Posts Tagged ‘grenadine’

Rule 37: Rye Two Ways

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

Cocktail night!

This one comes from a website sent to me by colleague/bickering compatriot Leelz. She forwards me updates on this site regularly, though why I haven’t subscribed myself, I don’t know. Maybe because she keeps sending me the updates so it’s like I’ve already subscribed. Anyway, the website (Tasting Table) is currently doing a feature on cocktails across the nation (though there is a DISTINCT lack of cocktails from Boston, or, for that matter, Portland, ME) and several of them seemed tasty. This particular one calls for rye whiskey, which I couldn’t turn down.

The recipe source and backstory can be found here, which tells of the tipple’s trail via bartender Mia Sarazen’s Churchill bar in West Hollywood, CA. Apparently it can be made two ways, hence the name. I’ve gone the first route, making it as a cocktail, served “up” (“up” means chilled in a cocktail glass, as opposed to “neat,” “straight,” or “on the rocks.” Bit of a sidebar here so we’re all dealing with the same terminology. “Neat” is usually served in a rocks/old fashioned glass, with no ice. Liquor in glass. Like Scotch, neat. “Straight” means chilled liquor, like “neat” only cold. “On the rocks” is with ice. See also).

Anyway. I’m back now. The drink is Rye Two Ways because there’s a bonus cocktail in there: you take the “up” cocktail, but pour it into a highball glass with ice, and top with Allagash White ale. Sounds like a good idea, especially since Allagash is right up the road from here. But I don’t really get excited about Belgians (the beer or the people). So, it’s the cocktail version for me.

Rye Two Ways
By Mia Sarazen, Churchill. Recipe here.

– 1 oz rye (used Alberta Premium)
– 1 oz dry vermouth
– .75 oz grenadine
– .5 oz fresh lemon juice
– 2 dashes orange bitters (Fee Bros)

Mix ‘em up, shake ‘em up, serve it up, drink it down.
Garnish with a lemon peel.
It doesn’t have to be as big as mine, as long as you know that I’m better than you and you’ll somehow continue to go about your sad little life with that knowledge.

I went with my bottle of Alberta Premium rye whiskey for this one because a) it’s a 100% rye whiskey and b) it looked lonely on the bar tonight because I haven’t used it in awhile, since there are several other ryes to choose from. Like when you drive your Ferrari everywhere but forget about the Lamborghini in the back of the garage. I hate it when I do that. Anyway, this is one you can find ONLY in Canada, and the Lady Friend’s parents were nice enough to traffic this one across international borders for me last year (what’s the statute of limitations on smuggling?). You can read my thoughts about it here, and since it’s a bottle that’s hard to acquire, I don’t use it much. I’m a bit of a liquor hoarder. But you have to drive them all once in awhile.

So let’s drink some rye.

Nose: Lemony (yeah, GIANT lemon peel) with a sweetness. There’s a little whiskey essence, but that grenadine is the dominant smell. Sugary fruity sweet, with some lemon. Not terribly exciting.

Taste: Now, you might say “Gosh golly gee SquirrelFarts, 3/4 oz sounds like a lot of grenadine in that little cocktail,” and I might reply “You’re right. But who are you and what are you doing in my barpartment judging my drink decisions? Be off with you, post haste, lest my cane find your backside!” But it is quite sweet. So. Yeah. There’s a tiny bit of the grapey-ness from the vermouth, and a little caramel with bitterness from the rye. But it largely tastes of grenadine with some lemon. Not that it’s bad, but it’s very sweet.

Then the Lady Friend wanted a taste. Despite quaffing some Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA moments before, apparently she has a magic self-cleansing palate that can jump from big gobs of Cascade hops to a cocktail and give an accurate flavor assessment.
“Big surprise, smells like lemon” on the nose and tastes “Sweet. Not syrupy sweet but I don’t get much whiskey from that.
“I mean, it’s good.
“…because I don’t taste a lot of whiskey.”

I hate you.
Get out of my barpartment.

Rule 37: The Million Dollar Cocktail

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

I desperately need a cocktail.
Seizing a random cocktail recipe book (the New York Bartender’s Guide by Sally Ann Berk, a Goodwill find) I started flipping through looking for some sort of inspiration. Since I just happened to have acquired a big jug of Tanqueray (on super duper secret probationary sale), that’s the direction I was heading in. Now, there are several ways one can arrange a recipe book: alphabetically, chronologically, by primary liquor, or with seemingly no method whatsoever. Almost all are alphabetical, but this one happily goes the extra step and sorts everything by the base spirit, making it easier to find, say, a gin cocktail specifically. Also, the recipes are listed by parts (2 parts this to 1 part that), by ounces (oh yes thank you), and by milliliters, which I’m told is something used by people who don’t speak English, and therefore are of little importance to me. While perusing the pages (nice photography as well), I found myself stopping at the Million Dollar Cocktail. It seemed tasty enough, so I’ll give it a whirl.

Allegedly, this drink was invented by a dude named Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore around the early 20th century. This is right in Singapore Sling territory, also invented by Boon. A lot of recipes I’ve come across use egg white, but I’m using the book version, and passing on it. Also, many others suggest serving it as a highball, though again, I’m going to stick to the book and use a chilled cocktail glass. Moving away from the printed recipe however, I will add a dash of Angostura bitters, as that seems like a good suggestion from some of the other sites.

