This cocktail by bartending pro Eric Alperin combines grapefruit juice, orange liqueur, dry vermouth, and vodka—a quadruple threat with a layered complexity that belies its relatively simple build. Striking a perfect balance between tart, sweet and spirituous, the Banker’s Lunch combines some of our favorite elements of breakfast (orange and grapefruit) with dry vermouth, an aromatic requisite for plenty of classic drinks, from low-ABV favorites like the Bamboo to more spirit-forward staples such as the Martini. Vodka, of course, tends to shape-shift based on its fellow ingredients—in the case of the Banker’s Lunch, what the base spirit lacks in flavor it makes up for in strength, serving as the backbone of the cocktail. It is the subtlety of the vodka that allows the dry vermouth, orange liqueur, and grapefruit to shine.
The ounce and a half of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice brings much more to the Banker’s Lunch cocktail than one might think. Perhaps somewhat overlooked, grapefruit as a flavor in cocktails is incredibly versatile, pairing perfectly with tequila in a Paloma, with gin or vodka in a Salty Dog or Greyhound, with rum in a Hemingway Daiquiri and, according to legendary bartender Naren Young, plenty of bitter and bittersweet liqueurs. Take bar icon Tony Abou-Ganim’s Ruby, for example: vodka, Aperol, freshly-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, fresh lemon juice and elderflower liqueur combine beautifully and are silkened by egg white for texture. Grapefruit oil is then expressed over the drink using the fruit’s zest, which is then placed gently atop the velvety foam as the cocktail’s final touch. This drink is a masterclass in how bitter, sweet, spirit and fruit can come together to create something bigger than the sum of its parts, the grapefruit carrying much of this weight thanks to its ability to highlight floral and bitter in perfect tandem.
Now that you’ve been reminded of all the trusty grapefruit’s virtues, taste it in action with a round or two of the Banker’s Lunch—hold the adding machine.
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
- 1/2 ounce orange liqueur
- 1 1/2 ounces grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
- Garnish: 1 grapefruit peel
Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass.
Garnish with a grapefruit peel.