Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Gin Cocktails

Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands cocktail in a Collins glass with ice cubes and a grapefruit wedge / Tim Nusog

Cocktails contain all manner of ingredients, from spirits and liqueurs to non-alcoholic mixers like club soda and tonic. But humble citrus fruits may be the unsung hero of the drinks world. Available in many varieties, from ubiquitous lemons, limes and oranges to less common yuzu and pomelo, citrus lends balance and refreshment to cocktails. Just look at the grapefruit. Its tart juice is employed in several classic drinks, including the Paloma, Hemingway Daiquiri and Greyhound, and it plays an important role in the Shifting Sands, an original cocktail from late bartender Sasha Petraske.

Petraske was behind some of New York’s best bars, and he helped to usher in the modern cocktail revival with the opening of Milk & Honey in 1999. That’s where the Shifting Sands sprang to life. It combines gin with maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and club soda.

The recipe calls specifically for Beefeater 24, a London dry gin that is made from a blend of 12 botanicals, including grapefruit peel and Japanese and Chinese green teas. Maraschino liqueur is up next. It’s a key component in cocktails like the Aviation and Hemingway Daiquiri that is distilled from Maraska cherries. It’s bittersweet, dry and often features a mild nuttiness alongside the cherry flavor.

Fresh grapefruit juice is always a good complement to gin, especially in this case, as the gin contains grapefruit peel in its botanical makeup. The juice lends a healthy slug of citrus, dialing up the refreshment. A dash of lemon juice adds additional tartness and balance, before a topper of club soda imbues the drink with effervescence.

The Shifting Sands is easy to make, which is part of its appeal. It contains ingredients that are readily available at local liquor stores, and it can be constructed by shaking with ice—no fancy tools or techniques required. This is a great option for fans of the Tom Collins who want to sip on something a bit more interesting than the tall, thirst-quenching classic.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Beefeater 24 gin

  • 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur

  • 1 1/2 ounces grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • Club soda, chilled, to top

  • Garnish: grapefruit wedge


  1. Add the gin, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice and lemon juice to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice.

  3. Top with chilled club soda.

  4. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.