Grapefruit Margarita

Grapefruit Margarita -
It’s citrus season but of course in Colorado that’s a moot point. I am fortunate though to have two groups of Snow Bird relations who nest in more temperate citrus regions to wait out the Northern winter’s cold hold on their primary homeland. This leads to unexpected citrus care packages.

On a very gray windy day last week a large white box announcing ‘Sunshine From Florida’ arrived care of my local Fed Ex guy. Four large trays of grapefruit and oranges were safely tucked inside. When cutting open the first grapefruit for breakfast the aroma caused instant mouth-watering; fresh, tart and teasing of warm weather. Against the gray palette of yet another windy day, it truly was like the sun came out.

My earliest recollection of growing citrus fruits was from a set of California grandparents who had a few established trees in their small, well-manicured Oakland backyard. I loved their yard. The beds were bordered with hand set bricks. The grass was always thick and lush, seeming to need nothing other than the natural California sunshine and moisture to thrive. The crowning jewels were the orange and grapefruit trees. When I was fortunate to visit when the trees were in bloom the perfume of the blossoms was almost overwhelming. Even as a small child I loved to sit at their rickety wooden picnic table, underneath an aged wooden lattice woven with grape vines and just inhale. The sweetness of a citrus blossom is intoxicating to say the very least.

Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice -

One of the pure joys of citrus season has to be enjoying freshly squeezed juice! In my pile of magazine recipes was one for an untried Grapefruit Margarita. Despite parting the holidays sure I’d never crave another cocktail, the moisture vacancy of our Colorado winter has left me parched and thinking there could not be anything more thirst quenching than this!

Grapefruit Margarita -

Grapefruit Margarita

Yield: 1 cocktail (can be multiplied for larger quantities)


  • 2 ounces tequila (preferably Silver)
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur (I used Citronage which is mid range between Cointreau and Triple Sec; any can be used)
  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • ¾ ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Garnish suggestion: wedges of grapefruit and slices of lime


  1. Salting a glass rim: Pour a generous amount of coarse salt into a shallow plate larger than the rim of the glass to be salted. Cut a very shallow line in thin wedge of a lime (about 1/8 inch long). Place the cut on the lime wedge onto the rim of the glass and gently run it the entire perimeter of the glass rim. Turn glass over, place into salt, gently wiggle it back and forth and remove. This should have produced a perfectly lined rim of salt!
  2. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice. Shake and pour into a stemmed glass with salted rim* over ice.
  3. Alternative method for a larger batch: the original recipe suggests mixing all ingredients in an ice filled pitcher (I’d put the ice in after mixing) and pouring into glasses from the pitcher.


Adapted from In Style magazine (2006)

Grapefruit Margarita -
The best way to segment a perfect grapefruit half is with a Grapefruit Knife. With its double sided, serrated edges and gently bent end, the knife makes easy swift pieces. Just run the knife along the inside of each segment side then make a full circle of the outside perimeter between the edge of the segments and the peel. They lift out effortlessly especially if using a pointed end Grapefruit Spoon.


  1. says

    This whole post is a ray of sunshine for the middle of Winter blahs. Love the photos Toni. And yes, I think I'm feeling a little parched myself, that cocktail sounds wonderful.

  2. says

    I'll bring the grapefruit pound cake, you bring the margaritas, ok? I love citrus and I adore grapefruit. This looks fantastic, but of course, everything you make always does. Pinned, stumbled, and everything else I can think of!

    • says

      I was just thinking of you this morning! Grapefruit pound cake?! That sounds fantastic! I have not ever heard of one being made from grapefruit. We must talk. Thanks for the publicity!

  3. says

    I used to hate grapefruits when I was a kid. But I just had one the other day and it was like I fell in love for the first time! It was so friggin good! So I'm sure this margarita would be 100x better too =)

    • says

      My recollection was having powdered sugar put on my grapefruit halves as a kid. I'm sure to cover up a very tart variety but that seems like the weirdest combination now; like drinking grapefruit juice after brushing your teeth. They just don't go together!

  4. says

    That looks like possibly the most refreshing cocktail ever. I'm craving citrus everything lately…it must be the dull winter weather. I'm not sure I could do the locavore thing here in Calgary, I need fresh fruit…maybe even more so in the winter months. How do you do it? I applaud your efforts, and lucky you to have generous relatives in the South!

    • says

      When I did my real locavore challenge where nothing passed my lips were it not from within 100 miles the only fruit I had from November until almost June (other than a citrus care package that I've never been so glad to see in my life) were apples, pears and any frozen fruits I'd picked from the summer.

      Now for fear of scurvy amongst other potential deficiencies I will purchase fruit occaisionally but only in season varieties. Candidly I thought freezing summer fruits for winter was the best idea ever but when winter comes I don't want them. I think I'm so seasonally conditioned now I only want what is in season WHEN it is in season. I'm not a big fruit eater in the winter anyway but this citrus really hits the spot. As does this cocktail!

