Brown Derby Cocktail Recipe Bourbon and Grapefruit

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There’s nothing quite like a Brown Derby cocktail to make you feel classy and sophisticated. This delicious drink is made with bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey, and it’s perfect for any occasion!

In this article, we will teach you how to make a Brown Derby cocktail like a pro. So gather your ingredients and let’s get started!

What is a Brown Derby Cocktail?

Brown Derby Recipe Drink on Serving Tray

The Brown Derby cocktail is a classic drink that originated in the 1930s at the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, California. The original recipe called for just three ingredients: bourbon, grapefruit, and honey.

Today, the Brown Derby is one of the most popular cocktails in the world, and it’s easy to see why! This delicious drink is perfect for any hoccasion, and it’s sure to impress your guests.

Brown Derby Ingredients

Brown Derby Cocktail with Grapefruit Slice

To make a Brown Derby cocktail, you will need:

  • Bourbon – we recommend using a high-quality bourbon for the best flavor.
  • Grapefruit juice – fresh squeezed is always best, but you can also use bottled grapefruit juice.
  • Honey Syrup – you can make your own honey syrup by mixing equal parts honey and hot water, or you can buy it at the store.
  • Grapefruit twist – A nice garnish four your drink.
  • Ice cubes

Fresh Grapefruit Juice is Best

As we mentioned before, the Brown Derby cocktail is traditionally made with grapefruit juice. Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice will always taste best, but you can also use bottled if you’re in a pinch. Fresh Grapefruit juice and honey syrup go really well together.

If you’re using fresh grapefruit juice, we recommend using a juicer to get the best results. Simply cut your grapefruits in half and then put them through the juicer. You’ll need about two grapefruits worth of juice for one cocktail.

How Do You Make Honey Syrup?

If you don’t have honey syrup on hand, don’t worry! It’s easy to make your own. Simply mix equal parts honey and hot water, and stir until the honey is dissolved.

You can also buy honey syrup at the store, but we think it’s worth it to make your own. It’s cheaper and it tastes better!

Best Bourbon for This Recipe

For this recipe you will want to use a high-quality bourbon. We recommend using a small batch bourbon like Bulleit, Maker’s Mark, or Knob Creek.

These bourbons are all made in small batches, which means they have more flavor. They’re also less likely to be watered down, which is important when you’re making a cocktail.

Bar Tools Needed

Brown Derby in Cocktail Coupe Glass on Serving Tray

To make this cocktail, you will need:

We recommend using a Boston Shaker, which is a two-piece cocktail shaker that has a metal tin and a glass. The metal tin is used to mix the ingredients, and the glass is used to strain the cocktail into your glass.

If you don’t have a Boston Shaker, you can also use a regular cocktail shaker. Just be sure to strain your cocktail into your glass using a strainer.

How to Make a Brown Derby Cocktail

Brown Derby Grapefruit Cocktail in Coupe Glass Bourbon

Now that you have all of your ingredients and supplies, it’s time to make your cocktail! This recipe makes one drink, but you can easily double or triple it if you’re making for a crowd.

  1. Start by adding ice to your cocktail shaker.
  2. Add the bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey syrup to the shaker.
  3. Put the top on your cocktail shaker and shake it vigorously for about 30 seconds. This will help to mix the ingredients and get them nice and cold.
  4. Remove the top from your cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled glass.
  5. Garnish your cocktail with a grapefruit twist and enjoy!

Brown Derby Cocktails are best enjoyed fresh, so be sure to make them just before you’re ready to drink.

Best Times to Serve a Brown Derby

The Brown Derby cocktail is perfect for any occasion! Serve it at your next party, or enjoy it as a pre-dinner drink. This cocktail is also great for brunch. Serve it with a side of bacon and eggs for a delicious and decadent meal.

No matter when you serve it, we know you’ll love this Brown Derby cocktail recipe. It’s a classic drink that is sure to impress your guests.

Cocktail Variations

Zoomed in Brown Derby Drink Cocktail

If you’re looking for a different twist on this classic cocktail, try one of these variations:

– Sweet drink, add more honey syrup to your cocktail.

– Tart drink, add more grapefruit juice.

– Stronger drink, add an extra ounce of bourbon.

– Lighter drink, add club soda or sparkling water.

We hope you enjoy this Brown Derby cocktail recipe!

Brown Derby Cocktail Recipe

Brown Derby Grapefruit Cocktail in Coupe Glass Bourbon

Brown Derby Cocktail Recipe

The Brown Derby Cocktail is a classic drink that is super delicious. This has the perfect mixture of Bourbon, Grapefruit Juice, and Honey Syrup to create an unforgettable experience.
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Drink Type: Cocktail
Main Alcohol: Whiskey
Keyword: Grapefruit, Honey, Whiskey
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1


  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Jigger
  • Strainer
  • Coupe Glass


  • 1 1/2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice Fresh
  • 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
  • Grapefruit Twist (garnish)
  • Ice


  • Add Bourbon, Grapefruit Juice, and Honey Syrup to Ice Filled Cocktail Shaker
  • Shake Vigorously Until Cocktail is Well Chilled (about 30 seconds)
  • Strain into Coupe Glass
  • Garnish with Grapefruit Twist

Final Cocktail Thoughts

There you have it! Our Brown Derby cocktail recipe. This classic drink is perfect for any occasion, and we know you’ll love it. Be sure to let us know how you liked it in the comments below.


Must Try Bourbon Recipes

If you loved our Brown Derby cocktail recipe, then you’ll love these bourbon recipes:

Old Fashioned – a classic bourbon cocktail that is perfect for any occasion

Whiskey Sour – a tart and refreshing cocktail that is perfect for summer

Kentucky Mule – a refreshing and easy to make cocktail that is perfect for any occasion

We hope you enjoy these recipes! Cheers!