Pomegranate + Gin Cocktail [a holiday take on the "Martinez"]

Pomegranate + Gin Cocktail

I’m all about holiday baking, but what I really love are holiday cocktails. Bring on the cookies and cakes and pies…as long as you don’t forget to pour a little something special in my glass.

This Pomegranate + Gin Cocktail brings all the Christmas and New Years’ vibes – deep red color, bright gin, and sweet pomegranate flavor with a touch of orange from the Cointreau. It's inspired by the "Martinez," a cocktail that I didn't even know existed until about a month ago, but one that has quickly become a favorite.

Think of a Martinez like the perfect middle ground between a Manhattan (whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters) and a Martini (gin, dry vermouth). And just like with the Manhattan and Martini, there are a million variations of the Martinez. 

A traditional Martinez uses Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and orange bitters, although there are a thousand recipes out there with slightly varying ingredients and proportions. Because of the addition of pomegranate juice, I wouldn't quite call my version below a Martinez, but with the gin, vermouth, and bitters, you can definitely see a family resemblance. 

It’s the holiday season in a glass, and it doesn’t get much better than that. Cheers!

(To geek out a bit more on the Martinez Cocktail, check out this article from Saveur.)

Pomegranate + Gin Cocktail
Pomegranate + Gin Cocktail
Pomegranate + Gin Cocktail
Pomegranate + Gin Cocktail
Pomegranate + Gin Cocktail

Pomegranate + Gin Cocktail
Yields 1 drink

2 ounces gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce 100% pomegranate juice*
½ ounce Cointreau
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Strip of lemon zest and pomegranate arils

Put a cocktail glass in the freezer while you mix together the drink.

Add the gin, vermouth, pomegranate juice, Cointreau, and bitters to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir with a spoon for at least 15 seconds.

Remove the glass from the freezer, and rub the rim with a strip of lemon zest. Drop the zest in the glass.

Strain the cocktail from the shaker into the cold glass, and add a fresh ice cube and pomegranate arils. Serve and enjoy!

*Add more pomegranate juice if you prefer a sweeter cocktail. You can also top the drink off with sparkling water if you want to tone down the alcohol. 

This recipe was originally featured at Lark + Linen.

Ancho Chile Manhattan [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]

Ancho Chile Manhattan

It's the first snow day here in the Chicago area! The timing couldn't be more perfect. We set up our Christmas tree yesterday, and there's nothing sitting by the fire while the snow quietly falls. And to make room for the tree, we moved our TV to the basement...a move we're hoping will be a permanent one.

Ancho Chile Manhattan
Ancho Chile Manhattan

That means that if I want to enjoy the fire, falling snow, and twinkling lights, I have to do so without the accompaniment of The Office reruns or football games. We're not about to get rid of television all together, but at least this way, watching something won't be my immediate default. The option is no longer sitting there staring at me. It's a change I'll probably hate for the first couple weeks, but I think overall it'll be for the better.

I'm hoping to spend more time reading, which to me is the perfect cozy wintertime activity...and a good book requires a good beverage.

Ancho Chile Manhattan

I first started playing around with this recipe a few months ago, when I was trying to figure out how to use the huge stash of ancho chiles I acquired. Yeah, random, I know. My brother was using ancho chiles for something and had extras, which then ended up at my house. So, if you've been following me for a while and you're wondering why I have two ancho chile posts in the last couple months, now you know why. (There will probably be more to come, too.) 

This drink is a twist on the Manhattan, one of the most quintessential cocktails. Part of me doesn't want to mess with the perfection that the Manhattan already is, but then again, I can't help but change things up. I used Elk Rider Bourbon Whiskey from Heritage Distilling Company, and instead of the traditional angostura, this version uses orange bitters. The sweet vermouth is partially subbed out for ancho chile simple syrup, which gives this a spicy kick.

It's a cocktail that will warm you from the inside out - perfect for snow days, by the fire, with a good book in hand. 

Ancho Chile Manhattan

Ancho Chile Manhattan
Yields 1 cocktail

2 1/2 ounces bourbon (such as Elk Rider Bourbon)
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce ancho chile simple syrup (recipe below)
2 dashes orange bitters
Strip of lemon or orange zest

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, along with a handful of ice. Stir well, for about 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass. Serve with a strip of lemon or orange zest. 

Simple Syrup
1 ancho chile
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Cut the ancho chile in half, and toss it in a small saucepan (along with all the seeds). Add the water and sugar. Heat over high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar melts and the mixture comes to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, and simmer about 5-7 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. The syrup will thicken slightly as it cools.

Strain out the chile and the seeds using a fine mesh strainer. Store syrup in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Yields about 10 ounces of syrup.

P.S. Need an affordable cocktail shaker set ? Click here to check out the one I have!

Elk Rider Bourbon was provided by Heritage Distilling Co. All opinions are 100% my own.