Grapefruit Vodka Coffee Cocktail

Slightly sweet and balanced, this Grapefruit Vodka Coffee Cocktail is perfect to sip with brunch! A spin on the traditional mimosa, this coffee vodka drink tastes like grapefruit with just a touch of the coffee’s earthiness.

Overhead view of hands holding glass of african sunrise cocktail

2023 Update: This recipe was originally shared in September 2015. We originally called this drink the African Sunrise since it reminded us of a Tequila Sunrise. The cocktail is a stunning orange color and incorporates flavorful Kenyan or Ethiopian coffee. This post has been given a more descriptive name, as well as more tips and tricks.

National Coffee Day is September 29th, so I’ve teamed up with my friend, who also happens to be a fantastic barista, Valorie to make some awesome coffee cocktails for y’all.

“Teamed up” means Valorie found these recipes, perfected them and made them. I photographed them and taste tested. She definitely did the heavy lifting here. I did the easy work… and it was delicious.

Valorie whipped up four separate coffee cocktails, and I’ll be sharing them every other Friday for the next eight weeks. It’s gonna be super fun, different and tasty.

I was unsure what coffee would taste like when incorporated into a cocktail, but Valorie chose wisely… and she invented this here drink.

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    Why I love this recipe:

    When Valorie first told me we’d be making this recipe, I was a little concerned that the combination of hot drip coffee paired with grapefruit vodka, sparkling water and simple syrup would be odd.

    HOWEVER. I’m here to tell you it’s actually amazingly delicious and refreshing. 

    The grapefruit is so fruity and light and works wonderfully when paired with the earthy coffee. It’s sweet, but not cloyingly so.

    There’s a hint of the coffee, but it’s not overpowering.

    Valorie says you can add more coffee without losing too much, so if you’d like more coffee in your drink, have at it.

    One of the dangerous things about this cocktail is that it doesn’t taste alcoholic. It just tastes good, which translates to brunch for me.

    More coffee cocktails to try soon: Guinness Cold Brew Coffee | How to Make Irish Coffee | The Siciliano | The Melty Cold Brew Shake | Baileys Coffee

    African sunrise in glass on napkin in front of packaged items

    What you need to make this drink:

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s what you need:

    • Brewed Kenyan or Ethiopian coffee — Valorie recommends using beans from Kenya or Ethiopia because of the bright, earthy notes they tend to have. (If you want to learn more about different types of coffee from around the world, check out this article from Sagebrush Coffee which details the factors that add to a coffee bean’s flavor.)
    • Grapefruit vodka — use your favorite brand here.
    • Sparkling water — unflavored, please and thank you. The bubbles are pleasant, but not overwhelming.
    • Simple syrup — you can make your own at home or grab a bottle from the store.

    Why is it important to use Kenyan or Ethiopian coffee beans in this drink?

    Coffee grown in different areas of the world obviously take on different flavors. Things like location, altitude, local weather and more play into the flavor of the coffee beans.

    In general, coffee beans from Ethiopia and Kenya have bright, earthy, floral and sometimes fruity notes. They pair beautifully with the grapefruit vodka.

    Glass of beverage on top a napkin in front of recipe packages

    How to make this Coffee Vodka Cocktail

    Brew the coffee in your desired method of brewing. (Valorie did a pour over method while at my house, though I’ve made this recipe with drip coffee.)

    Mix the vodka, sparking water and syrup in a glass.

    Pour the coffee directly over the other ingredients warm.

    Add ice cubes to the glass, and serve immediately.

    Hand holding glass of african sunrise cocktail

    More coffee-flavored drinks to try:

    Here’s how you make this one:

    Hand holding glass of african sunrise cocktail

    Grapefruit Vodka Coffee Cocktail

    Valorie Clark, Where Should I Coffee?
    Slightly sweet and balanced, this Grapefruit Vodka Coffee Cocktail is perfect to sip with brunch! A spin on the traditional mimosa, this coffee vodka drink tastes like grapefruit with just a touch of the coffee's earthiness.
    4.60 from 5 votes
    Servings 1 drink
    Calories 222 kcal
    Prep Time 9 minutes
    Total Time 9 minutes

    Ingredients
      

    • 3 oz. hot Kenyan or Ethiopian coffee
    • 2 oz. grapefruit vodka
    • 1 oz. sparkling water
    • ½ oz. simple syrup
    • Ice cubes one large ice sphere or whiskey stones

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Instructions
     

    • Brew the coffee in your desired method of brewing. (Valorie did a pour over method while at my house, though I've made this recipe with drip coffee.)
    • Mix the vodka, sparking water and syrup in a glass.
    • Pour the coffee directly over the other ingredients warm.
    • Add ice cubes to the cup, and serve immediately.

    Notes

    Valorie recommends checking out Counter Culture for a video about making good pour over coffee.
    Total time includes brewing the coffee.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1drinkCalories: 222kcalCarbohydrates: 8gSodium: 4mgSugar: 6g
    Keyword cocktails, coffee cocktail, coffee drink, coffee vodka cocktail, coffee vodka drink, drinks, vodka cocktail
    Course Drinks & Cocktails
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    3 Comments

    1. Um, yes please. You had me at African because, well, I am! Because of the color, I half-expected this to be made from rooibos tea, a South African red tea (my favorite for colds & flu, by the way, with lemon and honey) — which some coffee shops like to us to make “red lattes.” Even though it doesn’t have caffeine in it?

      Anyway, I was much more pleased to see it has real COFFEE in it, because coffee is my fave. I cannot wait for this series! I <3 coffee!

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