I Think I’m Falling for You
Shake the first three ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Top with cider, and stir gently to combine.
Garnish with grated nutmeg.
I was walking through the the grocery store and saw pomegranates for the first time since spotting them hanging on a tree in southern California this summer.
The owner was in the the front yard and informed me that the fruit, which already looked delicious, wouldn’t be ripe until fall. Maybe he was just making sure I didn’t snatch it, but, regardless, I decided to wait until the fall to craft another cocktail around grenadine. Now that fall is upon us, I’m feeling too lazy to extract the juice from the fruit, so I use a bottle of organic 100% pomegranate juice instead, but at least I have the whole fruit for pictures and can toss the tasty seeds into a salad.
Instead of plunging headlong into bourbon, I’m going to ease us into brown liquor season by building the drink around a dark rum. I grab a bottle Bacardí 8 Años Rum and consider pairings. Apple and ginger are apt harbingers of crisp evenings in snuggly sweaters, but how to integrate them? I decide to start by infusing the grenadine with ginger.
I peel enough ginger to yield a minced tablespoon, which I add to a jar with 1/2 cup each of superfine sugar and pomegranate juice and shake until the sugar has dissolved, then put the syrup in the fridge to infuse for an hour and a half. Once infused, I pour the grenadine through a fine strainer, squeezing all the juice out of the minced ginger before discarding it. I taste it and am pleased that the ginger is undeniable but doesn’t overwhelm.
I have a can of Graft Farm Flor Rustic Cider, so I use it to bring the funk, acidity and apple to the drink. It’s a wild yeast fermented cider made in Newburgh, New York, and I love it.
To make the cocktail, I pour 2 ounces of Bacardí 8 Años Rum, 1/2 ounce of gingered grenadine and 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters into a small shaker of ice. I shake it for about 20 seconds, then strain it into a chilled coupe. I pour in 1.5 ounces of the cider, stir gently to mix, then take a sip.
I am thoroughly pleased and not a little surprised by what I taste. Rarely do I feel like my cocktails approach alchemy, but if I didn’t know better, I’d swear it contains Amontillado Sherry. It’s dangerously smooth and delicious. I’d been considering a twist for garnish but it’s clear upon tasting that grated nutmeg is in order.
As I sit with my delicious cocktail, my mind drifts to the spirit that comprises half of the recipe, Bacardí 8 Años Rum. Like most of you, I’ve been following the devastation wrought in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria, and I wonder how Bacardí’s San Juan factory fared in the storm. According to this article at PubClub.com, the factory survived but sustained damage and will remain closed until further notice. That said, the company has rolled with a lot of punches in its more than 150 years in business and has long had factories in multiple locations, so it will take more than a hurricane to knock it off its feet. In fact, Bacardí has pledged to donate $2 million in disaster assistance to Puerto Rico and $1 million to other area affected by recent natural disasters including Florida, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Mexico.
If you’re looking for ways to help the American people of Puerto Rico, DC chef José Andrés has to date distributed over 1 million meals across the island. Click here to donate to his efforts and allow me to raise my glass to you. ¡Salud!
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup organic 100% pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon peeled, minced ginger
Add ginger, sugar and pomegranate juice to a jar, lid it and shake until the sugar has dissolved, then put it in the fridge to infuse for an hour and a half. Once infused, pour the grenadine through a fine strainer, squeezing all the juice out of the minced ginger before discarding it. Store for up to two weeks.