Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic
I find one is always in need of both a cocktail that isn’t so heavy you want to sit in a corner and listen to music (oh, is that just me?) and a drink mix that goes well with or without alcohol. While pomegranates are in season in the winter in the U.S., the frozen seeds can be found in the freezer all year. So drink this pomegranate cocktail or mocktail all year round. It fits the bill in the summer, when you want something light and fizzy to combat the heat. Or during the other months of the year when you are staying with something not too sweet but celebratory. I am enchanted with the sweet, floral vanilla brightness balanced with a fragrant cardamom. Serve with samosas, pakoras, or any other comforting finger foods.
Make it Your Own Drink
If you aren’t a cardamom fan, use cinnamon or allspice instead. They both are a good match with pomegranate. Not a pomegranate fan? Use cranberry juice instead, garnished with a float for fresh cranberries. The same flavorings of vanilla and cardamom will work beautifully. The key to this drink is to taste, taste, taste. You need to balance the sourness of the lemon, the amount of simple syrup that you add for the sweetness and spice, and how much bubbly you add. You may find that you want more cardamom or vanilla as well.
I was inspired by the vanilla simple syrup from Honestly Yum. With food I want to cook and beautiful photographs, this blog is a collaboration by San Francisco area food lovers. Thank you!
See the Notes below before you make.
Pomegranate Cocktail or Mocktail
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 cardamom pods ~ Coarsely crushed or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 ounces pomegranate juice ~ Unsweetened and chilled
- 3 ounces sparkling wine ~ Prosecco, Champagne, Cava, sparkling water or seltzer, chilled
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- 1 slice lemon
- In a small saucepan over high heat add the water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves; turn down the heat to a low simmer and add the crushed or ground cardamom. Allow the cardamom to steep for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and strain.
- This simple syrup recipe yields about 3/4 cup and keeps well in the refrigerator for 6 months.
- I also played around with a fresh ginger and cardamom twist. Instead of the vanilla, use 2 or 3 quarter-sized slices of ginger, or 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons for freshly grated ginger. Or maybe keep the vanilla. Have fun playing and making this concoction your own!