january 9, 2015
When there is a chilly bite in the air, it’s time for winter citrus. I enjoy lemon in my summertime tea, and lime juice in warm weather salsas and salads, but winter is when the perfume of pink grapefruits, tangerines, Meyer lemons and blood oranges is at peak and best enjoyed.
My goal is to incorporate citrus zest, juice and flesh into each meal course, from that first sip of cocktail to the last bite of dessert. And so, a cocktail that showcases ruby red grapefruit, with fresh mint, gold rum and the kiss of heat from hot pepper sauce.
For a breakfast drink or alcohol-free gathering, omit the rum and double the juice. Refrigerated pink or red grapefruit juice is acceptable and convenient, but if you are able, splurge for the real deal. Serve salty snacks like smoky rosemary roasted pecans, or crudités and crackers with dilled veggie goat cheese spread or herbed mushroom spread. Oysters in leek cream would perfectly complement this lively citrus punch.
The basic mix of juice, sugared mint and hot sauce may be made in larger quantities and up to one week ahead. Add rum just before serving over ice and start your meal with winter’s fragrant bounty.
Spicy Grapefruit Mint Cocktail
makes one cocktail – may be made in larger quantities
one tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh mint
½ tablespoon superfine sugar
2 ounces pink or red grapefruit juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
½ teaspoon hot sauce of your choice
2 ounces gold rum
optional garnish : fresh mint leaves, pink grapefruit zest
- Crush mint with superfine sugar using mortar and pestle or muddling device until both are well combined and sugar appears melted.
- Combine sugared mint, grapefruit juice and hot sauce, stirring well until sugar is completely melted.
- Strain mixture to remove solids and use immediately or chill in refrigerator.
- This mixture, especially if made in larger quantities, may be made up to one week ahead.
- Add rum to juice mixture and pour over ice.
- Garnish with fresh mint or grapefruit zest as desired.