The Greyhound. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

The grapefruit, as I’ve mentioned before, was my introduction to the notion of seasonal. It was 1989, I was not yet 26, and I’d moved into a little bungalow on the sweet island of Palm Beach to work on my novel. Deep into January and through February the trees in back of my hutch hung heavy with grapefruit. The best grapefruit I’d ever had. I don’t know what I was thinking before I actually saw grapefruit on trees, Cleveland boy, that I was. I suppose only that citrus grew in warm weather places pretty much year round, since I can buy them year-round.

Well, no. They have a time of year when they naturally appear and this is when you should eat them (which is now). You should also know that if you buy grapefruit in August in the U.S., it’s likely been shipped by cargo container from South Africa.

Is it wrong that it’s only Wednesday, and morning at that, that I have a Friday cocktail on my mind? My favorite vodka mixer had long been grapefruit juice—because I’m a fan of bitter. Bitter is good. But then those tangerines floated into the house and I have to say, The Robertson is one bright cocktail. This post is in praise of the grapefruit and what it taught me.

Please, now is the time—and for this cocktail, fresh grapefruit juice only. That’s what makes the drink. Squeeze it by hand if you don’t have a juicer or a reamer. It’s all about the freshness of the juice.

The Greyhound

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 3 to 4 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Wedge of lime
  1. Combine the fluids over ice in a highball glass and add a wedge of lime. It’s winter. Embrace it.

Other links you may like:

© 2016 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2016 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


8 Wonderful responses to “The Greyhound”

  • Bunny

    My kid brother uses gin, not vodka. The key ingredient is always fresh white grapefruit juice, though. There’s no substitute for fresh, hand-squeezed FL grapefruit juice. It should be extra sweet and juicy this year, as we’ve had a bit of a cold snap. Yum!

  • shannon stoney

    That used to be called a Salty Dog back in the 70s in SC. You put a little salt on the rim of the glass. To be truthful, though, we made it with canned grapefruit juice.

  • gwyn

    oh man—this zipped me back to about 10 years of my life when my go-to drink was grapefruit juice and tequila. why did i stop? can’t think of a good reason…

  • Jan

    I love this time of year, when grapefruits are about 35¢/lb. and ugli fruits are about 40¢ each (unless the vendor likes you and tosses in a couple extra)! Bring on the greyhounds and salty dogs!:-)

  • Dean

    Vodka and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice is one of my favorites. Now that it’s citrus season, good kumquats are also available. Put 3 or 4 thinly sliced kumquats in a small glass, add vodka and let it sit in the freezer for about 30 mins. It makes for a very nice drink.

  • Allen

    Discovered Tahitian grapefruit in Hawaii, great with tequila.

    For Valentine’s Day try my amendment to my own cocktail, the Misty Bush:
    1.5 oz Old Bushmills
    .5 oz blood orange juice
    .5 oz Irish mist
    Good dash of orange bitters, and Angostura
    Garnish with a blood orange slice.
    Side of dozen roses for your loved one and a great dinner.
    Cheers, happy VD!


  1.  Steak “Florentine” | Michael Ruhlman