This holiday season, while most people relaxed and enjoyed themselves, I was hard at work perfecting what will years from now be looked back on as the perfect Christmas drink repertoire. The way I see it, every self-respecting drinker needs five go-to libations to get them through the five drinking stages of Christmas: (1) pre-Christmas; (2) Christmas Eve Dinner; (3) Christmas Eve After-Dinner; (4) Christmas Morning; (5) Christmas After-Dinner. Serve a little wine with Christmas dinner and this collection of seasonal drinks will guide you smoothly through next year’s “most wonderful time of the year.” I’ve already discussed the perfect pre-Christmas drink, Rye Egg Nog, so lets move on to Christmas Eve . . .
Stage 2: Christmas Eve - Pomegranate Bourbon Cocktail (from Serious Eats)
1/4 oz pomegranate molasses
1/2 oz pomegranate juice
1/2 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
2 oz bourbon
Dash of Angostura bitters
Orange peel for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add pomegranate molasses, pomegranate juice, orange juice, whiskey and bitters.
Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Gently squeeze together the orange peel to release the oils, then place into cocktail and serve.
For Christmas Eve I chose something appropriate for the season – a warm brown spirit paired with the tart, acidic, and slightly sweet pomegranate. I found the pomegranate molasses used here at Whole Foods, and it adds a unexpected tartness which pairs perfectly with a sweet bourbon. I added 1/4 oz simple syrup to the original recipe, but only to overcome the fact that the oranges we juiced were a bit flat. You might adjust the sugar based on the sweetness of your oranges.
This drink is very nicely balanced. The tartness of the pomegranate works really well with the whiskey, complementing rather than overpowering the bourbon. Definitely a spirit forward drink, but any whiskey lovers should enjoy this complex and subtly fruity winter cocktail.
Coming soon – Christmas After-Dinner: Tom & Jerry
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