The Story Behind The Bourbon Grapefruit Bitter

In the fall, the fruit that’s most seasonal essentially switches from berries to citrus fruits. What’s great about citrus drinks is that they offer a summery accent to any cocktail, even in the cooler months. Today I am sharing a grapefruit-based drink that’s made with bourbon and a float of bitters. The bourbon adds a spicy kick to the cocktail, and mixes smoothly with the bitter flavors of both the grapefruit juice and the angostura bitters.

The fact that its ingredient list is short makes this cocktail a perfect choice for a party or a happy hour at home. Before the guests arrive, I usually mix a pitcher of grapefruit juice, bourbon, and agave nectar. Then once the party is starting, I’ll add ice and top each glass with angostura bitters. If you want to get even more creative, you could make the drink, and then set up a bitters bar where guests could add their own bitters to customize their cocktail. In the past I’ve used Peychauds as well other flavors of bitters, including habanero, orange and even chocolate.

For my party I picked up an assortment package of Scrappy’s Bitters that are made here in Seattle. The world of bitters inspires ambivalence; some people love them, others despise them. But I’ve found that having different flavors to choose from gets guests to at least try them. In addition, it’s a wise way to get everyone to interact with cocktails, allowing you as the host to enjoy the party or happy hour.

Craft cocktails can sometimes seem overwhelming to home bartenders, especially when it comes to “complex” ingredients like bitters. But this cocktail is simple enough to not be intimidating!


  • 5 ounces of bourbon
  • 5 ounces of ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • ½ cup of ice
  • 3 dashes of angostura bitters
  • Grapefruit slice, for garnish.


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with bourbon, ruby red grapefruit juice, maple syrup, and ice.
  2. Shake the mixture then pour into serving glass.
  3. Top with dashes of angostura bitters.

Rate This Recipe:

(140 votes)

Yield: 2
Updated: 2020-05-12

The Bourbon Grapefruit Bitter Recipe