Persephone’s Ascent

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Persephone’s Ascent. Vintage glass by Peg Leg Vintage. Photo by Susan Whitney.

Persephone’s Ascent

1.5 oz Hendrick’s Gin
1.0 oz pomegranate juice
0.75 oz Henriques & Henriques Malvasia Madeira
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.25 oz homemade grenadine (recipe below)

Shake ingredients, then strain into a 10-ounce collins glass filled with crushed ice .

Garnish with a lemon wheel.


Spring’s welcome return has me pondering the Greek myth about Persephone. After abducting Persephone to make her his bride, Hades slipped her a mickey in the form of pomegranate seeds that, based on Mount Olympic rules, meant she could never leave the underworld. Demeter, Persephone’s mom and goddess of the harvest, said, “Aw, hell, no!” and refused to let anything grow until a deal was brokered with Hades that allowed Persephone to spend part of the year with her bad-ass momma. Persephone’s time in the underworld represented fall and winter, and her return each year signalled the beginning of spring.

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Persephone’s Ascent. Photo by Susan Whitney.

This week’s cocktail tips its hat to the myth by using pomegrate juice and homemade grenadine, a syrup made from mixing equal parts sugar and organic, unsweetened pomegranate juice with 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice and 2 drops of rose water, then boiling it for five to ten minutes until it coats the back of a spoon. The finished product bears little resemblance to the formerly ubiquitous bottle of Rose’s that used to languish behind the bar until someone ordered a tequila sunrise. Hendrick’s Gin forms the backbone of the cocktail, and Henriques & Henriques Malvasia Madeira gives it a funky undertone. Finally, half an ounce of lemon juice adds an acidic note that compliments the pomegranate. The final product tastes like we’ve left winter, and that beast Hades, behind — for a while, at least.


Grenadine Syrup

1 cup organic, unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp lemon juice
2 – 3 drops rose water

Mix ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and let boil for five to ten minutes until it coats the back of a spoon. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to one month.

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