For this grapefruit simple syrup, we’re using only the peel of the fruit - something you’d normally toss - making it a great option for adding flavor to a drink without adding additional cost for more ingredients.
Winter in the United States is citrus season, making it the best time of year to enjoy a variety of fresh grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons. Using fresh grapefruit is an easy way to make a refreshing cocktail and mocktails. It’s a main ingredient in a classic brown derby cocktail, goes really well in tequila drinks and gin cocktail recipes, and makes for a delicious non-alcoholic drink when combined with fresh lime juice, rosemary sprigs, and club soda.
Making your own simple syrup is a great way to craft a delicious drink while saving money and using pantry ingredients.
The grapefruit flavor in this syrup makes it easy to use in tequila and gin drinks. Not sure how? Start by swapping out traditional simple syrup for this grapefruit syrup in recipes that have other citrus fruits in them, like lime. (Grapefruit and fresh limes are flavor BFFs.)
This simple syrup recipe makes a small batch of syrup, so you won’t end up with a large bottle of grapefruit syrup and struggle to use it up.
- White Sugar
- Fresh grapefruit
How to Make Grapefruit Simple Syrup
Using a vegetable peeler, remove 2 large strips of peel from the outside of the grapefruit being careful not to get the white pith under the grapefruit’s skin. Set peels aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water to a simmer. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and add the 2 pieces of grapefruit peel. Let the peel infuse in the syrup until the syrup has reached room temperature.
Remove peels using a fork or pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer.
Refrigerate syrup until ready to use.
Grapefruit simple syrup will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Make your syrup ahead of time. Simple syrup of any kind needs time to cool before using. This syrup will last for up to 2 weeks, so there’s no reason not to make it a day or two before using. I’ll often make drink syrups during weekend meal prep, just to have them ready to go in the fridge when I want them.
- While grapefruit peel often has lots of gorgeous color in it, this won’t show up in your syrup. Don’t be surprised if when the infusion time is over, your syrup still looks clear or only has a slight amount of color in it. This is normal and soaking the peel for longer won’t add in more color.
- Store your syrup in a glass jar. Plastic containers tend to absorb the smell of whatever was in them last. If it was something strong smelling, this may lead to that flavor being imparted into your syrup. Using a glass storage bottle or jar will prevent this from happening and ensure your syrup stays as delicious as you intended it to be.
- Don’t leave the peel in the syrup for multiple days. This can lead to the syrup taking on a bitter quality. Letting the peel soak in the syrup for longer than a couple hours doesn’t add to the flavor.
How to Use Grapefruit Simple Syrup
What do you combine with grapefruit syrup? Try one of these simple recipes.
- Mix 4 oz sparkling water or club soda with 2 oz syrup for a DIY grapefruit soda.
- Use it in place of traditional simple syrup in a Paloma cocktail or a margarita to increase the grapefruit flavor.
- Make my non alcoholic Grapefruit Paloma Mocktails.
Try These Simple Syrup Recipes
FAQs and Substitutions
Any kind you want! Because we’re only using the citrus peel, using a white grapefruit or red grapefruit doesn’t matter.
Sure! You can use lemon, orange or lime peel in place or or alongside the grapefruit peel for a citrus simple syrup. Keep in mind that using other citrus peels may overwhelm the flavor of the grapefruit. (I’m talking about you, lemon and orange.)
Nope. We are only using the peel in this recipe. Adding in the juice from the fruit will change the sweetness of your syrup, which in turn will alter the sweetness of your drinks when you go to use the syrup. Using the fresh grapefruit juice will also greatly increase how quickly the syrup spoils.
White cane or sugar beet sugar are the best options for this recipe. Agave nectar will also work if you strongly oppose white sugar. Skip brown sugar, maple syrup, and/or honey as the flavors of those sweeteners will overwhelm the grapefruit flavor.
With the grapefruit peels removed, this grapefruit syrup will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator. Discard it if it starts to look cloudy in any way.