Earlier this week Saveur published a Whiskey Cocktails microsite, which listed over a dozen whiskey recipes, primarily culled from a September 2011 story on handcrafted whiskey cocktails. One of the more approachable recipes was a Lady Shirley. It is a bourbon drink with grenadine, lemon juice, and soda water. I thought that it would be a nice Sunday project to make my own grenadine (and whiskey cocktail).
The Saveur recipe recommends using Employees Only grenadine, which is a hand crafted mix of pomegranate and spices. I would have liked to use that because most popular grenadines, such as Rose’s, consists mostly of corn syrup. The only way to get this grenadine is to place a Fresh Direct order and wait for delivery, but I wanted to have this cocktail today. I had to make my own grenadine.
I had never made grenadine before so I searched online for a variety of recipes. The best recipe was by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, which consists of ingredients I could easily get (fresh pomegranate juice and sugar) and a couple I could not (orange blossom water and pomegranate molasses). Although I wasn’t sure how to substitute for the missing ingredients, I liked his recipe because it was didn’t require you to reduce the pomegranate juice to a thick syrup. Instead of the orange blossom water and pomegranate molasses, I thought I would use reduced black cherry juice to thicken it and give it a different level of tartness.
Here’s what I used for the grenadine:
- 2 cups of fresh pomegranate juice, either fresh squeezed, according to Morgenthaler’s instructions, or unsweetened juice from concentrate (such as Pom or R.W. Knudsen).
- 2 cups of sugar. I was running low so I used a mix of evaporated cane juice and Demerara brown sugar.
- 4 ounces of black cherry juice. I again used R.W. Knudsen.
As Morgenthaler writes, you basically only need to heat the pomegranate juice enough to melt the sugar. I heated the juice for a few minutes in a saucepan. After the juice had become warm, I transferred juice and combined it with the sugar in a quart-sized Mason jar. I then heated the cherry juice in the same saucepan, reducing it by half (about ten minutes). I emptied the cherry syrup to the mason jar, shook it, and chilled it until it was “refrigerator” cold. In retrospect, I would have squeezed an orange, enough for a splash, to give it a different citrus flavor.
Once my grenadine chilled, I then made the cocktail.
- 2 ounces of bourbon. Cheap is fine: I used Evan Williams.
- 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice. That’s about a half a lemon’s worth.
- 1 ounce of my grenadine.
Combine the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and then pour into a glass full of crushed ice. Add a lemon wedge, not pictured, for garnish. This recipe is a little different from the aforementioned Lady Shirley because I used only half as much lemon juice (I hadn’t bought very many lemons today), and I did not finish the drink with soda water because I had used so much crushed ice which melts quickly and “dampens” the cocktail.
Try it out and let me know what you think.