Pamplemousse Cocktail au Morroc (Pomegranate and Grapefruit)  

pamplemousse cocktail

Pamplemousse may be the most charming word in the French language. French has many charming words, but just say it out loud – Pamplemousse. I’m in a better mood already. It’s hard to say it without smiling a bit.

The original Pamplemousse Cocktail was featured in a Bon Appetite years ago. It was a tasty affair, vodka and grapefruit juice, with some mint, some lime, and a homemade pomegranate juice syrup. It was light and refreshing, and not very strong. For some reason it made me think of Morocco, and Mid-Eastern food. I’m not sure why, or if that’s even logical, but with the mint, and grapefruit juice, and honey, and pomegranate – this would be the national cocktail of Morocco, if they had a national cocktail.

With that erroneous, and potentially libelous, creation myth in my head, I decided to improve upon the original. Rather than a simple pomegranate syrup, I would use pomegranate molasses to keep the flavors concentrated and not water down the drink as much. Instead of vodka, gin would bring some extra floral notes and complexity. Finally, a few drops of orange flower water would cement my cocktail well within the flavor library of a partly fictional Morocco.

And it was good. Really good, I thought. To be honest, some people weren’t so crazy about the orange flower water, but that was my fault, as I was measuring it in by the cap-full. You have to use it like a bitters – one drop, maybe two. Any more, and that ethereal flowery smell turns on you, and all of a sudden it tastes like you are doing Boiler Makers made with a pint of Savignon Blanc and a full shotglass of a Jean Paul Gaultier knock-off perfume.

So, I’ll present both below – but in my opinion at least use gin rather than vodka.

Pamplemousse Cocktail

pamplemousse cocktail ingredients


Pomegranate Syrup

  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) sugar
  • 3 Tbs (45 ml) honey


  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • 1 oz (30 ml) pomegranate syrup
  • 3/4 oz (23 ml) grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 oz (7.5 ml) lime juice
  • 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) vodka


Muddle the mint leaves, slightly, in the cup of a cocktail shaker.

Add remaining ingredients. Shake with 1 1/2 – 2 cups (400 ml) ice for 30-45 seconds.

Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Optionally, to serve on the rocks strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Procedure for Batch Preparation

This is basically a double recipe of the original. I find that I go through these pretty fast when I have guests over. If you are going to have kids attending, consider leaving out the vodka and adding it at the time that you shake the drinks, as kids enjoy the sweet, pink-ish fruit juice too.

Combine the following in a pitcher:

  • 1 recipe of pomegranate syrup
  • 3 cups (720 ml) vodka
  • 1 1/2 cups (360) grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) lime juice
  • scant hand full of mint¬† leaves

Stir well, bruising the mint leaves a little.

To serve, either add ice to the pitcher, stir well, and then strain into cocktail glasses (if you are going to be using the pitcher pretty fast) or pour 4-5 ounces into a cocktail shaker, shake with ice, and strain into a single glass.

Pamplemousse Cocktail au Marroc



  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • 1/4 oz (7.5 ml) pomegranate syrup
  • 3 oz (90 ml) grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz (60 ml) gin
  • 1/4 oz (7.5 ml) lime juice
  • 2-3 dashes orange flower water, about 3 ml


Slightly muddle mint leaves in a cocktail shaker.

Combine all remaining ingredients, along with 1 1/2 – 2 cups (400 ml) ice in the cocktail shaker.

Shake well for 30-45 seconds, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Here’s a video showing how to make both versions —

These would also go great with the Middle Eastern style recipes that I’ve made recently:

Update: I made a pitcher of these for a cocktail party last night, and the crowd was pretty evenly split between gin and vodka. I included a bit of orange flower water, but used the original pomegranate syrup (I had a pitcher of it to get rid of). Also, don’t do the pomegranate syrup layering thing unless you intend to provide some means to mix it in before drinking.

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