This Friday cocktail recipe is posted with heavy shame. I’m sorry, but it’s the way it sometimes goes with blog posts. I’ll always be honest with you. Regrettably, there are multiple levels of shame here. Ignorance, laziness, bad planning, haste, forced collusion. It all started when Jeff Houck, the Tampa journalist (the sounds so much more formidable than a, doesn’t it? and since I like the guy’s work, he’s definitely a the), wrote an article about digital food books, which noted this excellent iBook called 25 Classic Cocktails. I asked the guys who made it to do a guest post and offer some cocktails. They chose a Pink Lady and also gave the recipe for a variant, the Clover Club, which is a Pink Lady without the applejack.
While on a trip to LA, I was with my Picadillo pal Nathan who said that he and our mutual friend Annie had gone on a Clover Club tear after my post. I had been down in Key West at the time of the post, drinking Dark & Stormys with the boys (no pink drinks for them). But after Nathan’s remark I thought, let’s try this thing. So when Donna texted she was at the store and did I need anything, I texted back “grenadine.”
Here’s where the shame comes in. I knew that grenadine was originally pomegranate syrup and I knew that what Donna would buy would be the generic red syrup, but I didn’t want her to go searching for the real stuff even if the store carried it. It was late, she was leaving town soon, I wanted a Clover Club, dinner had to be made. As I was setting up the above photo before Donna left town I read the label of the Rose’s grenadine. It didn’t even attempt to describe the flavor or what it was. Why? Because this is what it is: high-fructose corn syrup, water, citric acid, sodium benzoate, red dye #40, natural and artificial flavors (what’s the difference? they don’t say), and something called blue #1.
So we made the above cocktail anyway. Shame, but there it is. It’s redeemed somewhat by the noble egg white, and it tasted really good. Really good. Taste goes a long way. While Donna was downloading her pix I gave her a taste and at first I thought she hated it, but she said, “That is really good.”
I did a little research. I didn’t want red #40 or blue #1 in my house, let alone in my drink. I asked Danny Guess, the master behind the bar at Fly Bar and Restaurant and the man who describes and demos each drink in lovely videos in the aforementioned iBook. “Real grenadine,” he wrote back immediately, “actually comes from the juice of pomegranates, and is wonderfully rich, slightly floral, deep in texture, and the perfect balance of sweet and tart.” (The word grenadine comes from the French word for pomegranate).
“If you’re not trying to spend hours perfecting your own, the cheapest and fastest way is to buy a bottle of POM pomegranate juice, and use equal parts sugar and juice. I like the cold process method (just get a sealed container, add the juice and sugar and shake it until all the sugar is dissolved). This method doesn’t heat up the juice, and preserves that fresh pomegranate flavor. A couple drops of orange flower water will boost the complexity. The color can be a little off with this method, as the syrup comes out a little darker than ideal, but the taste is there.”
So much more to say here, about the egg white, about the straining of this cocktail, about how delicious this cocktail is, even with red sugar water, but here is the ultimate moment of shame. The following day, hunting for the Dijon mustard in the refrigerator door, I came across a lovely little red bottle and I my heart nearly stopped. It contained actual pomegranate syrup, made painstakingly from actual pomegranate seeds by my dear friend Anton Zuiker, aka Mister Sugar, and given to me as a gift shortly before Christmas when he and his impossibly lovely wife Erin swung through Cleveland. I tasted it immediately. It was fantastic. A swoon of love and regret, and more shame. A forgotten gift, the purchase of crappy food, bringing my blameless wife into to the whole mess.
We, of course, shot this earlier in the week, so, happily I can indeed redeem this day with good work and a prayer for forgiveness, followed by a proper Clover Club using Anton’s wonderful pomegranate syrup.
- 60 grams gin (2 ounces)
- 20 grams lemon juice (3/4 ounce)
- 20 grams simple syrup
- 10 grams grenadine (a teaspoon or two)
- 1 egg white
- Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker. Dry shake.
- Add ice. Shake once more, vigorously.
- Pour out of shaker through a strainer into a chilled glass (more about this in next week’s post, and in the below video).
If you liked this post, check out these other links:
- My recent cocktail posts on the Key Lime Daiquiri and the Traverse City Zinger.
- The Intoxicologist shares her cocktail recipes that use egg whites.
- How to make your own grenadine syrup, by Portland, OR, mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler.
© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.