The Drunken Botanist Talks Pomegranate
So, a pomegranate and a sugar cube walk into a bar.
You know where this is heading, right?
Directly into your cocktail.
Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist, our most dog-eared new book and—we’ll throw the gauntlet down—a grassroots leader of the grow-your-own cocktail movement, tells us that fresh pomegranate is the key ingredient in grenadine. Handcrafted grenadine, that is.
Grenadine’s run (which began in the 1880s) as a pure pomegrante syrup was surprisingly short. Artificial versions came into play in the early twentieth century and gained ground, becoming the standard behind the bar and an essential ingredient in Tequila Sunrise as well as in hundreds of other cocktails. So says Stewart.
Deets? The artificial stuff is made from a base of high fructose corn syrup, water and citric acid. Oh, and red dye number 40, which is arguably a not-so-nice substance. Thanks to the growing momentum of natural-ingredient use behind the bar, grenadine with real pomegranates is becoming a familiar face. And you can find it in upscale liquor shops and specialty food stores.
You can of course, make it yourself. Which we highly recommend.
Excerpt from The Drunken Botanist
5 to 6 fresh pomegranates
1 to 2 cups sugar
1 ounce vodka
To peel the pomegranates, score the rind with a knife as if you’re cutting an orange into wedges. Carefully peel away the rind, leaving the seeds and membrane intact. Squeeze with a fruit press or manual juicer and filter through a sieve. You should have about 2 cups of juice.
Measure 1 cup of the sugar into a saucepan, add the juice, stir, and bring to a simmer. Let the sugar cool and taste it; add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter syrup. Stir in the vodka as a preservative. Pour into a clean jar and store it in the refrigerator, where it will last about a month, or in the freezer. Adding another ounce or two of vodka will help keep it from freezing.