Grenadine and the BACARDI Cocktail

February 25, 2010

Let me ask you a question regarding two different sets of ingredients. Which of the following set of ingredients would you rather consume: 1) High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Red 40, Blue 1 or 2) 100% Pomegranate Juice and Sugar? Personally, I rather consume the product that has the least amount of chemicals (or no chemicals what so ever). Its safer, healthier and most importantly, it tastes better. Choice number one was the set of ingredients of grenadine syrup that you pick up at the supermarket or your local liquor store. Extremely sweet, overpoweringly reddish and lacking the delicious flavor of pomegranates. The second set of ingredients I gave you was a homemade version of grenadine syrup; just two simple ingredients that you can pick up on your next trip to the supermarket or convenience store.

Recipe for Homemade Grenadine

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of POM 100% pomegranate juice

Procedure: Get yourself a large flask or bottle and place both, the sugar and the pomegranate juice inside. Seal the flask or bottle and get ready to shake. When I say shake, I mean shake it like you mean it! Shake until you are able to see that there is no sugar left at the bottom of the flask or bottle. Also, here are a few additions that you might want to add to your homemade grenadine: 1) After the shaking is done and you use your grenadine for the first time, you are going to notice that the red color of the syrup is a little weak. I recommend (but not required) adding between 15-25 drops of red food coloring to wake up the red inside the grenadine. 2) To preserve the grenadine for up 6-8 weeks in your refrigerator, I would add 2oz. grain alcohol (if grain alcohol isn’t available for you, vodka will work just fine).

Now you may ask yourself, way would I bother making it myself when I can just buy the finished product? Well a couple of reasons why the homemade version is best. First, you are able to control the ingredients that you use. You know that you are using 100% pomegranate juice and sugar. Freshness is always a plus. Second, you are able to control the sweetness of the syrup. You can add a little more sugar (I personally add two extra ounces to mine) to make the syrup more to your liking. And third, you are probably getting more quality for your money.

A great cocktail that you can use your very own homemade grenadine syrup is the BACARDI Cocktail, a spiced up version of the daiquiri, which can only be made with Bacardi Superior Rum. Yes, in 1936 the state of New York proclaimed that the BACARDI Cocktail could only be made with Bacardi Superior.

BACARDI Cocktail

1.5 oz. Bacardi Superior Rum

1 oz. Simple Syrup

1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

4 dashes of your homemade Grenadine Syrup

Procedure: Place all ingredients inside your shaker filled with ice. Shake until the tin part of your shaker is frosted. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This is one of those cocktails that you can change up the measurements of your ingredients to your taste. Instead of using the simple syrup, you can substitute it for a full ounce of your homemade grenadine syrup. Also, you can change the amount of acidity to sweetness by adding or taking away .25 ounces of the lime juice. But always remember that in a BACARDI Cocktail you always use Bacardi Superior Rum. Enjoy!!!

Pacharan and A Cloud Over Navarra

February 1, 2010

During these past Holidays, I was fortunate enough to travel abroad and spend some needed time away from school and close to my family. We decide to take a short 2-hour plane ride to the Dominican Republic, where my aunt and uncle live. I’ve been to the Dominican Republic twice already, and every time I go back, I enjoy the trip even more. From the difference in cultures to the Mofongo (If you know what Mofongo is, you know what I’m talking about), from the merengue to the driving skills one must have to drive around Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic is a great holiday getaway for me.

Whenever I’m abroad, I like to go to the local or nearest liquor store to find some spirits that I haven’t heard of. But, if you go to a liquor store in Santo Domingo on a Friday night, you are in for a culture shock. In Miami, whenever I’m low on some liquor from my home bar, I just take my car, go to the liquor store, buy the liquor and go home. In Santo Domingo, things are a little different. One Friday evening, while we were driving around Santo Domingo, I ask my aunt to take me to a liquor store she knew. She said no problem. As we approached the liquor store, the contagious rhythm of merengue was getting louder and louder. When we finally got to the store, people were having a great time listening and dancing to merengue, and drinking. Yup, drinking outside a liquor store. From what I’ve heard from my cousin is that people, for example, buy a bottle of Brugal and a 2-litter bottle of Coke in the store, turn up the radio from their cars and create a get-together outside the liquor store. Ahhh, I wish the day that could happen in Miami. But anyways, back to the point. When I entered the store I looked and looked until I find a spirit I had never heard of, Pacharan.

Pacharan is a liqueur that is commonly drunk in Navarra, Spain. It is made from sloe berries. Now, don’t get confused. Pacharan and sloe gin are different liqueurs. Pacharan is made from the maceration of sloe berries in an anise-flavored spirit. They are macerated in a cool place for about 7 to 8 months and then reduced with sugar. The Pacharan from Navarra has to have a red or intense pink color and an alcohol content of 25% – 30%. On the other hand, sloe gin uses the same sloe berries, which have been prickled, placed in a jar with sugar, gin, few cloves, cinnamon and almond essence. The mixture will turn red and for a full extraction a flavor, enough sugar has to be used.

After walking around the liquor store twice, along with the Pacharan, I decided to buy a bottle Ron Barceló Gran Platinum and with the help of sugar syrup, lime juice, Angostura Bitters and egg white, I created “A Cloud Over Navarra”

A Cloud Over Navarra

2 oz. Pacharan (I used La Navarra)

1 oz. Light Rum (I used Ron Barceló Gran Platinum)

.5 oz. Sugar Syrup (See recipe below)

.5 oz. Lime Juice

2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

1 Egg White

Procedure: Place all ingredients inside a boston shaker and dry shake (no ice) to aerate the egg white and create a foam. After a good 10 second shake, place ice inside your shaker and shake for at least 15 seconds or until frost forms on the outside of your tin. Strain with a Hawthorn strainer into a pre-chilled cocktail glass and serve.

Simple Syrup Recipe:

1 cup of water

1 cup of sugar

Place ingredients in a sauce pan and let it simmer on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved. After the sugar has dissolved, pour ingredients into a bottle and place it in your fridge. Don’t use the simple syrup before one hour has passed. The simple syrup will last several weeks in your refrigerator.