I might have had a moment in college when I tried an underage drinking experiment but the truth is, drinking to excess has never been my thing and worrying about getting into trouble kept me from having too many of those experiences. So turning 21 was actually a big moment; when I could order a cocktail if out with friends after work or on a date with my boyfriend. I don’t remember exactly the first time I had a Bacardi Cocktail but I do remember is was my favorite drink to order; long before I considered the beauty of making cocktails at home.
Fast forward to my 28th year when I moved with my than husband from St. Louis to Raleigh, NC and to the relative jolt of going out for one of our first meals, ordering a cocktail and finding out about North Carolina’s dry laws. No cocktails, nope. You could bring a bottle of wine in with you or a bottle of hard liquor and order a mixer for it but the days of ordering a favorite cocktail in a restaurant were over for us. So, we could drive around with an open bottle of bourbon in the car but could not order a mixed drink at a bar. Today that seems the opposite of good practice if you want to curtail drinking but it stopped me cold. Until I thought about making my own. Why yes, I can do that!
According to a story in the Washington Post in 1937, at the end of Prohibition, the Bacardi Cocktail began to unseat the Martini as the most favored cocktail, something most thought could never happen. The Bacardi Cocktail was originally the same as the Daiquiri, containing rum, lime juice, and sugar. The Grenadine version of the Bacardi Cocktail originated in the US, while the original non-red Bacardi company recipe originated in Cuba. Combining Bacardi rum, lime and Grenadine in a cocktail shaker with ice and shaking until cold seems a precursor to today’s Cosmopolitan…pink, both sweet and tart and certainly trendy.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to make my own Grenadine syrup using pomegranate juice, sugar and a sliver of orange peel. It has a fabulous flavor and I loved it in the Sparkling Pomegranate Margarita but I had to go about it differently for Grenadine for this cocktail. Why? That result, using half sugar and half juice was in between pomegranate simple syrup and pomegranate molasses; it was thick and it was leading towards brown after cooking down with some orange added. This had to be red (or at least burgundy!) and it was as simple as just preparing the juice like a regular simple syrup, just enough heat to have the sugar melt…no cooking down this time around. It is gorgeous and a far cry from Rose’s Grenadine which might be called Grenadine but is without a single bit of Grenade (French for pomegranate) in it . Made with high fructose corn syrup, red dye #40 and a smidgeon of blue dye #1 to up the surreal hue just a bit; it’s flavor is closer to that of cough syrup than pomegranate!
This is not that. This is the perfect combination of sweet and tart and boozy and in my take…just a bit effervescent too! The taste is every bit as improved as the appearance with the homemade grenadine. This time around, so many years later I made it for myself and a very sweet friend that I met on Twitter but bonded with over Starbucks, biscuits and bacon. Sommerset was in town on company business and she was sweet enough to ‘help’ me test this effort. I hope we can do it again soon!
A wonderfully refreshing cocktail made with homemade grenadine syrup.
- 1 cup fresh or bottled Pomegranate juice (I used Pom Wonderful which was wonderful!)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp vodka (this is optional but does help to preserve it longer. Will last about 2 weeks in the fridge without the vodka and about 2 months with. Not suggested if you will be using to make your children Shirley Temples!)
- 3 jiggers Bacardi Rum
- Juice from one fresh lime
- 3 - 6 Tbsp Grenadine syrup depending on how sweet you want it to be.
- Sparkling Mineral Water (optional)
- Lime slices for garnish
- Combine the Pomegranate juice and sugar and heat until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate.
- Add the teaspoon of vodka if using.
- Fill 2 cocktail glasses with ice.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add the rum, lime juice and Grenadine to shaker, cover and shake 20-30 times to get thoroughly cold. Pour over ice in glasses.
- Add cold sparkling mineral water to top it off if desired.
- Garnished with a lime slice.