Since I previously expounded upon the virtues of the vesper, there would appear to be little else to recommend that fine cocktail to you if you’re not a convert by now. However, once in a while a little tweak or twist can change one’s whole take on a drink, and in this case I have to suggest a little tampering with the tried and true, particularly if you like grapefruit as much as I do. I’m not one of those libation purists who can’t bend the rules for a new take on an old classic, so if someone wants to switch out the traditional lemon twist for an orange twist, I’m open to that. And if you’re going to lend a grapefruit slant to something that seems an unlikely match (i.e. the Last Word I had in Portland that was so gorgeously shaded with pamplemousse) I’ll give it a whirl.
In this case, a few drops of grapefruit bitters, and trading the lemon twist in for a grapefruit variation, made for an entirely new, and wonderful, experience. I’d been using an orange twist in recent vespers (per a wise recommendation), as that combined with the Lillet in a way that was more pleasing than the lemon, so a grapefruit seemed a logical choice as something right between the two. It turned out better than I’d hoped, and the simple addition of a few drops of bitters and a different kind of twist turn this into an entirely new animal.
The moral of the story is that sometimes it’s good to bend the rules, to try new things, to go ahead and take a chance and risk something bad in the endeavor to find something better. This might also extend the vesper season, given my preference for grapefruit at the holidays. (Personal preference, of course, like everything you find here.) And anything that extends the life of cocktail is a good thing.