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martini «

Holiday Cocktailing


Here in the Napa Valley, we drink a lot of wine.

But sometimes we just want a cocktail.

While Tom always sticks with the classics, I sometimes find a Gin & Tonic or a Crown & Seven just too boring. So, I’ve been through my Cosmopolitan phase, my Mango Mojito phase and my fruit Margarita phase. All are great cocktails–don’t get me wrong–but each can get, well, boring.

Enter the annual holiday fruit shipment from my folks.

Every December, they mail a big box of luscious, top-quality citrus fruits from a specialty grower out of Texas. The oranges glisten, the Ruby Red grapefruits titillate.

Two years ago, we had an epiphany and juiced some of the grapefruits. Not for breakfast mind you, but rather for use in making cocktails.

But here I must interject that I’ve never been a fan of the grapefruit. And I still am not. Except for these grapefruits. Especially this grapefruit juice in cocktails.

Well, this past weekend when I walked out to the front porch and spied the tell-tale holiday gift box, we grabbed the vodka, the cocktail shaker and the martini glasses.

While a cocktail made from grapefruit juice and vodka is called a Greyhound and is typically served on the rocks in a collins glass–we happen to have fancy new Riedel martini glasses we haven’t yet used much, so we’ve been serving them up this year. I am not certain this should still be called a Greyhound. If any of you cocktail purists would like to comment, that space is below.

So by the name of Greyhound or just Vodka & Grapefruit, this is the best holiday cocktail. Ever.

To get started, take a ripe Ruby Red grapefruit (you can try that pale yellow variety that you’ll find year-round in the grocery store, but it won’t be as good) and juice it.

If you’ve never juiced a fruit by hand before, it’s easy. Just cut it in half, then squeeze each half over a strainer propped across a bowl.

Tom likes to use a reamer. It is just an inexpensive little wooden gadget available in most any kitchen store.

Be sure to squeeze over the strainer so you don’t get seeds or pulp in your juice. You can run the squeezed-juice through the stainer a second time if need be.

Fill your cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in one shot of vodka* to four parts juice (you’ll acheive this ratio, roughly, with the juice from one large fruit).

Shake well. Strain into your martini glass. Makes one cocktail.

Lift glass to mouth, with pinky finger extended.

Happy Holiday Cocktailing…


*When mixing vodka with such a flavorful juice as this, you don’t need to use those super-expensive vodkas–something mid-range like Skyy works fine. 

“If more of us valued cheer, food and song above hoarded gold–it would be a merrier world.”  ~J.R. Tolkein


May your holiday and the year to come be merry and bright!