Trust us, you want a pamplemousse cocktail—even if you have no idea what pamplemousse means. It happens to be the French word for “grapefruit,” and in the cocktail world, refers to grapefruit liqueur. Since orange liqueur is a mixology staple, used in everything from margaritas to Sidecars and beyond, why shouldn’t grapefruit liqueur be just as versatile?
For these drinks, we’re using Combier’s Pamplemousse Rose, a current bartender obsession. Made from ripe, red grapefruit, it’s juicy and fruity and strikes a great balance between tart and sweet. It’s tasty with just ice and soda, but even tastier mixed into cocktails. Here are three we’re really into.
Easy: Pamplemousse & Bubbles
Fruit liqueur + bubbles = an ideal brunch cocktail. (After trying this equation out with several dozen fruit liqueurs, we have yet to find an exception.) With a cocktail this simple, use a good French sparkling wine.
Instructions: In a champagne flute or coupe, combine 1 ounce pamplemousse and 4-5 ounces French sparkling wine. Garnish with a long grapefruit peel — twisting the peel over the top of the drink to spray its citrus oils all over.
If you’ve never had a Paloma, you’ve been missing out. The tequila-grapefruit soda sipper is about as easy-drinking as they come. Here, we’re dressing it up a little with pamplemousse, a logical and tasty addition.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of blanco tequila, 3/4 ounce of fresh grapefruit juice, 1/2 ounce of pamplemousse, and a 1/4 ounce of agave syrup (equal parts agave and hot water, stirred together until dissolved). Shake all that up until well-chilled and strain into a tall glass with ice. Top with two ounces of grapefruit soda and garnish with grapefruit wedges.
Advanced: Brown Derby Redux
A classic Brown Derby is a simple sour of bourbon, grapefruit, and honey — it’s an excellent candidate for pamplemousse. Since the liqueur is on the sweeter side, we’re using a higher-proof bourbon here, Wild Turkey 101, so the whiskey can really cut through the grapefruit and honey.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces Wild Turkey 101, 1 ounce of fresh grapefruit juice, 1/2 ounce of pamplemousse, and 1/4 ounce of honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water, stirred together until dissolved). Add a dash of orange bitters. Shake all that up until well-chilled and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with grapefruit wedges.