It’d be hard to distill the essence of Texas into a bottle. Would this state taste like Fredericksburg peaches? Like High Plains or Hill Country grown grapes? Like Rio Grande Valley grapefruit?
A couple of vodka producers would argue the latter. Austin’s Deep Eddy Vodka has struck gold with its pink infusion of neutral grain spirit and grapefruit juice, the Ruby Red vodka that has flown off store shelves ever since it was first introduced in 2013. But it’s not the only one anymore: SKYY Infusions has also capitalized on a clear thirst for the sweet fruit by releasing SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit earlier this year, sourcing the grapefruit from state growers.
Since Texas grapefruits aren’t in season currently, look to these two spirits if you’re wanting to put grapefruit into a cocktail. The vodkas can stand in for the juicy red fruit until October, when they’ll return widespread in stores. But which vodka captures the sweet soul of a Texas-grown ruby red grapefruit the best? I tasted each one by themselves to find out.
The SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit is a more vibrant expression of the citrus fruit than Deep Eddy Ruby Red, with a blossoming aroma and an almost candied approach to showcasing grapefruit’s sweet side. On the other hand, the subtlety of the Ruby Red is more appealing in part because the Deep Eddy vodka smells, tastes and looks exactly like what it is without being overwhelming.
But if you like the sweet burst of grapefruit in a cocktail that the SKYY Infusions vodka provides, go out and get a bottle of it. That level of vibrancy does well in cocktails — like the one below with Scotch and an element of smoke from a special ice ball. (Note that because of the smoked ice ball, the flavor of the drink will change as you sip and the ice melts.)
Gimme the Peat
2 oz. SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit
1 oz. Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch
1 tbsp. Simple Syrup
Liquid smoke ice ball (see below)
Combine SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit, Glen Grant Single Malt and simple syrup in a double rocks glass.
Place smoked ice ball in glass and stir 5 times. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.
Smoked Ice Ball
Use an ice ball mold to produce a large round ice sphere. Before placing in freezer, drop approximately 5 drops of liquid smoke into the water used. Freeze. Remember to use sparingly as liquid smoke is potent.
— Adapted from Sheridan Fay