Not much to say about this drink. Just that it is a pretty good grapefruit juice drink that taste relatively unique.
Palm Beach has a longstanding history as being a resort, so it makes quite a bit of sense that a cocktail should come out of the region, appropriately named the Palm Beach Special. The town, which would later be incorporated in 1911, was a product of the founder of Standard Oil, Henry Flagler at the end of the 19th century, becoming rather famous for the creation of two luxury resort hotels, the Royal Poinciana and the Breakers Hotel. Even prior to incorporation the area was seen as a resort spot, which become more recogized as such in the 1930s, after the repeal of the Prohibition. Ted Haigh writes that this drink is a product of the 1940s (Haigh 222).
While Haigh suggests Plymouth, which works well, I prefer using something like Steinhager or a Genevieve style gin to give it a bit more unity and let the grapefruit juice pull through with the taste of the vermouth. For vermouth, something less bitter seems appropriate to this drink, such as Carpano Antica. Lastly, if you use a fruit driven gin, either citrus oriented or the grape driven G’Vine, you get a lovely cocktail overall that has most of its’ complexity coming form the vermouth. And if you choose to be daring and use something such as Hendrick’s, not that I recommend it, cut back on the vermouth to let the cucumber play more with the grapefruit juice. The drink lends itself lovingly to a garnish of grapefruit zest, which gives a bit more of an aroma and fragrance to the cocktail especially if you use a fruitier gin.
Palm Beach Special:
2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
Combine the ingredients in a shaker tin, shake with ice until chilled, and strain into a cocktail glass.
Haigh, Ted. 2009. Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie and Beyond. Beverly, Massachusetts: Quarry Books.