I’ve never been a fan of cola drinks. I’ll have one occasionally, but never understood how my cousin can have a Pepsi instead of her morning coffee. For as long as I can remember the tart/sweet drinks have been my favorite. My earliest recollection of this goes back to the time my Dad was buying his brand-new 1954 two-toned Dodge sedan. There was a pop machine that sold grapefruit-flavored Squirt in the dealership. Dad bought me one. I loved it.
The grapefruit is a hybrid of sweet orange and pomelo, developed in Barbados (where great rum is made, but I digress.) When I was growing up, yellow grapefruit halves sprinkled with sugar were a staple on our breakfast table. These have been almost completely replaced in the marketplace by the ruby variety, for good reason.
The ruby grapefruit has a distinctive smell, and a taste sweeter than the yellow grapefruit.
When our family recently acquired a case of Texas ruby grapefruit as part of the school band fund-raiser I decided to make a soft drink reminiscent of the Squirt I used to love.
Ruby Gush starts with 1.25 liters of grapefruit juice and the zest from two grapefruit for a 4 liter batch. I let the grapefruit rest in a cool room for two weeks to develop the flavor. To the juice I added 400 grams of evaporated raw cane juice. Next came 12.5 grams of fresh grated ginger, and 1.5 grams of lemon balm. I heated the syrup to steep out the flavors, strained and pasteurized it. I measured 150 ml into each of eight 500 ml swing top bottles, froze these, then topped them up with carbonated water. A total success, Ruby Gush is better than Squirt, though I remain enamored of the memory. Tasty indeed, I might even try adding a shot of spirits to the glass to make a Ruby Greyhound or even a Red Dog.