Several months ago my friend Paula from the blog Vanilla Bean Baker sent me a variety of periodicals that included ‘mocktails’ – a cocktail that is devoid of alcohol. I’ve been thinking of adding a selection of mocktails to The Friday Cocktail but until today I’ve sure not acted on it. When my friend Rachael from La FujiMama asked me to craft one for her readers; well this might be the start of something big! Many of the cocktails that I make can be reborn as a mocktail; it’s pretty easy when they have a gin or vodka base; re-creating something with bourbon or rum would be much harder so those I would shy away from. In the case of this pomegranate beauty, it was easy; I simply substituted a lemon flavored sparkling water when I made Rachael’s version instead of the Prosecco I used in mine.
With the Oscars upon us, I was inspired to make something ‘Red Carpet’ ready. I’m so besotted with these two seasonal beauties; I just love pomegranates and the amazing oranges that are so perfect right now. I used Cara Cara oranges for this preparation today but would have loved blood oranges too; their juice is a bit sweeter and a nice compliment to the tangy pomegranate juice.
As I mentioned to Rachael’s readers, despite the fact that I get called the ‘booze queen’ by many, it might surprise some how little I actually imbibe. I’m a social drinker; so unless I have planned well and have friends stopping by, I often just taste the result of an effort but seldom actually drink a whole cocktail unless it’s in the evening. No drunk tweeting from me at 10am! More? I often substitute sparkling water when I’m making a cocktail for a photo shoot where I call for sparkling wine. Why? Well, one $10-12 bottle of sparkling wine just for a photo is a bit too pricey for me; besides the big benefit is that I can actually enjoy the results when I do a morning or afternoon shoot; like right now!
This ‘Red Carpet’ cocktail really was perfect. It was beautiful, refreshing to drink with that bit of bubbly and had the bonus of something fun…pom arils. How I love those little beauties. Gorgeous. Sweet. Tart. Succulent. All wrapped up in one little gem. I think it is probably the perfect fruit! If you missed my post recently on how to clean one easily; do check it out. The fear of a huge mess keeps many away from this treasure; in this case all it takes is a bowl of cold water and a bit of time.
I knew pretty quickly the components I wanted to use and I knew how I wanted to use them. The problem is that the pomegranate arils and I were so not on the same page! I expected them to sink; they decided to swim. When I gave in and decided to just have them float? Some got tired and sank to the floor. Seriously. I did two photo shoots and was not happy with the results. I do not have time to do multiple shoots but I also could not imagine using photos that just didn’t represent what I had in my head…so third time it was; and it was a charm!
Finaly I had a moment of inspiration and clarity and went with it. Nestled among ice chips; they stayed put and my work was finally done. I loved this cold, crisp beverage with a surprise in every sip!
Do me and yourself a favor? If you don’t already know Rachael…please go visit her. She is, in my mind at least, the epitome of an enigma. La FujiMama. Japanese food specialist beyond compare. Every bit of her blue-eyed, blond Southern California girl self…she is amazing! Go NOW!
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 3 Tbsp Grenadine (I make my own; recipe at http://www.creative-culinary.com/bacardi-cocktail-another-classic)
- 3 Tbsp Orange Simple Syrup (Mix ½ cup sugar with ¼ cup strained orange juice; heat just until sugar dissolves and then cool before using for recipe)
- Crushed Ice
- Arils from 1 Pomegranate
- Chilled Prosecco or any sparkling wine you prefer
- Orange twists for garnish
- Chill glasses in freezer.
- Combine Pomegranate juice, Grenadine and Orange simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 10-12 seconds.
- Fill cocktail glasses with crushed ice. Sprinkle a generous amount (approx 2 Tablespoons) of Pomegranate arils over ice and then fill glass ¾ full with the juice mixture.
- Finish by filling glasses with the sparkling wine and garnish top with an orange twist.
Just for my readers; a special treat…here is what I guess we could call an ‘outtake’ from today…I just hated it! Too orange. Do you know I hate orange? It’s a Red Carpet; not an Orange Carpet!!