Happy Hour: The Thyme-ly Dalmatian Recipe

By Marcus Samuelsson |

During winter it’s hard to find flavors that really pop. Luckily, citrus fruits are in their prime andgrapefruit is a great way to bring life, color and zing to your wintry mix. Not to mention the health benefits of fresh grapefruit and its ability to speed up the metabolism when taken before a meal. And because it’s winter I’ve decided to add a salted caramel rim for extra comfort. The warmth of the caramel is a great way to compliment the bitterness of the grapefruit as well as the spicy, earthy lemon undertones of the black pepper and thyme simple syrup.


Make AheadSimple Syrup:

Makes about 1 ½ cups of simple syrup
Heat sugar and water in a small sauce pan until just begins to boil. Then remove from heat and add 2 thyme sprigs and cracked black pepper and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain the simple syrup and allow to cool completely. This can be made ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for a week. This simple syrup is also a great compliment when added to the smoky, citrusy blend of the Ambessa Tea, Earl of Harlem.

Prep Details

Servings: 1

Calories per serving: 145 per serving

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

Total time: 20-25 minutes


For simple syrup

2 sprigs thyme

1 tsp black pepper, cracked

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

For cocktail

1 tsp simple syrup

1 ½ oz gin (I like Hendrick’s)

2 ½ oz fresh grapefruit juice or 3 ozgrapefruit soda (e.g. GuS)

½ oz soda water or Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water (omit if using grapefruit soda)

Grapefruit wheel

For rim:

Caramel sauce


Photo: Ashley Beck

For rim:

1. Make a ring (the size of the rim of your glass) of melted caramel or caramel sauce on one plate, and a ring of sea salt on another. Twist rim in caramel sauce until rim is completely coated, then twist as you remove to assure that any dripping will be collected in the rim and not drip down the glass. Then dip into coarse sea salt.

For cocktail:

2. In a cocktail shaker, add simple syrup, gin, and grapefruit juice (If using grapefruit soda add after shaking). Shake vigorously, until the outside of the shaker is frosted, and ice is slightly melted.

3. Pour cocktail into salted caramel rimmed glass, and top with soda. Garnish with a wheel of grapefruit, thyme sprig, and a crack of pepper.