Florida Cocktail

29 Nov 2023

For a retro Christmas dinner starter, try this recipe for a Florida Cocktail. It’s wonderfully old-fashioned, uses seasonal citrus fruit and tastes delicious, as well as ‘startling’ the palate into readiness for the main course.


2 oranges
2 grapefruit
25g caster sugar


Weighing scales
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Grapefruit spoon
Medium bowl
Small bowl
Small saucepan
Wooden spoon
Pan stand
Glass serving dish x 4


  1. Cut the grapefruits in half and carefully remove the segments of fruit with a pointed grapefruit spoon and place in a bowl. Squeeze the empty skins over a small bowl to save some juice to make the syrup later.
  2. Cut the top and bottom off each orange and place upright on the chopping board. Cut down the orange following the rounded shape of the fruit, removing all the skin and white pith. Carefully cut out each segment so the flesh is released, leaving the pith between the slices. The more pith you remove from the fruit segments the prettier the final dish will look.
  3. Add the orange segments to the grapefruit. Squeeze the pieces of orange skin over the bowl to save more juice.
  4. Strain the juice into a small saucepan with the sugar and slowly heat until the sugar has dissolved to make a syrup. Pour over the fruit segments and mix gently. Leave to cool then refrigerate until well chilled.
  5. Divide the fruit and syrup between the glass serving dishes.

Skills used include:
Weighing, measuring, chopping, melting and serving.

Top Tips

  • Florida Cocktails can be made with satsumas or clementines to save time or so younger children can help. They can be peeled easily and there is no need to remove the white pith as it will soften and seem to disappear when soaked in the syrup with the grapefruit.
  • Heat the juice and sugar until the sugar just dissolves. There is no need to boil it.
  • For a real retro touch, before placing the fruit in the serving dishes, run a halved lemon around the rims of the serving dishes before dipping in caster sugar. Allow to dry for a frosted effect.

Something to try next time

  • White, red, pink and sweetie grapefruit would all be delicious in this refreshing cocktail.
  • Sprinkle the finished cocktail with pomegranate seeds for a seasonal touch. Cut the pomegranate in half. Hold it cut side down on your open hand and firmly tap the back of the fruit with a wooden spoon. The seeds will be magically released from the skin.
  • Top each cocktail with a sprig of mint before serving.
  • Try adding other fruit to the cocktail. Sliced kiwi or chunks or balls of melon would be ideal.


Prepare now, eat later

  • Prepare up to 24 hours in advance and store, covered in the fridge. Fill the serving dishes just before the meal.
  • Any spare fruit would be ideal to add to fruity coleslaw or mixed with some crunchy watercress or rocket to serve with cold turkey or ham.