Using an Entire Grapefruit: Lacto Fermented Grapefruit Liqueur & Salt Rim

In this recipe, we will see how you can use the entire grapefruit, to make 2 separate ingredients: a Liqueur and a Dust.

Making these ingredients will include the entire fruit: Skin, Pith, Pulp, Juice, and Seeds, leaving nothing to waste!

On top of that, each final ingredient will be well preserved for an extremely long shelf-life.

Grapefruits have always been a great ingredient for bartenders, but unfortunately, they are not available all year-round, which means that when they become available, it’s a good idea to stock up on them while they’re fresh and cheap so that they can be preserved for another season!

Personally, I tend to believe that grapefruit works best during the warmer months of Spring and Summer because there’s nothing better than a Paloma or Salty Dog on a hot day!

Ingredients & Tools

In this recipe, we are going to ferment our grapefruit before turning it into a liqueur and dust.

Fermentation will preserve and transform the fruit adding additional flavors which include some salinity, umami, and what I like to call ‘funk’. 

The liqueur will be made using an alcoholic base of your choosing, the best being Vodka or Tequila.

The dust instead will be made from all the leftover pulp, seeds, pith, and skin which could not be turned into liquid form, but can instead be dehydrated and grounded into a salt rim.

Even in its newly transformed state, it will still retain the flavors from fermentation, and even better will already have saline flavors that rims normally have!

So before you start, make sure that you have the following ingredients and equipment:

  • Grapefruit
  • Kosher Salt
  • Measuring Scale
  • Mason Jar
  • Blender
  • Strainer
  • Vodka or Tequila
  • Sugar
  • Citric Acid (optional)
  • Dehydrator or Oven
  • Spice Grinder

Part I:

The first step is to ferment your entire grapefruit. Weigh your fruit whole using a measuring scale and write down the weight in grams.

Multiply your Grapefruits weight by 0.02. The resulting number will be the amount of grams you need to add of Kosher Salt (be sure NOT to use Iodized Salt as it will not help the grapefruit ferment).

So for example, if you weighed 100g of Grapefruit, you would do:

100 x 0.02 which equals 2g of salt that you need to weigh before adding.

Once you weighed your salt, set it aside and go back to the grapefruit.

Slice your grapefruit into quarters and place them in your jar with the salt.

Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, muddle everything until all of the juice from the grapefruit is released.

Close the jar and shake everything up making sure that the salt is completely incorporated throughout all the fruit and juice.

Make sure that the peels and pulp are fully immersed in the liquid. Doing so will keep the oxygen out thereby generating a ferment that won’t be subject to mold or unwanted bacteria.

Seal the jar tight and store it in a dark and cool place to ferment. You’ll want to ferment everything between 5 and 7 days, but make sure to open the jar up every 2-3 days to release the CO2 to prevent the container from exploding.

Once you’ve reached those days, you’ll notice a couple of things that your ordinary smashed grapefruit didn’t have before.

For starters, the pulp will have risen towards the top because of the increase in CO2 within the container.

You will also notice the CO2 from the bubbles forming within the liquid, and when you open your container you’ll hear a fizzy noise coming from the ferment.


Part II:
Make the Liqueur

Open your jar and remove the peels. Scrape off any of the leftover pulp attached to them with a spoon.

You’ll notice that they will be easier to remove because they have been softened during fermentation.

Notice that your peels will be much softer and even easy to chew on. Give one a small bite before proceeding!
You may notice some white spots. This is what's known as Kahm Yeast and is completely hamrless. Simply scrape it off.

Set the peels aside and measure out the pulp and juice.

Whatever amount you have of juice, match it with the same amount of spirit.

This is a 1:1 ratio, so if you have 250ml of Juice, combine it with 250ml of your chosen spirit.

Vodka or Tequila work best.

Vodka will make a more versatile liqueur that you can use to flavor all sorts of drinks by adding small amounts, while Tequila will work more if you use it for only Tequila based cocktails.

Blend the pulp, juice, and spirit all together for 1 minute until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Pass everything through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove all the solid particles, and you’ll have your Grapefruit Spirit.

Adjust its flavor with some Sugar Syrup and Citric Acid following the measurements below.

I find that adding a Rich Syrup instead of a Simple Syrup works much better for consistency purposes.

Whatever amount you have of your Grapefruit spirit, add half that amount in the form of Rich Syrup.

Ex. If you have 250ml of Grapefruit Spirit, add 125ml of Rich Syrup.

(You can make Rich Syrup by heating up 2 parts of sugar to 1 ‘part of water in a saucepan)

Once added, I like to include some citric acid to enhance the grapefruits flavor.

1 gram should be enough for every 125ml, but you can play with that amount and adjust it to your preference.

Once combined, you have your Grapefruit Liqueur at your disposal ready to add complexity to your drinks, and preserved for future use!

Part III:
Make the Salt

Now I hope you saved the leftover pulp that was filtered out along with the grapefruit peels.

If you did, now is the time to put it in your dehydrator or oven.

Set it at around 150 °C for 5 hours and your pulp + skins should be fully dried.

Once dried, blitz it up in a spice grinder and you’ll have lovely colored dust that you can use to rim your cocktails with.

Because the peels and pulp were lacto-fermented, the dust will have an interesting taste to it along with that saline touch that salt rims usually have!

If you want, you can opt to add more salt into your spice grinder to make the dust even saltier.

Now you have the perfect combination of a liqueur and a salt rim utilizing an entire grapefruit leaving nothing to waste!

With this technique, you have also preserved your ingredients for many many months, perhaps years! You can use the flavor of grapefruit for any other season without doing much damage to the environment. It’s a good way to respect the season and prevent long-distance transportation of produce.

This is the sustainable way!


There are many ways to use these two ingredients.

For the liqueur, use it to make Salty Dogs, Palomas, Brown Derbies, and pretty much anything that already has regular grapefruit in it! Just remember to use it as a sweetener.

For the dust, garnish any cocktail with it. Grapefruit salt works well with tequila, mezcal, and many aged spirits. Feel free to make your salt even more interesting by blending more spices to it like red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper powder, or smoked paprika!

Featured Cocktail:
Zero-Waste Paloma

Glassware: Highball 

  • 22ml Tequila Plata
  • 50ml Lacto Fermented Grapefruit Liqueur
  • 90ml Soda Water
  • Garnish with Lacto Fermented Grapefruit Dust


A Paloma that utilizes an entire grapefruit leaving nothing to waste.

This is what we in the business like to call a Single Ingredient Cocktail. A cocktail that breaks down a single ingredient into a multitude of different flavors.

Usually, when we think of a grapefruit we think of acidic, sweet, and bitter.

But as shown in the videos below this one, by applying Lacto Fermentation you can achieve the last two missing flavors: 𝓢𝓪𝓵𝓽𝔂 & 𝓤𝓶𝓪𝓶𝓲.

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