- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2002

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) The girls from "Sex and the City" sipped grapefruit martinis to toast Carrie's engagement, and the Florida Department of Citrus saw a way out of a slump.

"After that episode ran, we all screamed, 'Did you see that?' They had been drinking [cosmopolitans] on the show for so long," said Michelle Chandler, the department's deputy executive director of marketing. "This is a great opportunity to contemporize grapefruit juice."

The Florida Citrus Commission, which oversees the department, has approved $470,000 to help promote the drink called the Ruby at trendy clubs and bars across the country and sweeten the juice's stodgy image.

The target market? Young, single, urban women like the "Sex and the City" characters Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda.

The Ruby campaign includes a Web site dedicated to the cocktail, a promotional trip to the Nightclub and Bar Trade Show in Las Vegas next month and a partnership with SKYY Vodka so company representatives can pitch the drink to bars and pass out recipe cards.

The grapefruit industry has been battered by slumping grapefruit juice consumption. Grapefruit juice sales in major stores are down more than 10 percent from last season, according to A.C. Nielsen supermarket data.

After the Ruby's appearance on the show, the department's advertising agency, Chicago-based Golin/Harris International, came up with an official recipe for the cocktail: ruby red grapefruit juice, citrus vodka, a garnish of pink grapefruit and a glass rim dipped in sugar.

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