Persephone Descending

My experiments with homemade grenadine have paid off. First, let’s talk about how I did it, then let’s talk about what to do with it.

With this batch, I started with a fresh pomegranate, because I happened to have one. Having tasted it side by side with the POM brand juice, I feel confident in saying: there’s absolutely no difference, just use the bottled juice. It’s less work, and it will taste exactly the same. (Sometime last year I bought a bottle of R.W. Knudsen “Just Pomegranate” juice, and it tasted like iron filings and moldy socks, utterly vile and unforgivably rancid. I suppose it’s possible that I just got a bad bottle, but I’m not inclined to repeat the experiment. If there are any R.W. Knudsen advocates out there willing to do a side-by-side taste test with POM, I’d love to hear your results.)

In a saucepan, over medium heat, mix one cup of pomegranate juice with one cup sugar. Stir. Heat until your trusty probe thermometer reads 230 degrees F. Remove from heat and cool, then transfer to a clean bottle for storage.

The taste is incomparably better than the “mix fresh juice with sugar and shake” version that some recommend – deeper, richer, and more interesting. Heated to 230 you will end up with a syrup a bit thicker than Rose’s, so some stirring will be required to incorporate it in whatever drinks you make.

I found that once I made it, it turned into a useful general kitchen adjunct. It matches pork and chicken very well, and I have plans afoot to make Chinese- style spare ribs using grenadine as part of the marinade. It’s fruity, yet not immediately identifiable.

But the primary reason one has grenadine is for drinks. So let’s review two possibilities.

The first thing I tried, straight out of the Stomping through the Savoy thread, was the Belmont Cocktail: 13 grenadine, 23 dry gin, 1 teaspoon of cream, shaken vigorously with ice. I expected this to be utterly vile, and to my surprise it was not. Neither, however, was it awesome: the gin just doesn’t mesh with the grenadine (and, truth to tell, I don’t love gin). So instead, I will present to you the Belmont’s Cuban cousin:

Bonitamonte Cocktail

23 gold rum 13 homemade grenadine 1 teaspoon cream

Shake over ice, serve in a jelly jar.

It’s a complete girly drink, but it’s quite nice.

This grenadine works well in almost any drink that calls for sugar or simple syrup. With that in mind, let me present another alternative, perhaps a bit less girly:

Persephone’s Old Fashioned

4 cl Rye whiskey 1 cl homemade grenadine (or less, to taste) 2 dashes angostura bitters 1 dash Fee’s orange bitters

Serve on the rocks.

Enjoy!