My lifelong friends and Delta neighbors, the noted caterers and party givers Carl and Amanda Cottingham, discovered this delicious grapefruit juice–based cocktail at Aquitaine, a restaurant in Boston’s South End. When Carl approximated the Saint Cloud in his Greenville kitchen, I vowed to go straight to the source on my next trip north. At the restaurant, the drink is made in a shaker and served straight up with a dusting of lime zest on top. But it also makes a great pitcher drink. The rosemary simple syrup is genius with the grapefruit juice, which has an especially pretty color when squeezed from Ruby Reds.
The Saint Cloud
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 bunch rosemary sprigs, plus more for garnish
- 6 cups fresh grapefruit juice, strained and chilled
- 4 cups vodka, well chilled
- 1 tablespoon lime zest (optional)
- Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the sugar is just dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and steep the rosemary sprigs in the syrup. Allow the mixture to cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the rosemary, and strain the syrup into a container with a lid. Refrigerate the rosemary syrup until ready to use. I keep it in a Mason jar for up to 1 month.
- When ready to make the drink, combine the grapefruit juice and vodka in a tall pitcher. Add the rosemary syrup to taste. For a mixture this large, I usually end up adding 1 cup, but you should start with ¾ cup and taste. Stir in the lime zest, if using, and pour into highball or Collins glasses filled with ice. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.
Recipe excerpted from Julia Reed’s South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long by Julia Reed (Rizzoli New York). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Paul Costello.