    • says

      I only like fruity drinks that are not overly sweet. This cocktail hit the spot for me I think due to the acid from the citrus really keeping it from becoming overly sweet and making it so refreshing. I think using freshly squeezed juice or fresh purchased juice (preferably organic) with no added sweetener lends itself best to the end result.

    • says

      I agree Stephanie. I've really begun to stir clear of Triple Sec opting for Citronage or Cointreau instead. I feel they deliver the orange flavor without the sugar which makes a difference too.

  5. says

    Oh my goodness how lucky are you. I would love some citrus from the fed ex dude. This is wonderful and so fresh looking. So pretty too. Your posts make me wish I could have alcohol. Lol!

  6. says

    I don't know if I want an unadorned grapefruit half for breakfast or a margarita! What nice memories of your grandparents. I think I will call my relatives in TX and ask for some grapefruits to be shipped pronto!

    • says

      Maybe you should have both! I suppose a Margarita for breakfast, even one with fresh juice like this one, it a bit much! My relatives in Arizona send me the flat rate USPS Priority Mail boxes full of citrus from their trees. It's pretty affordable for them and absolutely celebrated by me; maybe your Texas relations would do the same for you!

  7. says

    What a beautiful cocktail! I'll give this a try. My next door neighbor has a grapefruit tree in full production mode right now. We had a huge grapefruit tree and orange tree but we lost them to hurricane Wilma:( Only my Mango Tree prevailed. I hope to plant more citrus soon… one of the best reasons for living in paradise. I'm happy that you posted a cocktail again!! Great photos, Toni!

    • says

      I left you a comment about your beautiful tart this morning and commented on my envy for your homegrown fruits! There is something very special about harvesting food from your own yard. What do you do with all your mangos? You probably have the warm weather to sit OUT and enjoy one of these Margaritas right now. Unlike me who will be nestled in a hardy down parka and Ugg boots…and certainly not sipping outdoors!

  8. Mr. Mixology says

    Now we are talking! When life hands you grapefruits, make grapefruit margaritas!
    My twist on the salted rim is to go 50/50 sugar and salt. Makes a nice juxtaposition!

    • says

      Funny you suggest that. I pulled out some rimming sugar but when I tasted it, it seemed too sweet with this drink. I also thought of mixing it with salt but did not. Will have to try this next time. My only fear would be if the rim is too sweet it would pull out the tart notes from the grapefruit and change the flavor of the margarita but I'm all in favor of trying it. Thanks!

    • says

      Sara you sound like me with beets! Some partnerships are just not meant to be. BUT before you give up on grapefruit, give this margarita a try. It may get you over the hump (moreso than a Beet Margarita would for me).

    • says

      I completely agree on the sweet margaritas. They taste like a ticket on the Hangover Express to me. The citrus definitely cuts the sweetness and Citronage is not as sweet as Triple Sec but still tastes of orange.

  9. says

    Oh, I ate grapefruit this morning fresh from our trees out back here in Central Florida. We have a number of grapfruit and orange trees, ripe and ready for picking. Who would have thought to make a grapefruit margarita? I am going for this at cocktail time, I have on my shorts and tank top already. I saw the other comment on mangos, I had one growing but two years in a row we actually had a freeze and it died. That really saddeded me, I love mangos. They grow best in South Florida. I hope you stay warm there in Colorado. We got married in Copper Mountain during the winter, it was lovely.

    • says

      By comparison Suzi I'll share with you that I'm wearing jeans, a long sleeved shirt, Ugg boots, have the heat turned up extra high as well as the gas fire on and am considering a hot bath in my head. It's snowing off and on, which admittedly I love about living here. It's almost unfathomable that someone is existing in the conditions (and attire) you’ve described! I love South Florida by the way. Used to travel there quite a bit on business. Loved the Bohemian nature of Key West. Have to admire any place that maintains it has seceded from the Union.

  10. says

    Hi Toni-Just stopped over, after seeing you comment on Kirsten's blog! Your grapfruit margarita is amazing, and so pretty! Never tried a grapefruit margarita, and to think that I eat half a pink grapefruit every morning, since we have our citrus season in full bloom, in South Florida. I also have such fond memories of my aunt-and-uncle's citrus trees in their back yard including grapefruit trees. Since they passed away, and house sold, a decade ago…new owners are not taking care of the citrus trees…sad!

    Love your spectacular photos, but mostly the refreshing grapefruit margarita!

    • says

      Hi Elisabeth! So glad you stopped by. I envy you your citrus season….and your temperate weather that goes with it! I definitely associate my half grapefruits with my Californian grandparents and have my Grandmother's silver grapefruit spoons. Love the simple, everyday reminders. Must be hard to see the citrus trees of your Aunt and Uncle suffering in neglect. A loss for the new property owners too to miss out on the beautiful fruit opportunity.


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