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The Sidelong Glance is a brisk, simple and delicious gin grapefruit cocktail that's perfect for Valentine's Day or any day.
Why we love this cocktail
We love this gin grapefruit cocktail for its simplicity, flexibility, and down-to-earth yet just elegant-enough vibe. It's:
- A gorgeous mix of herbaceous gin and tangy citrus
- Honest and straightforward
- Amenable to a little extra gin, should you need it from time to time
- Easy to keep the ingredients on hand
It's the kind of cocktail you can make without much thought, which leaves you free to be thoughtful about other things.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe. It's not much!
- Gin: Use your favorite London Dry style gin. This recipe is very flexible. We've made it with wildly different top-shelf gins, from Bombay Sapphire to Hendricks to Beefeater, and it's always a winner.
- Dry vermouth: Also called white vermouth, this is a home bar staple. These days I tend to keep Dolin on hand for its balance of quality and affordability. Judging from the photo below, I used Noilly Prat back in 2015 when I first published this recipe. That's also a fine choice. (Type "dry vermouth" into the search bar for lots more ways to use up that bottle.)
- Grapefruit: Use freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice for the best drinks. You can strain it if you like, or leave a bit of pulp. This cocktail is equally at home in a cozier or more refined environment.
How to make it
Here's all you need to do to make a great gin grapefruit cocktail.
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
- Pour in the gin, vermouth, and grapefruit juice.
- Shake until very cold, then pour into an ice-filled serving glass.
- Garnish with a grapefruit twist and serve.
Expert tips and FAQs
Pink grapefruit tends to have the best combination of sweetness, complexity, and juiciness, so I recommend them for the Sidelong Glance. They keep forever in the fruit drawer of a nice, cold fridge, so it's easy to have them on hand for your low-key cocktail making needs.
You sure can. For eight drinks: Up to two hours before serving time, combine two cups gin, ¾ cup vermouth, and four cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice in a pitcher. Place in the fridge to chill. Pour into ice-filled serving glasses and garnish each glass with a grapefruit twist.
The Sidelong Glance (A Valentine's Day Story)
“Mom? Connor Is a cool dude. He’s really smart. He knows the capitols. And about wars. And Vitamin C. No wait. What is it? Calcium.” That’s great, kiddo. I like that you noticed that. I like when you’re a good friend. Let’s be quiet now, okay? Time to sleep.
She rests her head on my arm and tugs the other arm over her belly. Wiggles a little closer, so that with every inhale my ribcage presses into her still-tiny back. “I like to be close to you, Mommy. I wish I could get closer, like when I used to be in your belly.” I know, snuggling is nice, isn’t it. Let’s try to be quiet now.
She talks some more, wiggles some more. Jabs my chin hard with her elbow, a daily occurrence that still takes me by surprise. Oh come ON! “I’m sorry, Mommy. I love you so much.” I wonder how her hair turns the smell of grilled cheese and my own cheap coconut shampoo into something to move toward and grasp so tightly. I force myself to remember that holding tight is only half the goal, and nowhere near half the effort. Granting freedom bit by bit, day by day is so much harder. Letting go.
Her muscles start to relax. Her breathing slows and deepens. Good night, my sweet girl. Sleep so, so well. See you in the morning.
Downstairs, sleep isn’t even on the agenda yet. There’s still so much to do. Rehashing basketball practice with Dad. Basketball practice that happens in sneakers only half a size smaller than mine and doesn’t end until nine o’clock at night. Second dinner and a bowl of frozen peaches. Basketball is a lot of work for someone who’s already growing four inches a year — who suddenly looks like an almost-teenager from the back, all gazelle legs in sporty shorts. You don’t know it, but we smile at the back of your head all the time, hunched over your totally legit homework. Shake our heads slowly together in awe at what you’re becoming. We’re watching. So how — when! — did you get so big without our knowing?
And you’re funny, and so astute. I got all nostalgic the other day about how your time living with us is more than half over now. You answered, “Who says? There’s no way I’m gonna be able to afford my own place after I graduate from college. I’m totally moving back in with you.” I mean, what newspapers are you reading to study macroeconomic trends while I sleep? At least we’ll be in capable hands if you’re taking care of us one day. Which, if the past ten years are any indication, will feel like approximately three weeks from now.
In the meantime, we’ll be sitting over here on the couch in our jeans and cozy socks, sipping our responsibly stiff drinks. You might not understand the expressions we’re wearing, because between the two of you, you still don’t know what 18 years look like. But I think you’re big enough now, so I’ll tell you.
This is the look of two people delighted but still a little confused by how all of this — absolutely everything — started half our lives ago with a single sidelong glance.
More favorite gin cocktails with citrus
- 2 ounces (60 ml) gin
- ¾ ounce (22 ml) dry vermouth
- 4 ounces (120 ml) freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
- Grapefruit twist, to garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
- Pour in the gin, vermouth, and fresh grapefruit juice.
- Shake well until very cold, then pour into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and serve.
- Use your favorite London dry style gin for this recipe. Though they vary widely, any top-shelf bottle will work well. Try Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, or Hendricks.
- A basic yet high-quality dry (white) vermouth like Dolin or Noilly Prat works great in this cocktail.
- Use pink grapefruit for the sweetest, most complex, and most plentiful juice. You can strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve or leave a bit of pulp in, whichever you prefer.
- You can batch this cocktail if you like. For eight servings, combine 2 cups gin, ¾ cup vermouth, and 4 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice in a pitcher, up to two hours before you'd like to serve it. Chill until serving time. Fill serving glasses halfway with ice before pouring, and garnish each glass with a grapefruit twist.
Note: I first published this post in 2015. The post and recipe have been edited for clarity.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 210