Friday, March 30, 2012
Pamplemousse Royal: Grapefruit Champagne Cocktail
As mentioned in the previous post, we wanted to make good use of the box of grapefruits we received from my husband's parents. As a result, for this Friday's Happy Hour we decided to make a champagne cocktail of sorts. Fascinated as we are by extraction ever since our gløgg recipe was a raving success (at least in our household), we decided to combine a bubbly with our own makeshift grapefruit liqueur.
Pamplemousse means grapefruit in French. We wanted to make something similar to a kir royal, but with a grapefruit liqueur instead of crème de cassis, which we made using grapefruit rind extracted in vodka with the added sweetness of agave syrup. As the idea for this drink was simmering in my mind, I fully employed my husband's knowledge of chemistry to work his magic in order to obtain the essence of grapefruit flavor. He did not disappoint. The flavor is fresh, infused with citrus and the requisite bitterness of grapefruit. As with kir royal, we added a little of this "liqueur" on the bottom before filling the rest of the glass with rosé sparkling wine.
I'm always hesitant to use champagne unless there is something worthwhile to celebrate. On the other hand prosecco, which is an Italian sparkling wine, and ranges from a mild fizziness to matching that of actual champagne (for trademark reasons, the word champagne is now exclusively reserved of sparkling wines of the Champagne region) is a favorite around here. But tonight we decided to try an Argentinian sparkling rosé, somehow approriately named "Curioso."
The fresh flavor of the sparkling rosé together with a juicy ruby red grapefruit seemed fitting.
Extraction is a technique long used by natural products chemists to separate interesting molecules from bulk organic matter. You can also use the process at home for more practical matters, like making a cup of tea, or preparing the grapefruit-infused cocktail we describe here. Extraction and alcohol go hand-in-hand, since the alcohol readily absorbs all the good natural oils that give many spices and fruits their flavor and aroma. In this recipe, you can use the grapefruit liqueur to flavor champagne, prosecco, or sparking wine.
You will need:
1 bottle pink bubbly
3 oz vodka
1 oz agave syrup
1. To prepare the liqueur: Remove the peel from the grapefruit. With a sharp knife, carefully slice off and discard the white layer, saving only the outer rind. Slice the rind into short and narrow strips, and place these in a large measuring cup. Add the vodka, and muddle thoroughly with a wooden pestle. For best results, let the mixture stand for 5-10 minutes. Decant (pour off) the liquid into another cup and then add the agave syrup. (Adjust the amount of agave syrup to account for the sweetness of the grapefruit.) Stir well, and cover until ready to use.
2. To prepare the drink: Pour a small amount of liqueur into an appropriate glass. Fill the remainder with pink bubbly. Cheers.