The Story Behind The Grapefruit Penicillin

The Penicillin cocktail was created in 2005 by Sam Ross of Milk & Honey, named as a joke for its cure-all properties. After all, we can’t drink Hot Toddies every night of winter, and the Penicillin Cocktail is a splendid alternative. During a recent trip to Vancouver, I had a classic Penicillin Cocktail, which includes blended Scotch, lemon juice, honey syrup and ginger. It was delicious, so when I came home, I began to play with different syrup and citrus profiles. The result was this Grapefruit Penicillin.

The use of the honey and ginger syrup makes it really simple for entertaining. Alternatively, cook up a big batch of the syrup to stretch your honey and ginger deep into these long, cold months. The grapefruit brings some seasonal flavor to this cocktail, adding a winter element. This is a great cocktail for a pre-dinner cocktail hour to get your appetite going. But it's also perfect for spicing up a night in, a real incentive for staying home on a cold winter night. Enjoy!


  • 2 ounces blended Scotch
  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice
  • ¾ ounce honey & ginger syrup
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 king ice cube


  1. Combine liquid ingredients with 1 cup of ice in a cocktail shaker
  2. Shake to chill and combine ingredients
  3. Strain over ice cube in a rocks glass
  4. Garnish with grapefruit wedge/twist

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Yield: 1 cocktail
Updated: 2022-03-07

Honey & Ginger Syrup Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 slices fresh ginger

Honey & Ginger Syrup Directions

  1. In a saucepan combine 1 cup of water with ½ cup of honey and 6 slices of fresh ginger
  2. Boil until ginger is sufficiently infused into mixture
  3. Remove and allow to cool
  4. Strain mixture
Grapefruit Penicillin Recipe