drinksFood & Drinkrecipes

Behind the Bar: Leela Cyd’s Grapefruit Spritz

by Kristina Gill


It is with great glee that I am able to bring Behind the Bar back from the holidays with someone who makes my heart skip a beat, photographer Leela Cyd. I look forward to Leela’s Christmas cards each year in my inbox because they always communicate her spontaneous, fun-loving (and hilarious) spirit. Leela is sharing her Grapefruit Spritz this week, which is quasi-healthy (grapefruit is good for you, right?), but truly delicious and beautiful. We hope you’ll take the time to make this simple cocktail this weekend, just because! –Kristina

About Leela:  Leela Cyd is a photographer, recipe developer and writer based in Santa Barbara, CA. She also teaches photo workshops around the world, hosting one this summer in Cinque Terre. Her greatest passions are traveling and cooking, so she often combines the two by creating food-related stories for magazines such as Kinfolk, Sweet Paul and Anthology. Leela has a cookbook of her very own she’s working on, to be published by Clarkson Potter, due out in Spring 2016.  You can see more of Leela’s recipes here and here.

See how easy it is to make Leela’s spritz after the jump!
Grapefruit Spritz
serves 1

2 ounces Cointreau
3 ounces grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
light squeeze of lemon
2 ounces club soda

garnish on rim:

1/2 teaspoon grapefruit zest
2 tablespoons sugar

Before you create the cocktail, sugar the rim of the glass. Mix grapefruit zest and sugar with your fingers until evenly incorporated, about 1 minute. Pour onto a shallow plate or cutting board. Use a lemon or lime wedge and squeeze the rim of the glass to get a little juice all the way around the edge. Turn glass upside down onto sugar/zest-lined plate and press slightly to coat. Flip and let dry while you prepare the drink. In a mixing glass, stir together Cointreau, grapefruit juice, lime juice, squeeze of lemon and club soda. Carefully place slightly crushed ice into the sugared glass. Pour cocktail over ice and serve immediately.


Why Leela loves this recipeI love this grapefruit spritz because it is so crisp and refreshing. During the winter months, I become a complete and utter citrus fiend, downing oranges, grapefruits and tangerines with the gusto of a hound dog — so I always have these fruits on my counter around this time of year, anyway. This drink is uncomplicated, it can be dressed up and served with a little sugar/zested rim or just tossed into your favorite juice glass after a long day. Cointreau is Triple Sec in fancy clothing, so if it’s all you’ve got — by all means, use that. Salute 2015!


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  • I love grapefruit cocktails. Grapefruit vodka tonics are one of my favorites. This looks delicious and I love the slice of grapefruit floating in the glass. Thanks for sharing.

  • Of all the food photographers I follow, Leela is one of favorites. I’m in love with the table shot shown here…that background is to die for. I recently “lurked” in her online photography course offered through Skillshare…highly recommend it, if anything just to watch her style a shot. Inspiring.

  • Yum! Like a “chic” Greyhound. Leela, what a find you are! Food, photography, travel, an eye for beauty. Refreshing!

  • I made this with La Croix coconut flavored sparking water instead of club soda because it was all I had. Although I’m not crazy about the coconut flavored water on its own, the drink was fantastic! Gave it a slightly tropical flavor without being too sweet. Thanks for the recipe. Guess I know what I have to do with the rest of this water!