Vin de Pamplemousse (Grapefruit Wine)

What You'll Need

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • sharp kitchen knife
  • two 5 quart Fido jars or other air-tight jars
  • fine mesh strainer or colander
  • dampened cheesecloth or a jelly straining bag
  • air-tight bottles
  • 6 white grapefruits
  • 6 pink grapefruits
  • 2 limes or lemons
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
  • 2 8” chamomile branches with flowers, or 3 tablespoons dried chamomile
  • 1 750 milliliter bottle vodka
  • 6 bottles light, crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
It was easy to fall in love with this recipe before we had ever tasted it, just by looking at the picture in Kevin West’s epic preservation tome, Saving the Season: A Cook's Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving. I read the ingredient list next and was sold. Grapefruit and vanilla, chamomile and lemon and lime… be still my heart. It makes a lot, but you’ll want a lot. And here’s a bonus! After the citrus has infused into the wine mixture, the rinds can be used to make another recipe, a beautiful Vin de Pamplemousse marmalade. (Vin de Pamplemousse, by the way, means nothing more than Grapefruit Wine, but we much prefer the fabulous ring of Vin de Pamplemousse.) I'd like to try this recipe using a little less sugar, or perhaps some light honey instead of the sugar. But it is fantastic just as it is, full of complex flavors, sweetness and bitterness, fruit and flower and vanilla bean. Lightened with a bit of sparkling water, it makes a perfect brunch apertif, similar to a mimosa, but so much more interesting.
grapefruit wine


Scrub the citrus in cold water, and if using store-bought fruit, rinse it in very hot water to remove all traces of wax. Cut a round slice off of both ends of the grapefruit and set the rounds aside. slice off ends of citrus
Slice the citrus into rounds.
slice into roundsKevin West wrote this recipe to be divided between two 5 quart Fido jars, but we had several 2 and 3 liter Le Parfait jars on hand, and so we used those. Using two 5 quart jars makes the math easier, though... Divide the sugar measure proportionally between the jars you are using, and add a split vanilla bean to each.
add sugar to jarLayer the grapefruit slices and the lemon and lime slices, alternating between colors and pressing down as you go. If you are using chamomile branches, you can add them at the end, but if using loosely measured chamomile, add it near the bottom of the jar and layer citrus rounds over it, to prevent the herb from floating at the top of the jar. Use the reserved end caps of the grapefruit, peel side up, as the top layer.layer ingredients
Divide the vodka between the jars, and cover the remainder of the fruit with wine. cover with vodka and wineYou may have another bottle of wine left over, which you can use to top off the jar as the liquid settles. (Very densely packed citrus may take a while to settle all the air bubbles out.)top off with wine
Seal the jars and invert them a time or two to eliminate air pockets. fill to topThe sugar will dissolve slowly over time. Agitate them once a day for the first week. At the end of the first week, top off each jar from the reserved bottle of wine. Over the next month, check on the jars and agitate them every few days. Once a week, top them off with wine, if necessary.

After 30 days, unseal the jars and strain the contents through a colander to capture the liquid in a bowl. strain into collanderAllow to drip for an hour, then gently press to extract more liquid. The fruit can be saved to make a delicious marmalade (recipe coming soon!)

Allow the juice to settle, overnight if possible, and then pour it through a few layers of dampened cheesecloth or a jelly straining bag to leave the sediment behind.
Transfer the strained juice to clean bottles, and store in the refrigerator for up to three months.strain a second time

serve at new yearsOver to You

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