Latin 101


Railway Howitzer

2 oz Gin [Catoctin Creek]
.5 oz grapefruit Oleo Saccharum
.5 oz Italicus
~4 oz hoppy pale ale [Lord Hobo Glorious]

Combine first three ingredients, stir with ice. Strain into a tall glass, top with beer. Garnish with grapefruit twist.

Recently one of my instagram friends @drink_specialistsgr_ offered up a challenge to make a cocktail featuring grapefruit. Perfect, I love grapefruit. I even have some Giffard Pamplemousse liqueur which is so tasty its practically cheating. But I wanted to take things in a different direction, so I decided to make a grapefruit oleo saccharum.

What is oleo saccharum, you ask? Well, *pushes glasses up on nose*, oleo is latin for oil, while saccharum means sugar. So essentially it’s a sugary oil, and was once a key ingredient in punches of yore. It’s a great way to bring that citrus essence to a drink.

The method is pretty simple. Zest a citrus of your choice, add in a bunch of sugar…and wait. After about a day, the sugar will have extracted the oils from the peels, which you then strain out, pressing the peels to get all the goodness out of them. That’s it. I gave the peels a quick rinse with hot water to dissolve the remaining sugar and combined it with the oil. The result is intensely citrusy with a hint of sweetness. If you use lemons, it’s a killer base for good ol’ lemonade

Mine would be a more adult application. While reading about them, someone mentioned using a lemon oleo saccharum in place for the sugar and lemon normally found in the classic French 75. This got my wheels turning, but instead of the traditional champagne, I grabbed a double dry hopped pale ale from Lord Hobo Brewing. It uses galaxy hops which have a very strong citrus note that paired wonderfully with the grapefruit. And to double (triple?) down on the citrus, I added in some Italicus Bergamot liqueur. With all these changes, I kept the base traditional with a gin.


The Railway Howitzer ( named after a different type of WW1 field artillery) was all citrus on the nose. It was almost like the aroma of a freshly sliced grapefruit. The sip was bright and bubbly, with more of the grapefruit and bergamot notes dancing around. Maltiness from the beer crept through, while the botanicals of the gin played off all the citrus. There was just enough sweetness from the oleo saccharum and beer, but this was a zesty ride through and through.

Oleo saccharums are an easy little DIY project that is fully customizeable and very versatile. Now that citrus season is just around the corner (at least here in the northeast), it’s the perfect time to try your hand at one.

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