Brunch Libations: Lavender Grapefruit Greyhound

I like to dabble in the spirits. It’s fun to try to turn whatever is in my fridge into a cocktail. When I get my brunch to-go I’ll often whip up a cocktail and make myself a boozy brunch. Today’s brunch libation is a Lavender Grapefruit Greyhound.

Lavender Grapefruit Greyhound

This cocktail is very grapefruit forward. If you don’t like the tart and bitter flavor of grapefruit, then this cocktail isn’t for you. Grapefruit is one of those fruits I had to learn to love. I started to eat grapefruit when I learned it’s considered a “superfruit” with tons of health benefits. I had to train myself by sprinkling way too much sugar on top in order to eat it, and I reduced the amount of sugar week-by-week until I was able to eat grapefruit sugar-free. Now, I can’t get enough of it!

For this Lavender Grapefruit Greyhound, I decided to use a vodka from a local DC distillery — One Eight Distilling. I picked up this bottle of District Made Vodka on a recent tour of their distillery. But you could use any vodka you have available. The taste may vary though, and I always recommend buying your booze from local distilleries. We don’t have any local POC-owned vodka distilleries in DC, but there are a few in other cities you could consider supporting. Black Momma Vodka in New York, Loft and Bear in Los Angeles, and Du Nord Craft Spirits in Minneapolis are just a few.

Lavender Grapefruit Greyhound

Here’s what you need to make this cocktail:

  • 1/2 of a grapefruit, juiced and seeds removed
  • 1 oz lavender simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 oz vodka
  • Seltzer water, to top
  • Grapefruit rind and lavender flowers with stems, to garnish

And here’s how you make this super easy cocktail:

  1. Juice the grapefruit using a squeezer or citrus juicer and remove the seeds. You can use bottled or canned grapefruit juice if you prefer, but I like using an actual grapefruit because there’s no added sugar.
  2. Pour the grapefruit juice, lavender simple syrup, and vodka into a glass with ice. I like to use a Collins glass.
  3. Stir really well in the glass with a long spoon.
  4. Shove some slices of the grapefruit rind into the glass to make it look cute.
  5. Top with seltzer water.

Now drink it and enjoy! This cocktail is great for hot summer days on a porch. I recommend drinking it with (or as) the dessert portion of your brunch, not during.

Lavender Simple Syrup

To make the Lavender Grapefruit Greyhound, you’ll need lavender simple syrup. You can often find these at specialty shops, and if you’re in DC I’m sure you can find it at a local farmer’s market or somewhere like Union Market or Shop Made In DC. You can also find it at World Market. I prefer to make my own. It’s super easy and all you need is dried lavender, white sugar, and water. My lavender came from Cape Cod Lavender Farm, which is owned by my friend’s parents in Cape Cod.

Dried lavender and hibiscus

Making a simple syrup is one of the easiest ways to impress people with your culinary talents, and it’s probably the easiest way. To make this one you’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender

Here’s how I make my lavender simple syrup:

  1. Bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of white sugar to a low boil for about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir constantly until the sugar melts. The longer you let it boil, the thicker the syrup will become. You want it to be thin for cocktails, but thick if you plan to drizzle it on cake or ice cream.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon dried lavender to the hot sugar water for 20 minutes.
  4. Pour the liquid through a strainer to remove all of the dried lavender.
  5. Transfer the syrup liquid to a container and let it cool. It will thicken as it cools. The thickness will depend on how long you allowed it to boil.

The syrup will store in your fridge for a couple of weeks. The internet says 2 weeks, but I’ve held onto it for a month or more and lived to tell the story.

An old vodka bottle, repurposed to store syrup

And there you have it — your Lavender Grapefruit Greyhound, complete with homemade lavender simple syrup. If you have any sprigs of lavender, go ahead and toss a couple into your cocktail to feel fancy. The fragrance from the flowers will also tickle your nose every time you take a sip. You will likely have a lot of leftover syrup, which you can use in so many ways! Try adding it to your morning hot or iced coffee to make a lavender café latte, or make your own home soda by mixing some syrup with seltzer water. Drizzle it over your brunch pancakes, or over a log of goat cheese. Give some to friends. Or, make more cocktails! It’s really a tasty and impressive condiment to have in your fridge. Enjoy!

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