… from the Happy Hour Bar
How you doin’? It’s Friday and time for another Home Happy Hour Cocktail. The Ruby Red Pink Grapefruit Martini is a wonderful refreshing cocktail with a slightly tart edge.
When I was first hired as a consultant to the original Hollywood Brown Derby, Sally Cobb was trying to give me a crash history lesson into everything “Brown Derbish.” We started in the cocktail lounge when the bartender handed me a namesake drink—the Brown Derby. I asked Sally what it was and she insisted, “Try it, you’ll like it—then I’ll tell you.”
I first took a sip but then dove in. It was intriguing and satisfying. I felt the tartness of the grapefruit hit my tongue, with a slight burn from the bourbon that gently gave way to a smooth honeyed heat that lingered long after. It was good, very good. I asked again what it was I was drinking and she replied, “The Brown Derby.”
It’s interesting how some drinks become so entrenched in cocktail lore. Bartenders everywhere are mixing, shaking and stirring up living history every night, many from decades passed. The Brown Derby is one of those cocktails. While the original was a combination of bourbon, grapefruit and honey, history tells us that this particular cocktail was invented at the Vendome Club in Hollywood in the early 1930’s and was named after the famous hat-shaped restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard—The Brown Derby, of course. In those days, the Brown Derby was a popular celebrity hangout, the place to be and be seen. A place where actors came in still wearing today’s on-camera make-up.
Regardless of the cocktail’s origins it’s a classic worth re-visiting. The bourbon merges nicely with the honeyed grapefruit base giving the drink depth and structure. The beauty of this drink is in its simplicity, no fancy liqueurs or hard-to-find ingredients, just pure clean flavors.
But wait! I decided to mix it up a bit and try whiter liquors and gave both vodka and gin a shot. I mixed up a kind of Brown Derby cocktail last week that only makes me wonder why it took me so long.
I do declare, this pretty-in-pink cocktail is sophisticated and refreshing. Yes, real men do, Drink Pink!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 drinks
5 ounces gin or vodka (neutral-flavored)
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice
3/4 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon vermouth
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Garnish with a couple of pink grapefruit wedges
ChefSecret: You can also make this drink poured over ice cubes served in a rocks glass.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: I visited a monastery last Sunday. As I walked by the kitchen, I saw a man frying chips. I asked him, “are you the friar?” He replied, “No I’m the chip monk!”
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