5 Ways to Add Grapefruit to Your Empress 1908 Cocktails!

Highlight our botanical recipe with delicious grapefruit!

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve probably seen how much we love using grapefruit in our cocktails. Now, why is that? Empress 1908 Indigo Gin features the peels as one of its eight natural botanicals, making it the perfect cocktail ingredient to really showcase the beauty of our gin!

Gin often pairs well with citrus as the brightness of the fruit complements the fresh notes in juniper. While you’ll usually see lemon and orange in the spirit, we fell in love with the extra dimension grapefruit offers; its bittersweetness and layer of brightness makes our recipe especially unique.

Without further ado, let’s explore the different ways you can incorporate this lovely citrus fruit into your cocktails at home!

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  1. Garnish
  2. Juice
  3. Soda
  4. Sorbet
  5. Oleo Saccharum

1. Garnish 🍊⇩

Let’s start off simple with a grapefruit garnish! We tend to do this in two ways: a slice or a twist. Both are wonderful choices that can be used for different purposes. A slice is more fun and dynamic and when placed into the drink itself, it can impart a touch of juice for subtle layers of flavour. A twist (especially with the oils expressed) tends to be more elegant while providing an incredibly crisp aroma when you bring the glass up to take a sip.

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2. Juice 🧃 ⇩

We love adding grapefruit juice to our summer cocktails to lengthen the flavour while also making it oh-so refreshing! You might find it tastes slightly more sophisticated than other juices like orange or pineapple— grapefruit juice offers tang and bitterness, resulting in a delightfully complex sip.


The Spicy Greyhound by @cooking_with_wine is a delightful twist on a classic grapefruit cocktail!

  • 2 oz Empress 1908 Indigo Gin
  • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Half-Sweet Simple Syrup (1:2)
  • ⅛ tsp Cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Thinly Sliced Jalapeño

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. (Option to shake with a few jalapeño slices for extra heat!) Fine strain into a lowball glass with a large-format ice cube. Garnish with a thin slice of jalapeño and serve.

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3. Soda! ✨ ⇩

Grapefruit Soda has a similar effect to juice, but with some extra sweetness and effervescence! This is especially perfect for a hot summer day when you absolutely need to quench your thirst.


No need to get complicated here― simply add some grapefruit soda (We love Fever-Tree’s version) to 2 oz of Empress 1908 for a refreshing Pink Empress!


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4. Sorbet! 🍧 ⇩

To further elevate your grapefruit creations, sorbet is a summer staple that, when incorporated into cocktails, takes presentation and refreshment to another level. Frozen and fun, this is perfect for keeping you cool with a mix of whimsy and elegance.


Have you ever had an elevated float? Mix up the Royal Holiday by @moodymixologist!

  • 2 scoops grapefruit & rosewater sorbet*
  • 1½ oz Empress 1908 Indigo Gin
  • Champagne, to top

Build in a wine glass. Garnish with a rose petal and a sprig of mint.

  1. Combine 1 cup of sugar and ½ of hot water and stir until all of the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool fully.
  2. Meanwhile, juice 2-3 red grapefruits (1½ cups juice). Strain any pulp from the juice and add it to the cooled sugar syrup.
  3. Add ½ tsp rosewater and stir to combine. Transfer the liquid to a loaf pan and freeze for 4 hours, scraping with a fork or blending with a blender every 30 minutes to 1 hour.

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5. Oleo Saccharum! 💧 ⇩

Finally, mixing up an Oleo Saccharum is a great way to use up citrus peels if you often find yourself throwing them away. Roughly meaning “oil sugar,” this concoction is made by macerating the peels in sugar to draw out the oils for a rich, tangy, and sweet syrup. Check out the recipe for how to make it below:

  • 3 Large Red Grapefruits
  • Granulated Sugar, to cover
  • ¼ cup Hot Water (optional)

With a peeler, cut out the peel of your grapefruit with as little pith as possible and add to a container. Feel free to simply cover the peels in sugar, but you can also measure an equal amount by weight. Mix the peel and sugar mixture and give it a bit of a muddle to get the oil extraction started. Cover and let rest for at least 12 hours. Strain out the syrup and optionally add hot water to the undissolved sugar and mix. Add to syrup, seal in container, and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Wondering where you should use this syrup? Try the Royal Bramble by @highproofpreacher!

  • 2 oz Empress 1908 Indigo Gin
  • ½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Grapefruit Oleo Saccharum
  • ¾ oz Crème de Mûre
  • Fresh Blackberry, for garnish

Combine gin, lemon juice, and oleo saccharum in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed or pebble ice. Drizzle the top with crème de mûre and garnish with a skewered blackberry. Optional: cover the blackberry in edible gold leaf for the royal touch.

Fun fact! While you may have been seeing oleo saccharum in cocktails only recently, it’s actually quite a historical ingredient, notable for being used in punch recipes in the 18th century.

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We hope this provided some insight as to why we love grapefruit so much. These tips were just to get you started, but feel free to get even more creative!

For more cocktail inspiration, you know where to look: check out our Instagram, Cocktail Page, or Blog!

Sip responsibly!

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