These Grapefruit Coladas “on the rocks” are a twist on the classic piña colada with grapefruit instead of pineapple and a touch of vanilla simple syrup.
Let’s be real here, the summer is all about everything coconut and tropical. Because, by golly, if we can’t live on an exotic island somewhere (even though, to be fair, I did at one point in time) then we’re going to transport ourselves there in spirit by eating allllll of the foods that we would be enjoying if we were sitting on a white sand beach under a palm tree with the ocean lapping at our toes. Sound good?
I have to admit, although I don’t often think of all of the things I miss about living in Hawaii, when I get a hold of a tropical cocktail such as a mai tai or a pina colada, the memories come flooding back. I immediately want to be transported to some sort of body of water with the sun shining down on me and Hawaiian music playing in the background, no cares or “To Do” lists in sight.
But, since we can’t always get what we want and be on a white sandy beach in Hawaii all the time, we have to compromise. Right? Maybe with something like these Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks?
It’s supposed to reach the 90’s here in Santa Barbara this weekend, so refreshing cocktails are definitely on my mind. There is also a raging wildfire just north of Santa Barbara proper, so the smoke is heavy in the air and there’s a brownish haze hanging over the ocean. Many families are being evacuated and, as the affected area is rural and full of farmland, many animals are being evacuated as well. It’s troubling times like these when simple things such as a tropical cocktail can lift spirits (if only slightly) and encourage camaraderie. So let’s all raise our glasses and learn how to make these delicious drinks to share with our nearest and dearest.
I love this recipe because it is the perfect combination of California sunshine and Hawaiian flavor. Instead of using the typical pineapple that we see in a classic pina colada, we sub in fresh grapefruit juice. We also serve this concoction on the rocks. Maybe I just like throwing back my alcoholic beverages a little too quickly, but I can’t get past the brain freeze that is eternally present when guzzling blended drinks. Is that just me?
Nevertheless, you could certainly blend this drink up if frozen drinks are more your thang. In fact, my inspiration for this flavor combination came from the Grapefruit-Coconut Sorbet that my boys over at Probably This recently shared. I saw it and my taste buds immediately started dancing. So good!
So obviously rum is our liquor of choice for these Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks. Most pina colada recipes use both white and dark rums, but we’re just going to stick to the white stuff to keep these cocktails lookin’ as fine and pure as they deserve to be.
We use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice because, why not? There’s no need for a fancy juicer to make fresh grapefruit juice, so no excuses. We don’t go quite as far as MAKING our own coconut milk, but the high-quality canned stuff will do just fine. The other secret ingredient I threw in here is some of my favorite Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla & Almond Syrup. Have no fear, though, if you don’t have any on hand. You can always buy some here, or simply whip up some vanilla simple syrup (I’ve included a recipe below) and add a dash of orgeat to get the same kind of flavor.
That’s it! One small thing to note: because this cocktail contains coconut milk and a highly acidic juice, it will tend to separate a bit if left sitting. There are two options for this situation: (1) don’t leave the drink sitting and consume it as fast as you can or (2) give it a simple stir with a straw or stir stick.
I love this cocktail recipe because it’s simple, with very few (but very fresh) ingredients, and it’s not overly sweet. It’s perfect for a lazy day poolside, any time you’re wishing you were on a tropical vacation somewhere, or really just any time you want that touch of tiki in your life.
We’re headed to a wedding in Santa Ynez this weekend, so be sure to follow me on Snapchat or Instagram to see the daily play-by-play. It’s been a while since Chris and I have been on an actual “vacation” (even if for one night only) and I’m really looking forward to having some QT with my main squeeze. We are getting ready in just over a month after all!
I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, filled with friends, family and plenty of Grapefruit Coladas. Cheers!
Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks
- 6 ounces fresh grapefruit juice juice from about 2 grapefruits
- 4 ounces coconut milk
- 4 ounces white rum
- 2 ounces Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla-Almond Simple Syrup OR 1 ½ ounces vanilla simple syrup (recipe below) and ½ ounce orgeat
- Wheel of grapefruit to garnish
- Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, then pour into two rocks glasses. Garnish with grapefruit wheel and enjoy!
- To make the Vanilla Simple Syrup: Combine one cup water, one cup sugar and the seeds from one vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and let cool before using.
- You could also make a frozen version of these Grapefruit Coladas by using grapefruit sorbet.
- If the drink begins to naturally separate, all it will need is a quick stir to get it back in sipping shape.
Gimme two Grapefruit Coladas….
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