Blushing Pink: 12 Tantalising Grapefruit Cocktails to Try

December 12, 2022 by Karl Tessendorf

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Grapefruit cocktails, how do we love thee? Let us count down the list of everything zesty and tart. We’ve got all the classics from Mojitos and Margaritas to Martinis and a sugarless daiquiri—Ernest Hemingway style. They’re sassy and delicious and all feature the signature blushing pink of grapefruit. Let’s get to it!    

1. Paloma

Pink Paloma Cocktails with Grapefruit garnish

The Paloma is a grapefruit cocktail recipe that’s bright and bubbly. Paloma means dove in Spanish but don’t let its light and feathery name fool you. It’s got a feisty tequila kick and a salt rim which adds a savoury punch to the tart grapefruit flavour. The Paloma has been refreshing thirsty compadres since the 1950s and it’s the perfect no-mess, no-fuss grapefruit cocktail.    

2. Brown Derby

A Brown Derby Cocktail

Named after a bizarre hat-shaped restaurant chain in 1920s California, the Brown Derby is sweet, smooth, and spicy. It’s a mix of bourbon and grapefruit juice that’s sweetened with honey syrup. The honey adds a gorgeous floral sweetness that complements the rich bourbon character, while the grapefruit adds a zesty tartness. It’s a tip-of-the-hat to a bygone era, with nostalgia in every sip.      

You also might like: Effortless Bourbon Watermelon Cocktail. 

3. Grapefruit Margarita

Two Grapefruit Margaritas

In our ongoing quest to find out what goes well with grapefruit, we’re heading to Margaritaville. That’s right! It’s grapefruit Margarita time and you’ve got all access VIP tickets to the citrus bowl. With a simple tart twist, grapefruit transforms the Margarita into a mouth-puckering treat that’ll have you making ‘ooooooh’ sounds in appreciation. It’s bright, summery and as far as grapefruit cocktails go, it might just be perfect.    

4. Sea Breeze

A Sea Breeze cocktail garnished with grapefruit

Grapefruit cocktails are made for beach days, and the Sea Breeze has been surfing ahead of the pack since the 1980s. It’s a vibrant splash of grapefruit, cranberry, and vodka that hits your tongue with tart and tingling flavour. Mix it straight in the glass or serve it up in pitchers for a crowd. The Sea Breeze is one of the easiest, breeziest cocktails around, so drop in and take a ride.   

5. Hemingway Daiquiri

A Hemmingway Daiquiri

It’s debatable whether Ernest Hemingway was a professional writer with a love for drinking, or a professional drinker with a love for writing, but his influence on cocktail culture is undeniable. The Hemingway Daiquiri is one delicious example. As the story goes, it was first shaken up by the barman at El Floridita in Havana after instruction from the man himself. It’s a sugarless Daiquiri that highlights the snap of fresh grapefruit juice with a lingering bite of rum.     

6. Siesta

A Siesta Grapefruit Cocktail

Invented in 2006 by mixologist, Kate Stipe the Siesta is a tequila grapefruit cocktail with sass that’s shaken and served. It features a splash of Campari which sets off the citrus notes in the grapefruit and gives the cocktail a bittersweet finish. It has a stunning pink hue and it’s traditionally served straight up but it’s equally as good on the rocks.    

7. Greyhound

Greyhound Cocktail Recipe

Named after the famous bus service, the Greyhound cocktail is a mix of grapefruit juice, gin or vodka, and ice. It may sound simple but after a 15-hour bus trip across country over bumpy roads, it’s like sipping on nectar from the gods. For years, the bus terminal’s pitstop restaurants served them by the busload (ta-da-dish!), and they were always received with open arms by thirsty travellers.    

8. Grapefruit Shandy

Two Grapefruit Shandies

Even if you don’t like beer, there’s a good chance you’ll love a Grapefruit Shandy on a hot day. They’re up there with the most refreshing drinks ever created and couldn’t be easier to make. Squeeze a little grapefruit juice into a light beer, sweeten it up with a touch of simple syrup. We recommend a Belgian witbier or an American wheat beer to complement the citrus.    

Looking for a grapefruit summer mocktail? Try our Grapefruit Summer Spritz. 

9. Grapefruit Negroni

Grapefruit Negroni

Even though the Negroni has been around for over a hundred years, it’s never been more popular. It has actor Emma D’Arcy of House of the Dragon to thank for that, and this version puts a saucy dash of grapefruit into the mix. It has layer upon layer of fruit and herbal bitterness complemented by a bracing hit of gin. We’ve never met a Negroni that we didn’t like, and we think this is one that you’ll love.     

10. Salty Dog

Two Salty Dog Cocktails

You may not realise it, but dogs and cocktails have a lot in common. Dogs evolved and became man’s best friend in all sorts of flavours. Cocktails also evolved and nearly every cocktail today is a riff on something that has come before. The Salty Dog is a perfect example of this because it started life as a Greyhound cocktail. After a few years, it got a salt rim, and just like that the Salty Dog was born. It may seem like too small of a change to warrant a renaming but trust us, it makes a big difference. The salt rim helps temper the tartness of grapefruit and adds an umami layer to the cocktail.   

11. Grapefruit Mojito

A Grapefruit Mojito

There are many fruit riffs on the classic Mojito, but the grapefruit Mojito might be the most refreshing. The cooling flavours of the mint enhance both the tartness of lime and grapefruit’s bitter edge, while the soda water adds a bubbly body. It’s a citrus party in a glass and it’s perfect for any summer party or cocktail evening.    

12. Pink Grapefruit Martini

A Grapefruit Martini

We love a fruit Martini, and this grapefruit version takes the best of citrus, and brings it together in one elegant cocktail. Fresh grapefruit and lime juice blend with orange liqueur and vodka to create a sweet yet tart citrus explosion. For an even more complex cocktail, you can switch the vodka for a zesty gin which will add layers of herbaceous flavour.     


Even though grapefruit can be a polarising flavour, it is surprisingly versatile. It can be mixed into a fruit cocktail as a base flavour or as the star of the show. 

Grapefruit juice is great with any spirit or sparkling wine and its bold citrus flavours can create complex cocktails or simple classics like the Greyhound or a Paloma.

Grapefruit is a bitter fruit by nature so if you want to sweeten it up it’s best to use another sweeter fruit juice or simple syrup.

Grapefruit will complement all fruit flavours so be bold and blend up a cocktail of your favourite fruits and spirit.

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