The Blinker was first mentioned in print in Patrick Gavin Duffy’s 1934 bartending book The Official Mixer’s Manual and was resurrected in Ted Haigh’s 2009 Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.
It’s a simple and elegant concoction, essentially a variation on a classic Whiskey Sour and a close cousin to the Ward Eight. The drink’s original incarnation called for rye whiskey, grapefruit juice, and grenadine, a common cocktail sweetener made with pomegranate juice. In recent years, however, fans of the cocktail have found that substituting raspberry syrup instead renders a far more delicious version of the drink.
Over the years, bartenders have played with the cocktail’s proportions as well. This version comes from bar pro Naren Young, who affixes the quantities approximately to those of a standard sour-format cocktail.
You’ll want to use freshly squeezed juice from a yellow grapefruit to ensure a balanced flavor; pink or ruby red grapefruit juice could lean too sweet. As for the rye, be sure to use a 100-proof version such as Rittenhouse.
And for the sweetener, feel free to try the cocktail with grenadine as originally created, if you like—perhaps even back-to-back with the modern version and its raspberry syrup. It could provide a fascinating example of the evolution of cocktails over time.
2 ounces rye whiskey
1 ounce yellow grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 ounce raspberry syrup*
Garnish: 3 raspberries, skewered
Add the rye whiskey, grapefruit juice and raspberry syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Garnish with skewered raspberries.
*Raspberry syrup: Add 2 cups of demerara sugar and 1 cup of water into a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of raspberries, fresh or frozen, stirring until the berries form a pulp. Allow mixture to cool, then strain into a sealable container. Will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.