It’s good to be the king.

The Million Dollar Cocktail
From the New York Bartender’s Guide

– 2 oz gin (Tanqueray)
– 1 oz sweet vermouth
– 1 oz pineapple juice
– 1 tsp (dash) grenadine
– 1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake it up, serve in a chilled cocktail glass.
Other versions add egg white for extra body and frothiness, and serve as a highball.
It’ll allegedly make you feel like a million bucks.

It’s going to take a hell of a cocktail to make me feel that fantastic. Let’s see what happens.

Give it a whiff: yup. Gin. Though somewhat subdued. The pineapple doesn’t really have much of an aroma, but it does tame the juniper, and the mixture just winds up smelling like sweetened gin. Not a bad thing. Also, I double-strain my cocktails (strain through a Hawthorn strainer AND a tea strainer) to get rid of ice shards and pulp, but it also cuts down on the frothy foam that most shaken pineapple drinks will have. I just don’t like bits of ice in my drinks.

Now the taste: first impression is, again, gin, though the pineapple fruit sweetness comes washing right in behind it. There’s a vermouth grapey roundness, and a hit of the cinnamon spice from the Angostura in the finish. I only used one dash of bitters, where in most drinks I’ll use several, but here it’s perfectly suited to the solo spike. A little hint of the flavor without overwhelming the gin botanicals or the pineapple. The gin and pineapple play together very nicely; what is it about juniper and pineapple that works so well? I think it’s a sweet vs. spice quality that sets your tastebuds all a-quiver. See also: Royal Hawaiian.

The Lady Friend’s take: “GIN.
Half a moment later: “Oh, it’s not that bad though. Juniper right off the bat, but then it mellows out with the pineapple sweetness. Not bad.

Yeah. That’s a decent summation. Gin, but it’s not that bad.
I think it works rather nicely. Try one.

HTF Do I Make This? – Grenadine

So, this deals with a recipe, but not a cocktail. More of an ingredient for cocktails.


Here’s the deal. Grenadine is basically pomegranate syrup. You might think “why don’t they just call it pomegranate syrup?” but that has to do with the history of pomegranates themselves. It’s an ancient fruit (like Greek mythology type ancient) whose name comes from the Latin for “seeded apple.” From there we get the French pomme grenade, and it’s a quick jump from grenade to grenadine. In case you’re wondering, yes, grenades, those things you throw at enemy soldiers, comes from the French grenade for pomegranate because of the similar, hand-held shape.

And boom goes the pomegranate.

It’s a tasty red syrup, but there’s a big difference between the real stuff, and the bright red goo on store shelves. Rose’s is a popular brand, but it’s pretty much just sugar water with red food coloring. Sure, there’s “natural and artificial flavorings” but it doesn’t taste like much of anything. The real stuff is actually made from pomegranate juice, which itself has a pretty short list of ingredients. Very short, actually: 100% pomegranate juice. For grenadine you add sugar. Maybe a little orange blossom/flower water, and vodka as a preservative. But the main ingredient is the pomegranate juice. To make your own, you can juice a pomegranate, which is as difficult as plucking every little seed (called “arils”) and steeping, straining, juicing everything, or you can cut a pomegranate in half and throw it on your big ol’ juicer.

Both of those are too time consuming for me, so I skip all that and buy a bottle of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice.


The real stuff, but the easy way.

So now you’ve got your juice. Here’s where the methods split. There’s the easier “cold” method, which is to pour equal parts juice and sugar into a jar, and shake it. And shake. And shake. Until all the sugar is dissolved. Good luck with that. It might help if you heat the POM up first. This supposedly creates a brighter, fruitier syrup, though I like mine a little on the heavier side, so I use the “hot” method listed below. Apparently there’s also a “super cold” method using a bit of freeze reduction. Might try that one in the future as well.

1. Buy a bottle of POM

2. Boil it on the stove until it reduces by half (a simmer is preferred, but takes WAY longer)

3. Add 1 cup sugar per cup of reduced juice (superfine sugar dissolves easier, but regular granulated works fine)

4. Pour into a container of your choice (a condiment squeeze bottle works quite well

5. Add a few drops of orange flower water

6. Add a shot of vodka as a preservative

7. Keep it in the fridge, as sugar and juice will spoil if left out. Should last several months.

Now, the regular bottle of POM, which is what I used, is 16oz, or two cups. Reduce that down to one cup, and add one cup of sugar. This yields about 8-10oz, which was enough to last me several months with the last batch. Since then I’ve become fond of recipes such as the Jack Rose, Presidente, Red Raider, and others that use grenadine. When it says “a dash” I tend to add “a dollop” since it’s so tasty.

A note on reduction: I had no idea what this was until I made my first batch of grenadine. I’m not a chef. To reduce something means to boil it down, which typically concentrates it. I find that the reduction “hot” method of preparing grenadine makes a more viscous syrup, and gives it a deeper flavor. So how do you know when you’ve reduced the liquid by half? Well, the little trick I found was to stick a toothpick in the liquid when you first start, and mark the level with a permanent marker. Then, as it boils down, you can dip the toothpick and check the progress. Once you’ve hit the halfway mark on the toothpick, turn off the heat and dump in the sugar, stirring until it dissolves.

No comparison.

It’s stupidly easy. Trust me… I’m a lazy jerk, and even I make my own. The POM is a little pricey, but well worth it. Go make some.

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