11 Tart and Tasty Grapefruit Cocktails

Grapefruit can be found in a variety of cocktail and mixed drink recipes and it's one of the favorite fruits of the bar. The tart taste of this citrus is ideal for adding a punch of flavor to drinks and it pairs perfectly with a variety of liquors and flavors.

Among the favorite grapefruit based cocktails are iconic drinks such as the Paloma and greyhound. The fruit also makes an appearance in modern cocktails that pair the fruit with maple syrup or pomegranate. It's a versatile citrus that can be used whole, as a juice, or even as a grapefruit soda.

Let's explore the full range of grapefruit with a handful of the best drinks that allow it to shine. 

  • 01 of 11

    The Paloma

    Paloma cocktail with lime garnish

    The Spruce

    The paloma is one of the best and, at the same time, most underrated grapefruit cocktails. The traditional drink recipe uses a grapefruit soda such as Jarritos Toronja or Squirt, which is why it is not often associated with the tart citrus fruit. Yet, it is a fantastic and unforgettable drink.

    This is a very simple drink and it is one of the most refreshing you will mix up. The tequila and grapefruit pairing is among the best you will find for the fruit and it can be spiced up or played with in a number of ways.

    If you enjoy this one, you will also want to taste the cantarito or add a little heat for a spicy paloma.

  • 02 of 11


    Greyhound cocktail garnished with quince flowers against rustic background
    sveta_zarzamora / Getty Images

    Grapefruit cocktails cannot get any easier than the popular greyhound. Seriously, if you can mix a rum & coke, you've got this! This is one of the simplest mixed drink recipes you will find and it's extremely popular.

    What's so great about vodka and grapefruit? It's tart and refreshing. There's no need for soda because the grapefruit juice brings its own spark into the mix. It is a fantastic alternative to the heavier screwdriver as well and can work for any time of day and any occasion. 

    Should you find the greyhound a pleasant drink, give the gin-based salty dog a try next.

  • 03 of 11

    Sea Breeze

    Three glasses of Sea Breeze cocktail with grapefruit garnishes

    The Spruce

    The sea breeze is the drink where the greyhound meets the ​cape cod (aka vodka cranberry). It is one of those simple vodka-based 'trio' drinks that is nothing more than two juices served in a tall glass over ice.

    Yet, just like the greyhound, there is a lot to love about the sea breeze. It mixes up in seconds, is a nice choice no matter the time of day, and you might even have the required juices in your fridge already. All you really need to do is choose the vodka.

  • 04 of 11

    Hemingway Daiquiri

    Hemingway Daiquiri cocktail

    Jonelle Weaver / Getty Images

    When we step into the world of rum, one grapefruit cocktail stands out ​from the rest. That is the one and only Hemingway daiquiri and, yes, it's said that Ernest Hemingway himself enjoyed this drink a time or two.

    The beauty of this daiquiri recipe is in the complexity despite its seeming simplicity. Many drinks of this sort are either too bare-bones or too complicated; not so with the Hemingway. The simple addition of grapefruit and maraschino liqueur makes this a cocktail you will return to time after time.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Blue Bayou

    Blue Bayou frozen cocktail

    Lisa Romerein / Getty Images

    If you're in the mood to fire up the blender and have some grapefruit and pineapple, you will want to blend up the blue bayou. It is a stunning frozen cocktail with a beautiful blue-green color and a great tropical flavor.

    The vodka base makes this a drink that is more approachable for a greater variety of drinkers as many do not enjoy the rum or tequila that often makes their way into the blender. It is a fantastic addition to a cookout, pool party, or any summer celebration.

  • 06 of 11

    Navy Grog

    Navy grog cocktail with orange and maraschino cherry garnishes

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

    The navy grog has roots in the 1700s with British sailors though it was not until the drink was brought into the rum and fruit cocktail scene that it became legendary. It's very complex.

    Just like other cocktails from this genre, there are many recipes for the navy grog floating around. No one can agree on the ingredients except that there should be rum and lots of it.

    Most recipes combine two or three styles of rum and the majority include grapefruit juice as the primary fruit. No matter how you mix it up, this is one fantastic drink you won't soon forget.

  • 07 of 11

    Blushing Lady

    Blushing Lady Pomegranate Martini

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

    This beautiful vodka martini shows the rich sweetness of pomegranate playing nicely against the tart grapefruit. The two contrasting flavors are given an equal share in the blushing lady. It's a fascinating twist to the average pomegranate martini.

  • 08 of 11

    Grapefruit Shandy

    Grapefruit shandy cocktail garnished with a slice of grapefruit

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

    This refreshing grapefruit shandy cocktail is a spin on a traditional beer-lemonade shandy. It's very easy to make with just four ingredients—grapefruit juice, beer, simple syrup, and a little water. It's ideal for a barbecue or picnic, especially if you make a large batch and keep it on ice.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    New England Sour

    New England sour cocktail

    Michael Marquand / Getty Images

    Here's a fun take on the classic sour style of drinks. The tart grapefruit brings the sour, which is contrasted by the sweetness of maple syrup—the 'New England' connection.

    What is really nice about this cocktail recipe is that it transforms the sour drink formula into an autumn-worthy drink. It is also a brilliant way to spruce up the greyhound. It's a very easy drink to mix up—you can even use your favorite pancake syrup, so there's no need to pick up any special ingredients.

  • 10 of 11

    Danny Ocean

    Danny Ocean cocktail recipe

    The Spruce

    The Danny Ocean cocktail is a tequila lover's delight. This is a lowball drink served on the rocks and it's sort of a mashup of the paloma and the Hemingway daiquiri. If you have tried either of those two drinks, this is the ideal next step.

    This recipe features the reposado tequila from Casamigos, a brand started by George Clooney (now you get the connection, right?). It is sweet and tart and a fabulous sipping drink for any day, time of year, or occasion. It also mixes up very quickly, so feel free to share it with friends.

  • 11 of 11

    Ketel Soda With Grapefruit and Thyme

    Ketel soda with grapefruit and thyme

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

    Thyme is one of the best herbs you can pair with grapefruit. The two fresh ingredients come together nicely in the easy Ketel soda with grapefruit and thyme.

    For this cocktail, you'll need a couple of slices of fresh grapefruit. Those add a slight, tart flavor to the premium vodka base and the drink becomes utterly refreshing when topped with club soda. Once you add that thyme garnish and let it slowly infuse your drink, you'll realize why the two were meant for one another!