Grapefruit Juice and Cocktails

Darcy O'Neil :: March 5, 2006 9:52 PM

grapefruitThe grapefruit is one of those fruits that you either love or couldn't be bothered with. The grapefruit is a tart and tangy tasting citrus fruits, with a slight sweetness. It isn't as popular as its cousin, the orange, but it is still quite popular, probably due to a 1930's dieting fad, called the Hollywood Diet, but eventually became the grapefruit diet plan. There are a number of cocktails that use this fruit including the ubiquitous Grey Hound and Salty Dog, but there are better drinks that express and compliment the character of this fruit. If you are not a fan of the grapefruit maybe a good cocktail will change your mind, and if you are a fan, then hopefully this will give you some more options! As a side note, there are a great number of health benefits associated with the grapefruit which I'll touch on briefly.

The grapefruit is a relatively new fruit, which was first described in the 1700's as the "forbidden fruit." Early on it was thought that the grapefruit was a spontaneous sport of the pummelo. The pummelo looks like a giant orange and tastes like a cross between a grapefruit and an orange. It has a very think skin and the fruit inside is segmented like a grapefruit, but is relatively dry and doesn't produce much juice. Anyway, it is now thought that the grapefruit is an accidental hybrid of the pummelo and the orange.

For many, the grapefruit is a pleasantly tart drink that goes well with breakfast or as a hot summer day thirst quencher. Many times, a Salty Dog is used as a hangover helper. Beyond the simple drinks, there are a great number of cocktails that can be made with grapefruit juice. The trick is to balance out the sourness with some sugar and compliment the subtle bitterness. As a kid I remember having half of a grapefruit with breakfast and always sprinkling sugar on it to make it taste better, but now I can appreciate the bitterness and sour characteristic of this fruit.

One area that has received a lot of attention lately is the health benefits of the grapefruit. In a recent study of grapefruit, a compound named naringenin was shown to help repair DNA and which may help prevent cancer. The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (vol. 17, pp. 89-95) looked at the effect of naringenin on DNA repair in human prostate cancer cell cultures (cell line LNCaP). There is also a study from Israeli researches reporting that eating red grapefruit daily, could lower blood cholesterol by 15 per cent (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry). Other researched benefits include prevention of kidney stones, protection for your eyes and helps prevent heart disease.

It should also be notes that grapefruits have a know effect with certain drugs. Anyone taking statin drugs, you know who you are, should avoid grapefruit juice. Also, grapfefruit makes certain drugs more potent. These interactive drugs include the immunosuppressent cyclosporine and calcium channel blocker drugs, such as felodipine, nifedipine and verapamil. Other drugs enhanced by grapefruit juice are the antihistamine terfenadine, the hormone estradiol and the antiviral agent saquinavir.

As usual, I will say take the health benefits with a grain of salt. All fresh fruit is good for you, so scientists may just be proving your mother right. But, if having a Floridita Daiquri is as healthy as a glass of wine, than why not mix things up.

Cocktails

Varaviso

1 oz Vanilla Vodka
½ oz Vanilla Liqueur
½ oz Lime Juice
2 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.

Hemingway Daiquiri
(aka Papa Doble Daiquiri)

1½ oz Light Rum (Havana Club)
½ oz Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.

Floridita Daiquri

1½ oz White Rum
1½ oz Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.


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