EVERYTHING'S COMING UP GRAPEFRUIT + ROSES: THE ROAD TO COCKTAIL INSPIRATION

Down South, we've finally been given a respite from the unusually snowy [yes, even an inch of snow is a big deal here] winter, and it's just perfect outside.  68 and sunny.  I'm in shorts.  Sitting on my porch.  Life is good.  

On the last warm, sunny day I can recall, I worked on a photo shoot with a friend. We were doing cocktail photography that day, and happened to snap this combination of a cut grapefruit with some dried roses.  It immediately made me want to come up with a yummy cocktail pairing the two ingredients.  

Fast forward to last week, where most of Georgia was slick with ice, and all I wanted was for this awful weather to subside and for spring to melt away the muck.  I didn't get that wish, so my friends and I were forced to trudge through the cold in search of good food and drinks.  Doing a bar crawl of sorts, we made our way from Virginia Highland [my hood] over to Downtown Decatur [just a couple miles from my neck of the woods], searching for any bar that was still open [it was the snowpocalypse after all, so the city naturally shuts down in such a crisis]. 

We stopped for a drink at Paper Plane, a quiet, Mad Men-esque spot nestled behind Victory Sandwich Bar [the best late night grub spot]. The cocktails over at Paper Plane are always creative, yet classic, like something I'd casually sip every Tuesday night until I'm old and gray. 

There, I had this pretty pink concoction, the Tart Breaker: rye whiskey, campari, lemon, pecan, sorghum, sea salt. Yesterday, I was watching an episode of one of Anthony Bourdain's many shows. This one involved a brief trip to Rome, where he was of course, sipping a negroni while overlooking a beautiful piazza. [How do I get to do that for a living?] I don't mind them, even though I'm not a gin drinker. The Tart Breaker reminded me of a negroni, likely due to the campari, but it was more my speed because of the rye.  Maybe it was just a tad too bitter for my taste, but I like everything sweet and salty, so I can't fault them.

If I'm being honest, I'm more of a bourbon girl myself, so I've got a few mixtures that involve my go to bourbon of the moment, Bulleit, a yummy craft whiskey from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.  I haven't finalized any of these combinations, so don't take my word for it just yet.  I like to experiment and then taste test on my friends, so I can figure out what really works.  So if you're one of my friends, look forward to sipping some bourbon on my front porch in the near future.

I made a batch of rose syrup, [thanks to my friends at The Kitchn] and it's too good not to use in everything.

Here are a couple options I'm trying out:

1 jigger Bourbon . 1 TB Rose Syrup . splash Grapefruit Juice . pinch of sea salt [I use Maldon] splash Ginger Ale . 2 or 3 ice cubes

or

1 jigger Bourbon . 1TB Rose Syrup . splash Rose Water [I use Fee's] . splash Grapefruit Juice . Prosecco [as much as you want!]

I could probably float a rose petal in either of these just for the pretty factor, but I haven't tried that just yet.

Which one will win the taste test? Stay tuned...