The winter solstice this past year was December 21; when the sun reaches the most southerly declination. It marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight; the official start of winter. Though we can certainly anticipate more winter weather in Colorado, for me the winter solstice also signals the beginning of the end; the days after this moment in time get longer every day and we can appreciate the advent of spring as the next season to celebrate; my personal favorite time of the year.
It’s this same time of the year that citrus starts to play a bigger role in our food choices. With good reason in particular in the warmer parts of the country as lemons, limes, tangerines and grapefruit ripen and become plentiful, however, I find myself craving them as if they were growing in my garden yet there is not one tree within hundreds of miles of me. After the season of gluttony, I look forward to lighter dishes and especially love salad dressings and cocktails that include the brightness that is brought to our palate by citrus. If you are lucky enough to have a tree (or several) of Meyer lemons, please, please do not lament to me that you simply can not use all of the little beauties coming from your tree. That is not a problem. You can make lemonade or if it would help, you can send some of them to me! :)
I purchased grapefruits and limes from the market a couple of days ago so inspiration for this cocktail came from seeing that fruit bowl on the counter. I really wanted to concentrate on the grapefruit; it’s sort of become my new favorite citrus. To balance the tartness of the juice I decided to add some maraschino liqueur. I recently made some of my own maraschino cherries for holiday gifts which are simply cherries that soak in Maraschino liqueur; once you try these beauties there is no going back.
There might be some that would take me to task for calling a cocktail without either gin or vermouth a martini and I get it, I really do; purists have their cause and all. However, I can’t get beyond that word for something served in a conventional glass shape that we have come to know as a martini glass! Vodkatini? Nope, can’t do it. So I’ll continue to call any beverage I serve in a martini glass a martini and just ask that you try this; it will bring a bit of sunshine into the dreary days of winter and we can anticipate spring together!
A little tart, a little sweet and a homemade maraschino cherry!
- 2 oz vodka
- 2 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 4 tsp maraschino liqueur
- Garnish - grapefruit, lime and cherry
- Shake all ingredients except garnish with ice and strain into 2 cocktail glasses. Thread the garnish onto a long skewer and place on rim.