ruby red salty bitch

When a good friend of mind returned to work after maternity leave, she mentioned that she and her husband had started to congratulate each other each Friday night for making it through the week.  I told her that was a brilliant idea and that I’d start having a drink on Fridays to celebrate as well.  I promptly set an iPhone reminder to remind me every Friday at 6:30 to have a drink.  No point in leaving important celebrations up to the chance of my memory!

Ruby Red Salty BitchA gin and tonic is typically my drink of choice.  I like to steer clear of anything sweet, but when Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts arrived on my doorstep, I knew that our celebratory “we made it” drink was going to take a little step up.  Jeni Britton Bauer, of local national confectionary fame, is pretty much top notch at peaking taste buds.  Her shops are delightfully decorated and she’s a master at novel, artful creations with a palate of cream and sugar.  Also, she’s just really cool in person.  I once took an ice-cream making class with her and she’s down to earth and friendly.  Her cheeks really are that rosy.

Anyway, as I was perusing my latest cookbook purchase, I happened upon the cocktails and lo and behold, Jeni has re-invented one of my all-time favorites: the salty dog.  The salty dog is delicious in it’s own right – and dead simple to make.  A salted rim, a little vodka, some grapefruit juice.  Excellent.

But Jeni took it to another level.  Grapefruit sorbet and vodka with Murray River pink salt.  Oh boy!  And she also gave it a great name – “the salty bitch”.  I immediately set out to get grapefruit.

I confess to never having any inclination to make a sorbet prior to that moment.  Sorbets, to me, are sort of a sad little cousin of ice cream.  But add booze and I’m happy to give it a try.  This one was not-too-sweet, and the I liked the little bit of added flavor from the vanilla bean.

I slightly tweaked Jeni’s original salty bitch recipe in that I eliminated the fresh tarragon spring, I used ruby red grapefruits to pink it up a notch, and a threw in some vanilla bean in my sorbet.  This drink is an excellent choice to celebrate getting through the week.  It’s also a top contender for Summer Cocktail 2014.

ruby red salty bitch

adapted ever so slightly from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts

Australian pink flake salt
One 4-ounce scoop (~¼ pint) ruby red grapefruit sorbet (recipe follows)
¼ cup vodka

Pour a thin layer of salt on a plate.  Ring the rim of your chosen glass with a slice of lemon.  Dip the rim into the salt.  Drop the (giant) scoop of sorbet into the glass and pour vodka over the top.  Serve with a spoon.


ruby red grapefruit sorbet

Makes about 1 quart

4 ruby red grapefruits
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup light corn syrup
⅔ cup sugar
½ vanilla bean

¼ cup vodka

Freeze your ice cream maker’s bowl in a very cold part of your freezer for at least 8 hours.

Remove 3 strips of grapefruit zest with a peeler. Cut all of grapefruits in half and squeeze about 3 cups of juice.

Combine grapefruit juice, zest, lemon juice, corn syrup, and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow sugar to dissolve. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Remove the zest.

Transfer the base to the fridge for at least 2 hours to chill.

Before freezing, add the vodka to the sorbet base. Pour the chilled sorbet base into your ice cream maker and spin until it reaches the consistency of softly whipped cream. Pack into a storage container and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.


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