right away, it’ll go into solution over the next few days). Leave in a cool, dark place for 3-4 weeks making sure to shake or invert every other day to keep the solids from settling.


Strain the liquid through a fine strainer like a Chinoise or a funnel with filter paper into a sealable bottle and leave to clear for another week. Pour off the clear liqueur (your boozy, bittersweet! grapefruit liqueur!) into another sealable bottle and bust out that cocktail shaker. Makes 1.5 liters (two 750 ml wine bottles). [hic!]

About Cam

Enjoying the hippie life in Portlandia :)


  1. Just yesterday I bottled limoncello that I made from some Meyer lemons. I’d love to give this a try, though I think I’ll have to use up some of this limoncello beforehand. OK I know I really don’t “have to” but now I’ll have a reason for downing the stuff. I thank you. My liver, not so much. 🙂

    • Cam

      Glad to help out. (Sorry, liver.) 😉

      You know, we used to always have a bottle of limoncello chilling in the freezer when we lived in Seattle. Must get back into that habit, once I clear out some freezer space…

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