I love grapefruits. A lot. So our story begins one fine, early-spring day, when I decided to combine two of my passions: eating grapefruit … and drinking in the morning. Where I ended up, more or less, was modifying a classic called the Greyhound or, in this case, the Salty Dog.
Squeeze the juice of half a grapefruit into a tin — I cut it into smaller pieces to fit my hand juicer. Add 2 to 3 healthy dashes of Angostura bitters, plus vodka or gin to taste (2 to 3 oz. usually). As this was conceived as an eye-opener, vodka is very appropriate (and gentle on the palate), while gin brings more flavor and interest. Dealer’s choice, I say. Salt the rim of the serving glass by wiping the rim with discarded grapefruit and grinding it into some kosher salt (because it’s coarser than table salt), sprinkled on a plate until it looks, you know, salted. Shake the drink with ice, and strain into the serving glass over fresh ice.
I hadn’t thought of a name for it — and I seriously doubt I’m the first person to ever think of it — but a name seems appropriate now that I’m writing about the drink. So, in homage to the admirable, Italian tradition of splashing herbal liquors into coffee (Caffe Coretto), we’ll call it Succo Coretto (Corrected Juice). Not my best, but — whatever. Cures what ails you.
The Florida and Texas grapefruit crop becomes available in November and usually gives out in June, with the best-of-the-best showing up between Christmas and the end of April. California also produces grapefruit but they are not as sweet or juicy and the juice in particular is what we want. Choose fruit that are round or slightly flattened at either end and feel heavy for their size. In general, the higher the price, the lower the quality (nice, huh?), size doesn’t really matter (cough).