We have been interested in making the Blinker cocktail ever since we first made our fermented raspberry syrup. It is a classic drink often associated with raspberry, but the real star here is the grapefruit.
We used grapefruit juice from a Honeygold. This seasonal variety is only available from a few locations for about three weeks. It has white flesh, a thick rind, and is known for its delicious flavor without as much tart bitterness as other white varieties. While some cocktail recipes call for Ruby which is more popular year-round, we tend to like white grapefruit better for its intense flavor. The Honeygold falls somewhere in the middle, and for a recipe that calls for the white variety, we would like to try again with a more traditional white to achieve better balance with the raspberry syrup.
2 oz rye whiskey
.5 oz white grapefruit juice
1 barspoon raspberry syrup
Shake with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of grapefruit peel.
As with other drinks that include citrus, you need to use fresh-squeezed juice to make this. Fortunately, winter is the best time of the year to do it because citrus is in season. When making this drink, save a big slice of the peel which is easier to cut while the fruit is whole. You need it for the garnish. We like to trim up our twist to give it a nice, appealing shape. Then, be sure to express the oils from the peel over the glass and carefully rub the outside of the peel around the rim to enliven the aroma of this drink.
Some versions of the Blinker call for grenadine which is an interesting alternative, but we went with raspberry. For the syrup, we made our own, but you can use just about any raspberry syrup to make this drink including raspberry ice cream topping. You could even try using raspberry jam, but take care adjust the proportions as jam tends to stay clumpy when cold, and be sure you double-strain through fine mesh when serving to remove any seeds.
This is a great cocktail for folks who normally like strong, spirit-driven whiskey drinks but are in the mood for something a little different. Although it has citrus, this isn’t a full sweet-and-sour cocktail, and even the raspberry is subtle. Grapefruit works nicely here because it has some intensity but doesn’t overpower. It can hold its own as the base flavor in a drink without requiring a ton of sugar stay balanced, and just a mere spoonful of raspberry syrup does the trick. With our Honeygold, even that was a little too much. We think this recipe would be perfect with just plain white grapefruit.
The first sip reminds of a Whiskey Sour with the rye coming through, but it is more spiritous and mellower than than, never hitting the acidic notes that lemon would bring. Instead, a long grapefruit finish is accented with spice from the rye and hints of raspberry—though it might be hard to know that’s what you are tasting if you did not read the ingredients.