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Sometimes I am a bartender, finding an interesting recipe and following its directions to a tee. And other times I become a mixologist, treating my home bar like a chemistry lab. My mixology moments come when I simply want something different, or when what I just made is not satisfying, or when both these events have just happened and I’m left thirsty and frustrated.

Originally, I was just thirsty and had seen a picture that looked blue and intense. I mixed 4 ounces of gin and 1 ounce of Blue Curacao and got a beverage that looked just like the picture in the book: sparkling blue.

And it tasted like gin alone. I do like gin, but I wasn’t in a gin alone mood. I was in that “something different mood” where I wanted to taste a totally new flavor combination.

Gin is a strange beast. It is distinctive and overpowering. I could not detect one note of the Blue Curacao flavor. If you’ve tasted Blue Curacao, you know it is not subtle but here it was simply outweighed by that gin.

I recalled that I had a stash in my refrigerator: some grapefruit syrup that was an ongoing experiment, one that I was still tinkering with.

I added the grapefruit syrup and, as in any good chemistry experiment, things happened. The beverage was now what I wanted: a blend of flavor that was totally new, not too sweet, and a bit mysterious. The hard gin flavor was gone, replaced by this amalgam that was smooth and fresh. The grapefruit syrup was a honey yellow so the blue cocktail shifted to a deep turquoise.

So now my grapefruit syrup experiment is completed and it’s a success. The syrup has a home in this martini. The original intent of the syrup, which I found on the Food Network web site, is to create your own soft drink by mixing the syrup with club soda or water.

I might do that soda thing some day but for now, I’m very satisfied with gin.

I had the syrup already made here, of course. It’s a half hour job that you can do in advance. If your refrigerator has a blue grapefruit in it, toss it, sterilize the fridge and buy some fresh grapefruit. It’s a kind of chemistry thing.



Brian’s Blue Grapefruit Martini


Yield: 2 modest drinks or 1 serious one



4 ounces gin
1 ounce Blue Curacao
2 ounces Grapefruit Syrup [recipe follows]



Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled ice. Shake very vigorously until chilled. Pour into martini glasses filled with shaved ice.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Grapefruit Syrup




3 lemons, zested and juiced
3 limes, zested and juiced,
3 grapefruit, zested and juiced
1 cup of sugar


Zest then juice the fruit. Save the zest in one pile. Save all the juices in one bowl. Strain the juices into a small saucepan. Add the sugar. Heat until gently boiling.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the zest from all the fruit. Allow the liquid to cool to warm.

Strain off the zest and refrigerate until needed.

Source: Adapted by Brian O’Rourke from the recipe Citrus Syrup for Soft Drinks on the Food Network.