We’re nearing the end of our time in California but before we left I had to share with you a bit of the citrus-inspired cocktails we’ve been sipping while here.
First there’s the perfected Whiskey Sour that my dad has been working on ever since they came to Palm Desert and became the proud owners of a booming lemon tree. The branches hang heavy with large fruit so, in order to ease their load, I pluck the biggest lemons and walk a few feet from the trunk into the kitchen. One of these lemons provides more than enough juice for one Sour. This classic cocktail goes down easy when mixed with smokey whiskey and a bit of simple syrup.
The next cocktail comes from the grapefruit tree resting comfortably in between the neighbor’s house and my parent’s. Being from Washington I’m used to seeing trees loaded with apples but for me citrus is only available in the grocery store. I will buy the little oranges with their leaves still attached just to feel more connected to its origin. Now I find myself contemplating leaving my clothes and stuffing my suitcase with all the citrus I’ve picked. The first to get tucked into the case would be the grapefruit. I had little hope for them as I reached to grab one from the tree and felt a tough skin with little give. But as I cut into the bright yellow exterior the inside glowed a soft pink, the juice ran freely and the sweetness overwhelmed. I take it as a sign that I’ve reached adulthood now that I now longer take my grapefruit with sugar covering its entire surface. Or maybe I just needed to have great grapefruit. My next thought was tequila and then the grapefruit margarita was born.
In two short days we’ll be back to the rain and cold and back to driving to the store for my citrus fix but I think I’ve consumed enough vitamin C (and tequila) to keep me satisfied for quite some time.
This is the recipe my dad came up with after trying many variations. He doesn’t use the best whiskey, the sugar in his simple syrup isn’t fully dissolved and he rarely measures and yet, it’s one of the best cocktails I’ve had. Nice work, dad.
1 part whiskey
1 part simple syrup
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
Combine this all in a martini glass with crushed ice. Garnish with sliced lemon or a twirl of the peel.
My dad thinks they are best served with a good cigar (or a cheap one, he adds).
1 part grapefruit juice
1 part tequila
1/2 part Cointreau
Salt the rim of a margarita glass and add the ingredients. Stir and then add ice. Garnish with a thin slice of grapefruit.