SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT COCKTAILS

Since we are all settled into the New Year, I think it’s time to start thinking about dinner parties! Wait, is that just me? I love hosting dinner parties, whether it’s for our families, friends or a night with just the girls. Maybe it’s because I enjoy creating dinner menus and testing out a few new recipe ideas on my friends. Most times these ideas work but we’ve had some epic fails in the past year especially in the cocktail arena. So this year, I am stepping up my homemade bartender skills with a series of fresh fruit cocktails!

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Winter citruses are one of the best things about a season that is filled with cold, comfort foods, and boots. I decided to highlight winter fruits for our first dinner party of the season and will be featuring juicy grapefruits, bold red blood oranges and tangerines all across the menu. For the cocktails, I chose grapefruit because the sweet and (soft) bitter taste is just enough to make these cocktails a not-so girly option.

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I used the wonderful KitchenAid™ Sparkling Beverage Maker powered by SodaStream® to easily whip up a few cocktails at home. The sparkling beverage maker makes sparkling water (or soda water) in an instant, and it’s easy to refill, so you will never run out.

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Having several options available for your friends and family is always an easy way to get people moving, involved and interacting. For these cocktails, I made a variety of simple syrups to go alongside the main grapefruit theme. Simple syrup is one of the best ways to add flavors to a cocktail without bringing in more fruits or liqueur.

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To make, just simply boil together water and sugar until the sugar is melted. Cook for a few minutes until it reduces in volume. Remove from heat and steep in your flavor of choice. I went with rosemary and ginger.

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Having two different syrups makes it fun for people to create their own cocktails. With a few more choices like fresh grapefruits, fresh blood orange slices and ginger everyone can create a cocktail they will love.

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Add your selections to a glass, add some ice and top with sparkling water. It’s as easy as that!

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I hope you will try some of these tips to make your next dinner party a breeze!

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Sparkling Grapefruit Rosemary Cocktail

INGREDIENTS

For simple syrup
Makes 1/2 cup

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves

For sparkling grapefruit rosemary cocktail
Makes 2 servings (double or triple for a crowd)

A handful of peeled grapefruit (~1 tablespoon)
A sprig of rosemary
2 ounces vodka
1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
3-4 ice cubes
2 ounces simple rosemary syrup, more to taste
1 cup sparkling water

DIRECTIONS

For simple syrup

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until syrup reduces to about 1/2 cup.

Remove from heat and stir in the rosemary. Let steep in syrup for at least 20 minutes, or until cool. Strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove rosemary leaves.

Store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to a week.

For sparkling grapefruit rosemary cocktail

In a tall glass, add the grapefruit and rosemary sprig. Muddle gently to break up grapefruit. Add the vodka, grapefruit juice, ice and simple rosemary syrup to the glass. Top off with sparkling water and stir. Add more simple rosemary syrup to taste. Enjoy immediately!

Note: for a mocktail, simply omit the vodka and add a few more tablespoons of the grapefruit juice.

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Sparkling Grapefruit Ginger-Orange Spritzer

INGREDIENTS

For simple syrup
Makes 1/2 cup

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon freshly sliced ginger

For Sparkling Grapefruit Ginger-Orange Spritzer
Makes 2 servings (double or triple for a crowd)

2 ounces bourbon
2 blood orange slices
2-3 slices of fresh ginger
1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
2 tablespoons simple ginger syrup, or to taste
3-4 ice cubes
Sparkling water, to top

DIRECTIONS

For simple syrup

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until syrup reduces to about 1/2 cup.

Remove from heat and stir in the ginger. Let steep in syrup for at least 20 minutes, or until cool. Strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove ginger.

Store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to a week.

For Sparkling Grapefruit Ginger-Orange Spritzer

Coat the rim of two glasses with pink grapefruit sugar or salt (optional). Combine all the ingredients, except the ice cubes and sparkling water in a large cup. Mix well. Divide into two glasses with ice. Top with sparkling water and mix to combine. Taste and add more simple ginger syrup if needed.

Note: for a mocktail, simply omit the bourbon and add a few more tablespoons of the blood orange juice.

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