I'm not a big fan of grapefruit, but going through classic whiskey cocktails means you eventually have to try the Brown Derby. Tradition has it that it was created at the Vendome Club in Hollywood, but was named after a derby hat-shaped restaurant in Hollywood called (you guessed it) the Brown Derby.
This cocktail blends whiskey (in this case bourbon), fresh grapefruit juice, and honey syrup. The resulting drink is a twist on a classic sour, and depending on the strength of the honey syrup, it can be quite sweet.
In season, fresh grapefruit juice tastes sweet and a little tart, not at all as sour as lemon juice. Since I was making this in January, the fresh grapefruit was sweet enough I could use a 1:1 honey syrup to sweeten it. It made the drink a very light sour, although, unlike a traditional sour, it's not served in a rocks glass over ice, but rather in a coupe glass, neat.
Enough talk, here's your basic recipe:
The Brown Derby
1 1/2 oz bourbon
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice (trust me, it pays off to squeeze it fresh)
1/2 oz honey syrup (see below)
3 dashes orange bitters
grapefruit slice for garnish
Combine the spirit, juice, syrup and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake for at least 30 seconds, or until well chilled. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. garnish with a grapefruit slice.
1 c honey
1 c water
Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan. Heat and stir until well combined. It should only take a few minutes to heat it up enough to fully combine. Let cool before using.
Next time, I might try and Brown Brown Derby, and make it with brown sugar simple syrup instead.
Heather Wibbels is a whiskey enthusiast (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching cocktails, making cocktails and drinking cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location. For more information about her favorite whiskey group, head over to Bourbon Women and join the women's whiskey revolution!