This post was last updated on May 9, 2021 by India
This Grapefruit Bourbon Cocktail pairs bourbon with fresh grapefruit juice, maple syrup, and a dash of bitters! it’s a citrusy cocktail that is both fun to make and drink!
About The Old FAshioned Maple Brown Derby
The Old Fashioned Maple Brown Derby is a fun mash up on the traditional Old Fashioned mixed with a Brown Derby. This cocktail is bourbon forward cocktail with a little zip from the fresh grapefruit juice. Maple syrup compliments the caramel notes in the bourbon and bitters add a little depth. Add a cocktail cherry if you’re so inclined and serve this cocktail in an elegant coupe or martini glass for a little bit of glam!
I can’t get enough of this grapefruit bourbon cocktail in the early spring months when warmer weather is so close, but there is still some snow on the ground. It’s the perfect balance between fresh and cozy. I hope you love this drink as much as I do!
What’s in a traditional Brown Derby?
The Brown Derby (also known as the De Rigueur Cocktail) is a 1930s cocktail made with three simple ingredients: bourbon, honey syrup, and fresh grapefruit juice. It can be served on the rocks, though more traditionally this cocktail is served shaken and strained into a coupe or martini glass. Variations of the Brown Derby typically include lemon juice or herbs like rosemary.
What’s in a traditional Old Fashioned
An Old Fashioned is one of the most common and traditional cocktails that dates back to the 1800s. It’s made with whiskey (either bourbon or rye), sugar, aromatic bitters and sometimes a splash of water. It’s traditionally served in a rocks glass with a large cocktail ice cube and garnished with an orange peel and a maraschino cocktail cherry. I love a good Old Fashioned so much that we made Maple Orange Old Fashions as our wedding cocktail!
This Maple Old Fashioned Maple Brown Derby borrows elements from both traditional cocktails: grapefruit from the Brown Derby and bitters and the cherry from the Old Fashioned. It’s a fun way to mix up your usual cocktail if you typically reach for an Old Fashioned.
Ingredients in This Old Fashioned Maple Brown Derby
This grapefruit bourbon cocktail has a short and sweet ingredient list and only uses 5 ingredients:
Bourbon. You could substitute whiskey or rye, but I prefer the smooth notes of vanilla and caramel in bourbon.
Grapefruit juice. Grapefruit and bourbon are a match made in flavor heaven. I squeeze my grapefruit fresh and strain it in a fine mesh strainer to remove the pulp.
Maple syrup. To slightly sweeten and bridge the gap between tart grapefruit and warm bourbon. You could use a honey syrup if you prefer (like a traditional Brown Derby cocktail), but I prefer maple syrup because it mixes easily in the drink, and the flavor complements both the grapefruit and bourbon in this cocktail.
Bitters. I use Angostura orange bitters.
Maraschino cherry. Totally optional, maraschino cocktail cherries are such a fun treat in any cocktail. I use these Traverse City Whiskey Company cocktail cherries. I love the size of these cherries and they’re just straight delicious! I’ll steal some from the jar when I need a mid-day sweet treat. Luxardo is the original maraschino cocktail cherry and another great option.
Which Bourbon to Use
My go-to bourbon is Four Roses. It’s easy to find, affordable, and downright delectable! We keep their Small Batch bourbon on hand at all times.
Is Bourbon Gluten Free
Even though whiskey and bourbon are made from gluten-containing grains like rye and barley, the Celiac Disease Foundation considers them gluten free because the gluten protein is removed during the distillation process (source). There may still be very trace amounts that some individuals react to.
Additionally, any additives or flavorings added after distillation may contain gluten.
Reservoir Distillery in Richmond Virginia makes a bourbon whiskey made from 100% corn mash and is a good option for those looking for a whiskey made without any gluten-containing ingredients.
What tools you need to make this Grapefruit Bourbon Cocktail
You don’t need much to make a good cocktail, here is the equipment I like to have on hand to make a good drink a little easier to shake:
- Cocktail shaker. Use whichever style cocktail shaker you prefer! I love this Boston style shaker by Crafthouse Fortessa. It’s leakproof and has a classic look I love.
- Jigger. I consider this an essential item for any at-home bartender! I love this one by Crafthouse Fortessa with lines for precise measurements and an easy to pour spout.
- Fine mesh strainer. I use a fine mesh strainer to filter the pulp from the grapefruit juice. It’s an extra step, but worth it to give a nice smooth cocktail!
- Cocktail strainer. To catch the ice when you pour the finished cocktail into the glass. I use this one that matches my shaker and jigger.
- Citrus reamer. To juice the grapefruit.
- Coupe glass. Or a martini glass. Or whatever glass you like! I love the Wolcott Optic coupe from Crate and Barrel!
How to Make this Grapefruit Bourbon Cocktail
This grapefruit bourbon cocktail is very simple to make! Here’s how to do it in three easy steps:
- Shake. Add all the ingredients, except the cherry, to a cocktail shaker and shake to combine.
- Strain. Using a cocktail strainer, strain into a coupe glass.
- Serve. Garnish with a cocktail cherry, if using, and serve!
Want more cocktail recipes? Check out these other favorites:
DID YOU MAKE THIS Old Fashioned Maple Brown Derby (Grapefruit Bourbon Cocktail) RECIPE?
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Old Fashioned Maple Brown Derby (Grapefruit Bourbon Cocktail)
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1 oz grapefruit juice
- 1/4 oz maple syrup
- 1 dash bitters
- 1 maraschino cherry
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the bourbon, grapefruit juice, maple syrup, and bitters.
Shake well to combine. Strain into a coupe glass.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve.