Juicy, mouthwatering, and run-down-your-neck delicious, the grapefruit is one of southern California's star fruits. Whether woven into citrus tarts, muddled and juiced for cocktails, or simply topped with brown sugar and baked in the oven, there are limitless uses for this succulent orb.

Although the juicy grapefruit can be purchased year-round in California, it is at its seasonal peak in San Diego from winter through spring. An 18th century hybrid originating in Barbados, grapefruit was originally coined as the "forbidden fruit." A cross between a Pomelo and sweet orange, grapefruit was first documented in 1750 and is now known as one of the "Seven Wonders of Barbados."

The name comes from its growth in clusters, similar to grapes. The most popular varieties today are red, white and pink, which are grown extensively in California, Florida, Arizona and Texas.

Widely considered one of the world's healthiest foods, grapefruit provides a plethora of benefits, including:

great source of vitamin C
pink and red varieties are a source of the 
antioxidant lycopene
low glycemic index and calorie count
grapefruit seed extract shows superb antimicrobial properties and boosts immunity
contains phytonutrients called limonoids that inhibit tumor formation
helps prevent kidney stones
protects against lung and colon cancer
helps repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells

San Diego's top mixologists have fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice on hand along with inventive additions like grapefruit bitters and grapefruit-infused liqueurs for their cocktail menus. Look to these local hot spots for your grapefruit fix:

Juice Saves:

Fight off winter bugs and keep your muscles and joints limber with their Digestive Aid shot, with grapefruit, lemon, honey, ginger and cayenne.

Saltbox, Hotel Palomar: "Make it and they will come" is the tagline for the Field of Dreams, made with pisco, Grand Poppy (a California organic herbal liqueur made with poppies, grapefruit, peppercorn and herbs), fresh grapefruit juice, honey syrup and grapefruit bitters with a prosecco float. The best part? The ice cubes have edible flowers in them!

Monello: Stuffy nose or winter blues? Clear those sinuses and wake up with their Pompelmo Caliente, an inventive drink with grapefruit-chili grappa, grapefruit juice, Aperol and Societe Apprentice IPA.

Counterpoint: Their Papa Doble is sophisticated and delicious; with Montecristo white rum, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice, house-made grapefruit bitters, lime and a decadent Luxardo cherry.

Prep Kitchen: Feeling racy? Order the Red Light Old Fashioned, a complete twist on a classic cocktail with genever, fresh grapefruit, peach and bitters.

Craft & Commerce: Their groundbreaking IPA Cocktail is a true classic on the San Diego scene, with grapefruit-infused Aperol, orgeat (a syrup from almonds and rosewater), lemon and IPA. Gather your friends for Sunday brunch and try their Mother's Ruin punch bowl, beautifully made with gin, sweet vermouth, cinnamon-spiced tea, grapefruit, lemon and champagne.

Ready to start your own cocktail program at home, or just ready to start feeling the benefits of this power fruit?

How to pick the best grapefruit:

Look for ones that feel heavy for their size, indicating thin skins and more juice. Avoid overly rough or wrinkled skin. Grapefruits should be firm to the touch, but still spring when applying pressure. Store at room temperature, as grapefruits are juicier when slightly warm.

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