Shanah tova! It’s the first day of Rosh Hashanah and as promised, though slightly belated I’ll admit, here is another fun recipe you can whip up to celebrate the holiday (or, just ‘cuz). Ben alerted me to the fact that my drink section is woefully puny, so I’m trying bolster it a bit. Make it feel like it’s part of the team. Tell it I love it and that it’ll all be OK…
In truth, I’ve never much cared for the really complicated fru-fru cocktails you see on bar menus usually costing $9-$10 a pop. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve ordered them from time to time, but at home, I like to keep things simple: wine, beer, vodka seltzer, vodka tonic, vodka anything. I don’t like cocktails where I have to buy lots of obscure liqueurs where I’d only have to use an ounce of the stuff and then it sits for years in my cabinet. As an aside, for how long can you keep an opened bottle of liqueur? I’ve heard that alcohol doesn’t go bad, but I always felt that was a case-by-case thing. Thoughts? In any case, this pomegranate cocktail is stupid simple with easily attainable stuff: pomegranate juice, vodka, simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water heated and mixed together until the sugar dissolves), seltzer, and pomegranate arils (seeds) for garnish.
But let’s talk about pomegranates, OK?
I’m a huge fan, but I wasn’t always. In short, it’s a heck of a lot of work to get the juice out of these buggers and the amount of juice you get is, well….you want more. After all the work and agita it takes to get the arils out, you just want more. But, in that same vein, it’s also incredibly rewarding…the harvesting process, I mean. At any rate, that’s why we have bottled pomegranate juice. All the flavor for none of the work! I’m a fan.
Pomegranates are symbolic for Rosh Hashanah. Rather than me explain it, here’s a little blurb from Wikipedia on the subject:
“It is traditional to consume pomegranates on Rosh Hashana because the pomegranate, with its numerous seeds, symbolizes fruitfulness. Also, it is said to have 613 seeds, which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah.”
In short, symbolic and yummy. Score! Here’s how this here cocktail works.
Like I said, stupid simple. I’m almost embarrassed to call it a recipe (except not really). First up, a simple syrup is in order. Simple syrup is incredibly, um, simple. You take sugar and throw it in a pot. Then you take the same amount of water and also throw it in that pot. Turn on the heat to about medium and stir the stuff until you don’t see the sugar anymore. Kill the heat and there you have it…simple syrup!
Then you make the pomegranate juice concentrate. (Now, “concentrate” probably isn’t the most accurate word here, but you get the point…all the stuff minus the fizzies.) This drink is two parts pomegranate juice, two parts vodka, one part simple syrup, and then you top each glass off with seltzer and a few pomegranate arils for garnish. As long as you keep these ratios, you can make as much or as little as you’d like.
In a vessel that has a pour spout (this could be a pitcher, measuring cup, makeshift pouring contraption), pour in the pomegranate juice, vodka, and simple syrup. Then you stir it all around! That is, in fact, what it’s all about. (Sorry about that hokey pokey reference, there. I’m feeling festive and spritely.)
Next, we pour and fizz. Take whatever old glass you like and fill it halfway with the pomegranate juice concentrate. Fill the rest of the glass with seltzer, drop in a few pomegranate arils, and toast the town (or New Year)! Want to know something funny about pomegranate arils? They’re sinkers. In fact, how I get the arils out of the blasted buggers is by using a bowl of water (Alton Brown’s method, for all you Food Network fans out there). First, I score the pomegranate, cutting a big T into it from side to side, so that it’ll come out in segments. Once I get pomegranate slices, very delicately and carefully, I pluck away the arils from the white pith. The bowl of water comes in handy for two reasons:
1. Because the arils have a seed in them, they’re heavier than the white pith. So, the arils will sink to the bottom while the pith floats on top of the water. Easy separation!
2. The water helps cushion the arils and prevents them from bursting all over your kitchen counter or clothes. Do I sound like I have some experience in this department? Yup.
The fun thing about this drink is, because the arils are sinkers by nature, the fizziness actually allows them to float to the top. Fun! So you get extra bursts of pomegranate flavor. Just don’t choke, please. I don’t want to be held responsible for that.
There you have it: a simple and festive drink that works well for the New Year or any celebratory occasion. Bottoms up!
This simple pomegranate cocktail is perfect for Rosh Hashanah, or any other festive holiday, and it includes ingredients that won't be sitting in your liquor cabinet for months after the fact.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 cup vodka
- Seltzer (to top off each drink individually)
- Pomegranate arils of 1 pomegranate
- In a small pot, add the sugar and water together. Turn the heat on medium and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Turn off the heat.
- In a small pitcher or 4-cup measuring glass, combine the pomegranate juice, vodka, and simple syrup, making sure to keep the correct ratios. It should be two parts pomegranate juice, two parts vodka, and one part simple syrup. Measuring cups/glasses come in handy here.
- Stir the pomegranate juice concentrate until combined.
- In whatever glasses you'd like (I used champagne flutes because they showed off the fizz nicely), fill the glass halfway with the pomegranate juice concentrate. Fill the rest of the glass with freshly opened seltzer. Top with a few (maybe 6 or so) pomegranate arils and serve.
Make sure you open a new bottle of seltzer for this drink. Otherwise, you won't get the right amount of fizz.
As long as you keep the ratios right (two parts pomegranate juice, two parts vodka, one part simple syrup), you can double or triple this recipe to accommodate your crowd.
Make sure all of the ingredients are ice cold before serving. You can either serve the cocktail in festive champagne flutes or in a glass over ice.