Black Derby Cocktail

I’m a self-proclaimed cold weather lover, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate those occasional warm, sunny days that randomly pop up in the middle of January or February.  (Thank you North Texas!)  When the space between those days becomes too much to bear, it’s time to make my own sunshine…in liquid form.

You see, another great thing about living in Texas is the abundance of Riostar ruby red grapefruits grown right here in the Lone Star State.  They’re so deeply red and so perfectly sweet-tart that I eat them without any added sweetener.  But juicing them and adding booze is a whole other story.  That, I highly recommend.

These grapefruit margaritas are far and away one of my favorite drinks.  I got a major craving for them the other day, but when I went to make up a batch, I realized I was missing orange liqueur.  On a Sunday.  When all the liquor stores are closed.  (One of the only down sides to living in Texas.)  So, I did what any responsible person would do and decided not to drink found a drink recipe using what I already had on hand.

I stumbled upon a recipe for a Brown Derby cocktail, which uses grapefruit juice, bourbon, and a honey syrup.  As I dug a little deeper, I found that cocktail’s cousin, the Black Derby.  With molasses (one of my favorite flavors) taking the place of the honey, I knew I’d found just the right drink for me.  

bourbon derby cocktail

Sweet-tart ruby red grapefruit mixes with rich, oaky bourbon and deep, dark molasses for this one of a kind cocktail sure to bring some sunshine to cure those winter blues.

Black Derby Cocktail

adapted from Saveur


1/2 oz. warm water

1/2 oz. molasses (not blackstrap)

3 oz. freshly-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice (do not use bottled juice)
1½ oz. bourbon


1.  Pour water and molasses into a small jar or other lidded container.  Shake until combined.  Set aside to cool.  (Can be made ahead.)

2.  Combine juice, bourbon, and cooled syrup in a shaker with plenty of ice.  Shake vigrously until well combined, then strain into a chilled glass.  Serve immediately.

Yield: 1 cocktail

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