Italian greyhound with rosemary sugar

Gin and Grapefruit with Rosemary

It’s pretty close to a new season, when there’s not much better than lingering with a cocktail at the end of the day, celebrating the return of warm sun and longer days.

It also means that dinner gets cooked and eaten later than usual, but that’s all part of getting into summer mode. I stock up on chilled rosé for summer drinking, but every once in a while I like to start the night (or afternoon. Ahem) off with something a little lighter in alcohol.

A few weeks ago, Molly of Orangette wrote about a pretty salmon-colored drink she liked that included the liqueur Aperol, a brand of Italian bitters very much like Campari.

That drink, a Pamplemousse, is mixed with fresh grapefruit juice and white wine. But it reminded me how refreshing grapefruit juice can be in a cocktail, especially with gin in a warm weather drink, blended into Salty Dogs or Greyhounds.

After a short search around my local liquor stores, I rounded up a bottle of Aperol. As much as I love a simple Campari and soda with lime, Aperol might be even better to my taste. It’s not quite as bitter and has a tiny bit more sweetness and more complex hints of herbal-citrus flavors.

Rosemary Sugar

I made my Italian Greyhound and embellished it a little by rimming the glass with rosemary sugar – easily made in a mini food processor or spice grinder: 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary and 1/4 cup sugar.

Italian Greyhound Cocktail with Rosemary Sugar

I love, love, love this drink! It makes me appreciate gin – a spirit I don’t usually drink- all those herbs, roots and botanicals get along so nicely together and it’s dangerously thirst-quenching.

Italian Greyhound with Rosemary Sugar

Yield: makes one drink


    Rosemary Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 -2 ounces gin (depending on the time of day)
  • 4 ounces freshly squeezed pink or red grapefruit juice
  • Splash Aperol


  1. Combine the rosemary and sugar.
  2. Rub the edge of a glass on a wedge of fresh citrus - grapefruit would be perfect. Put some of the rosemary sugar on a plate and rim the glass.
  3. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Add the gin and juice, and top with a splash or two of Aperol.
  4. Swirl or stir gently - enjoy.


  1. My mouth is watering. Love collecting cocktail recipes and sharing with friends.

  2. Jacqueline says:

    What a shame. I’m reading this at 8 a.m. Will have to wait at least a couple of hours to try it.

  3. I read the same post at Orangette, and went to find some Aperol. I had been drinking Kettle One, grapefruit and Campari and thought I would try Aperol instead. I like them both, but still prefer the Campari.

    I was also surprised to see you call gin and grapefruit a “greyhound.” I usually think of a greyhound being grapefruit and vodka.

  4. I could feel my lips pucker from the sweetness of the sugar from just looking at the picture. Really, I did. This is lovely!!

    • Lindsay – ha! I love that you had that reaction.

      Hi Amy. I’m glad I found the Aperol. I’ll never abandon Campari, but it adds a little different “something” that I like.
      Yes, and funny that we think of Greyhound as a vodka drink these days. Traditionally it was made with gin. Just like martinis, gin has gone out of fashion in favor of vodka. I’d be telling my age, but I worked in a bar when I was in college, and served lots of gin Greyhounds!

      Jacqueline. I agree. But now you have something to look forward to later today. 😀

      Hi Carl! So glad to see your comment. I wish I could clink glasses with you.

  5. This looks like one of those addicting drinks you have to have seconds of! LOL
    Beautiful color, and I love the rosemary in it.

  6. That looks so refreshing! I am not a big Gin drinker but I’m going to go find some Aperol and make one with vodka. Could be my new summer cocktail!

  7. That sounds great! I drink gin a lot and Aperol a lot, but I don’t usually combine them…and with grapefruit, another fav! I’ll definitely be making this one. Also, love the idea of a rosemary sugared rim. Really creative. I can totally imagine how wonderful that would be with this cocktail…and others…hmm…dreaming of weekend cocktails…

    Thanks! I’m really excited about this one!

  8. Wow, what a gorgeous photo! This drink looks SO yummy!

  9. The color alone on this drink is reason enough to make it! Sounds absolutely delicious! =)

  10. I love Campari, so I am going on the hunt for Aperol! Will skip the rosemary sugar however, I once pricked my lip with fresh rosemary and my entire face swelled…apparently I am allergic! Beautiful bog…

  11. I’ll go with tradition and stick with gin. I just made a batch of these, but carbonated them. Very refreshing. Made for a wonderful Sunday afternoon.

  12. Ah yes, another great grapefruit cocktail! I love it! The color is really beautiful, and I am sure the rosemary sugar enhances the flavor of the gin.

  13. I had a very successful run with the following recipe at a restaurant I often consult for:

    1 1/2 oz. Charbay Ruby Red Grapefruit
    3 oz. Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice (I prefer the cocktail variety, of course)
    1/2 oz. Rosemary-infused Simple Syrup

    In a seltzer bottle, combine 8 oz. Aperol with 8 oz. of Sparkling water and charge.

    In a tall Collins glass rimmed with half turbinado sugar and kosher salt, add large ice cubes and the first 3 ingredients (adjust the Rosemary Syrup to taste) and stir well. Top with 1oz. of the Aperol Spritz. Garnish with a candied slice of grapefruit and sip to your heart’s content!

  14. Maryanne Ashton-Sporne says:

    I breed and exhibit Italian Greyhounds. I am going to provide these cocktails at my housewarming in the next couple of months.

  15. this sounds really good! and i love the glasses you used!

  16. This is my new drink for the summer. I fell in love with Aperol on a trip to Venice, and am so happy to see it available in the States. I make mine with vodka because gin makes me mean.

  17. Ponyfaceparkin says:

    oooh I can’t wait until Yardarms for this one 🙂

  18. A sexy drink indeed! The rosemary sugar is what really makes this special (as well as your gorgeously clean and calm photos!).

    We’re rounding-up everyone’s sexiest recipes this month on the Shine Supper Club and this would make an excellent contender. I hope you’ll join us!

  19. wow !! rosemary sugar looks freaking yummy !! thank you karen 🙂

  20. Hi! I’m a staff writer for Spoon University (UT Austin chapter) and I just wanted to make sure that it was okay if I linked your recipe in one of my articles:


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