Brown Derby Cocktail Recipe

Teddy Francisco
Last Updated on
by Teddy Francisco

The Brown Derby Cocktail is a complex drink flavor-wise, so it’s surprising to know it only needs three ingredients to get that smooth, refreshing taste.

Brown Derby Cocktail

Still, it’s these simple cocktails that can be trickier to serve. Check out this short article to learn how to make and serve a great Brown Derby.

Brown Derby Recipe Overview

Brown Derby Cocktail

The Brown Derby only needs bourbon, grapefruit, and honey and a minimal amount of prep time.

Here are the exact ingredient proportions:

  • 1/2 ounces of bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 ounces of honey syrup
  • 1 ounce of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Grapefruit twist to garnish

You can add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, mix until well chilled, and then strain into a highball glass with fresh ice. We also recommend muddling the grapefruit peel before dropping it in to add extra flavors to your drink.

If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, mix it and stir directly into the cocktail glass, whichever is more convenient.

Nutrition, Calories, and Alcohol

How to Serve a Brown Derby Cocktail

Making Brown Derby Cocktail

Making a Brown Derby is simple even for newcomers, but these tips can help make you look like a pro:

  • Use fresh grapefruit juice: Resist the urge to buy bottled grapefruit juice at the supermarket and buy some fresh fruits instead. It will prevent your cocktails from becoming overly sweet and allow you to fully taste the grapefruit.
  • Make a punch: The Brown Derby is an excellent party drink. You can mix the base in advance in a large pitcher and have some fresh ice on hand to add to your guests’ glasses. The grapefruit twist is optional, so feel free to skip it if it will take too much time.
  • Choose a good bourbon: The grapefruit and honey flavors are strong enough to get through the drink, but even so, you should choose a bottle of bourbon you have no problems drinking on its own. Opt for one that’s not overly sweet to get the signature tart flavor of this bourbon cocktail.

What Foods Pair With the Brown Derby?

The Brown Derby is an excellent drink if you’re serving dishes on the salty side, such as pasta or anything meat-based.

The sour flavors from the grapefruit juice also make this cocktail a good way to complement greasier foods or elevate a simple cheese platter.

Brown Derby Recipe Variations

Go beyond the bourbon, grapefruit, and honey combo with these other great cocktail recipes:

  • De Rigueur: Uses Scotch Whisky, honey syrup, and pink grapefruit juice to get a sweeter variation. You can also garnish it with a grapefruit twist or leave it as-is.
  • American Breakfast: Uses maple syrup instead of honey syrup for a darker cocktail.
  • Ward 8: Use rye whiskey, orange juice, or lime juice, and garnish with an orange wedge. The orange makes this cocktail sweet on its own, but you can also use some extra honey syrup if you prefer.

Wrapping Up

The Brown Derby is one of the best bourbon drinks you can make at home. It’s simple and quick to make, but the blend of flavors gives each sip a wonderful depth, making it seem like you spent a lot more time preparing this recipe than you did.

But don’t take our word for it—mix it for yourself today!

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Teddy Francisco
Teddy Francisco
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