The brown derby cocktail is one of my favorite classic bourbon cocktails. The brown derby is a simple concoction made up of bourbon, honey syrup, and fresh grapefruit juice. It’s smooth and citrusy with sweet notes of brown sugar thanks to the honey and bourbon combo.
Whenever I have fresh grapefruit juice at my disposal, I always make a point to put some aside for this cocktail. No matter the weather or occasion, this refreshing cocktail always seems to fit the bill.
Fresh Grapefruit Juice
The title says it all—no substitutes here. When a cocktail calls for fresh grapefruit, bottled juices won’t fit the bill. I use pink grapefruits (or whatever you can find) and juice them by hand. A single grapefruit is good for a round of 4-5. I use this stainless steel juicer—it’s cheap and it works well.
I keep my grapefruit juice in the fridge in a covered glass mason jar. It’s usually good for about 7 days if kept refrigerated.
Best Bourbon to Use for Cocktails
I love bourbon because there are SO MANY great options out there at the $25-$35 price point. My evergrowing list of favorite budget-friendly bourbons are:
- Buffalo Trace
- Elijah Craig
- Henry McKenna Single Barrel
- Four Roses Single Barrel
- Woodford Reserve
- Eagle Rare
- Knob Creek
- Maker’s Mark
How to Make Honey Syrup in the Microwave
Heat 1/2 cup of water in the microwave for 45 seconds until warm. Stir in 1/2 cup of honey until fully dissolved and golden brown. The proper consistency is a little thicker than water when at room temp.
You can make in a saucepan on the stove if making larger amounts, it’s just extra work and not always necessary. If you do go the stovetop route, just be sure not to boil or simmer the water. It only needs to be warm enough to dissolve/mix in the honey.Print
A citrusy whiskey-based cocktail with notes of brown sugar and grapefruit. The brown derby cocktail is made with bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey syrup.
- 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/2 ounce honey simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with grapefruit peel.
Use a peeler to grab some grapefruit peels BEFORE you cut or juice your grapefruits. This will be MUCH easier.
- Serving Size: 1 cocktail
- Calories: 171
- Sugar: 18g
- Sodium: 0mg
- Fat: 0g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 19.3g
- Fiber: 0.3g
- Protein: 0.2g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: brown derby cocktail, bourbon cocktail