Simple Drinks: Blushing Betty Cocktail

Liz Clayman

Growing up in the Bay Area instilled in me the culinary celebration of the seasonal. I find it sort of funny, because the landscape on the West Coast doesn't show its season nearly as dramatically or colorfully as the East Coast, where I've lived since I was 18. And it's the difference in the seasons that drives me even more strongly to eat according to what the seasons are offering up. The trees turn color and I want apples. The warm, long days of summer make me eat drip-down-the-forearm-juicy plums. And when winter comes round, and the smorgasbord of different citrus flood the markets, I feast on clementines, Cara Cara oranges, and kumquats. I am in Vitamin C heaven.

For all the popularity of citrus, grapefruits are strangely polarizing—either you love 'em or you hate 'em. I go through waves of craving them: ruby red juice; pale pink jewel-like supremes in salads and ceviche; cocktails! That slightly sweet juicy flesh plays against the white bitter membrane and pith. I like cutting the fruit in half, lightly sprinkling the cut side with sugar and slipping it under the broiler for a minute or two, then carving out the segments with a spoon.

In this simple cocktail, both the raw qualities and the potentially caramelized qualities of grapefruit are celebrated. Bourbon adds a subtle toasty-sweet note, balancing out the fruit's tartness and bitterness. It's just the thing to drink while we wait for strawberry season.