Grapefruit Moon

A Grapefruit Moon cocktail

This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by Caskstrength and has the rather brilliant and evocative theme of Tom Waits.

Waits’ music and alcohol is one of life’s classic combinations. Listening to one without the other is like Starsky without Hutch, Cameron without Clegg, or a gin martini without an olive.

I immediately knew what my inspiration for this month would be – ‘Grapefruit Moon’, a track that is not necessarily my favourite but one that sums up the smoky, whisky-sodden bitterness that is the late-night Waits experience.

I was given his first album Closing Time when I was in my early twenties and it was my inevitable post-pub music choice. For me ‘Grapefruit Moon’ was the stand-out song for its soothing, soporific effect, which was usually much needed – my twenties were a fairly turbulent time. Eyelids drooping, I would cradle the last drops of scotch in my glass as Waits’ gravel-throated tones crooned this lullaby:

“Grapefruit moon, one star shining, shining down on me.
Heard that tune, and now I’m pining, honey, can’t you see?
‘Cause every time I hear that melody, well, something breaks inside,
And the grapefruit moon, one star shining, can’t turn back the tide.

Never had no destination, could not get across.
You became my inspiration, oh but what a cost.
‘Cause every time I hear that melody, well, something breaks inside,
And the grapefruit moon, one star shining, is more than I can hide.

Now I’m smoking cigarettes and I strive for purity,
And I slip just like the stars into obscurity.
‘Cause every time I hear that melody, well, puts me up a tree,
And the grapefruit moon, one star shining, is all that I can see.”

Pairing bourbon and grapefruit juice is something of a bold move on my part; the last time I had a similar combination was on my eighteenth birthday. Waiting to get inside the club de jour, I soon befriended the queue with champagne-fuelled enthusiasm and promised not only to buy everyone a drink once we were in, but to join them in their choice. A pint of Guinness, a Tequila Sunrise and a Jack D and grapefruit later, I mildly regretted these rash words. By morning my remorse was absolute.

But since creating the spin on a Blinker (Bourbon, grapefruit, syrup) below, the regrets are now for the years in between and missing out on what promises to be another classic combination.

Grapefruit Moon

Grapefruit Moon Ingredients

1 bourbon
1/2 tobacco infused bourbon
1 fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4 simple syrup
Dash bitters (grapefruit bitters would be nice but I had to use Angostura)

Shake all ingredients with ice. Pour into a cocktail glass then add a spray of tobacco-infused bourbon and a grapefruit garnish – the carved ‘one star shining’ is optional – or a sprig of lemon balm.

Tip: To infuse the bourbon just add some quality tobacco or a cigar to a 1/4 bottle of bourbon. Leave to infuse for a few hours, checking the strength every hour or so. You could leave it for longer to create a more intense infusion but in that case I’d recommend using a spray to add a fine mist to the finished drink only.

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4 thoughts on “Grapefruit Moon

  1. Wow, that song was just begging to become a cocktail! Great choice.
    You’ve really captured the essence of early Waits here, tobacco infused bourbon?! I gotta try that.

  2. Thanks Scott.

    I confess, I’m a bit addicted to the tobacco bourbon now. Its gorgeous but needs diluting with regular bourbon if youre drinking it straight. Ha! I’ve never thought of bourbon as a diluting agent before! Think Tom would be proud of me….

  3. Pingback: Down there by the train: MixMo Tom Waits « Caskstrength

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