What Is Grapefruit Vodka?

Angela Farrer

Grapefruit vodka is a type of vodka that has been infused with this particular flavoring, usually in the form of prepared grapefruit extract or fresh grapefruit juice. The resulting taste is distinctively citrus, which is often a good option for vodka to use for mixing citrus-based cocktails. Some brands of grapefruit vodka have flavoring from yellow grapefruit while others have flavoring from pink or ruby grapefruit. Many popular vodka manufacturers have their own proprietary formulas for their particular brands of grapefruit vodka. In addition to purchasing ready-made vodka, the enterprising home mixologist can also make his or her own with unflavored vodka and some whole grapefruits.

Grapefruit vodka.
Grapefruit vodka.

The process of making grapefruit vodka at home is rather simple. Most home cooks recommend slicing a medium-sized grapefruit into pieces that are approximately a half-inch (about 1.27 cm) thick and steeping them in about 25 ounces (750 ml) of regular vodka. It is important to seal this mixture completely in an airtight container such as a large glass jar. The fruit juice takes an average of six days to mix sufficiently with the vodka. Once this infusion process is finished, it is important for the home bartender to strain out any remaining grapefruit pulp in order to maintain the desired flavor.

Sparkling water, which is sometimes mixed with grapefruit vodka to make drinks.
Sparkling water, which is sometimes mixed with grapefruit vodka to make drinks.

When infusing grapefruit extract into vodka, the mixture generally needs to be left at room temperature for the recommended number of days. Some types of pink grapefruit can be left to infuse for up to two weeks if a more pronounced sour grapefruit flavor is preferred. Beverage experts generally do not recommend leaving the mixture out for longer than two weeks; otherwise the grapefruit vodka may become too bitter. The original vodka bottle can provide a handy receptacle to keep the strained grapefruit vodka.

A shot of grapefruit vodka.
A shot of grapefruit vodka.

Popular grapefruit drinks with vodka include the Greyhound and modified versions of the Salty Dog and the Screwdriver. The Greyhound is traditionally a mixture of plain vodka and grapefruit juice, but there is no reason grapefruit vodka cannot be substituted for an more pronounced grapefruit flavor. For a new twist on the Salty Dog, grapefruit-infused vodka can replace gin and be combined with grapefruit juice in a glass rimmed with salt. The Screwdriver can get a flavor upgrade with this infused vodka and sometimes with a small amount of sparkling water mixed in if preferred.

A screwdriver can get a grapefruit vodka upgrade.
A screwdriver can get a grapefruit vodka upgrade.
Grapefruit juice is used to make grapefruit vodka.
Grapefruit juice is used to make grapefruit vodka.

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