cocktail recipes, drink experiments, good cocktails

Drinks that evoke, not erase, memories

For my latest cocktail experiments I went old school. It was quite by accident, but the results were pleasant.

When I was 11 or so, my family took ski trips in Germany and stayed in a WWII-era hotel where they served syrupy Shirley Temples heaping with maraschino cherries.  I have fond memories of slurping those down while playing Pac Man, Space Invaders and pinball in the tiny arcade. When I kept running into grenadine in various cocktail recipes, those tooth-achingly sweet drinks came to mind. Eventually I learned that real grenadine is actually made with pomegranate juice and only bears the color red in common with the commercial “grenadine” sold in the U.S.  And, it is ridiculously easy to make.

Tequila Sunrise with homemade grenadine

Easy homemade grenadine

1. Combine 1 bottle (16 oz) of pomegranate juice with 1 c. of sugar
2. Simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the mix coats the back of a spoon
3. Remove from heat and add a couple dashes of orange flower water (I found mine near the bottled grenadine at the grocery store – but don’t be tempted to buy that instead!)
4. Once cooled, pour into an airtight bottle and refrigerate. It will keep for 2-3 weeks and makes about 2 cups.

After I made my batch, I taste-tested it against a forgotten bottle of Rose’s brand grenadine …what a difference! They taste nothing alike. While both sweet, the homemade grenadine is a bit thicker, richer and has a slight tartness. The store-bought grenadine has high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and dyes red 40 and blue 1. It looked pretty going down the drain: I’m pretty sure my regular Diet Cokes give me all the liquid chemicals a body needs.

Now was the time for my kids to try their nick-namesakes the Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers drinks. I didn’t have any glowing-red maraschino cherries, but the drinks disappeared quickly anyway (I used about 4 oz each of 7-up and cola with 1/2 oz each of grenadine).

Moving on, I decided to try a classic with grenadine, the Tequila Sunrise. If I’ve ever had this iconic 70’s drink, I must not have been too impressed. But perhaps that was due to artificial grenadine or crud tequila in some college bar, because the one I mixed tonight was so very tasty.  So easy and no shaker required!

Tequila Sunrise

1 ½ oz tequila
3 oz orange juice
¼ to ½ oz homemade grenadine

Mix the tequila and orange juice over ice, then slowly add the grenadine to achieve the “sunrise” effect. This would be a nice party drink because larger quantities of the tequila and orange juice can be mixed in advance and each serving quickly finished with the grenadine.

Lastly, when patrolling for recipes to use my new grenadine (and there are tons à la Google), I ran into a drink that uses Jägermeister, that nemesis of shot-haters everywhere. I’m quite curious about this drink:

Bed of Roses    

1 ½  oz Jägermeister
2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz homemade grenadine syrup
½ oz fresh lime juice
Lime slice and cherry for garnish

Combine all ingredients and shake over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish, sip and then post a comment here to tell me how it is!

When I asked Red Hook if we had any Jägermeister (buried deep) in the liquor cabinet, his response was a weary, “I don’t know what’s in there anymore.” 

Yes, it’s probably better that way.

Cheers, ICE


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One Response to “Drinks that evoke, not erase, memories”

  1. Kari at MamaBloo Says:

    Tequila sunrises are my FAVORITE! And bartenders usually look at me with genuine confusion when I request it. We will be trying this one out for sure!