Wednesday, February 1, 2012

homemade grenadine (cold process)

One item that has been lacking in our bar for a few months is a fresh batch of homemade grenadine (made with real pomegranate juice, not corn syrup and red #6). I think that grenadine is still an under-appreciated part of cocktail culture; a good grenadine can create a vibrant cocktail with great depth of flavor, whereas a bad grenadine can create a muddy cocktail both in color and balance.

I usually follow the "hot process" for making grenadine, which involves using 100% pomegranate juice and adding 2 parts juice to one part sugar and reducing the mixture by half over medium low heat. The result is a thick and rich syrup and a little can go a long way in a cocktail. My problem with this method is cutting the process at the right sweet/tart balance can be difficult and the result can lose some of the bright fruit flavor through the cooking process.  The result is closer to a pomegranate molasses rather than a pomegranate syrup.

I recently read about a shortcut for another method to make grenadine, the "cold process." The shortcut cuts the process down to about 10 minutes (even shorter than the hot process) and maintains the freshness of the pomegranate juice by keeping the juice cold throughout the process.  The secret: an immersion blender!

Simply take a desired amount of 100% pomegranate juice (not sweetened or from concentrate) and place in a LARGE bowl.  Measure out an equal amount of sugar and mix in one-quarter to one-third at a time until each addition of sugar is completely dissolved.  In a sanitized bottle or air-tight container (I like empty spirits bottles), pour the resulting ruby red syrup into an air-tight container or bottle and refrigerate.  This should stay fresh for at least 3 months.

Bright and fresh grenadine just in time for Valentine's Day cocktails.  Stay tuned for my Perfect Ward Eight recipe using this grenadine.

Happy February!

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