As I write this, December is officially upon us. Winter holiday parties over take our schedules, variations from the Nutcracker Suite serenade us in the shopping malls, and the kids are getting together their wish lists; It's a joyous season - especially when it can be combined with seasonal food and drinks for our family and friends!
I began brainstorming for a festive holiday cocktail almost as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers were put away. I wanted to try to hit upon all those sweet and spicy notes we come to associate with this time of year. Sweet pomegranates & oranges, spicy clove & cinnamon, and the smooth, almost floral aspects, of a fine gin (one of my new found loves).
It was a wonderful coincidence that the great people at the French made G'Vine brand sent me several samples of their product to taste (disclaimer: they did send some free samples, but all opinions are entirely my own, and a little bit from my husband. I haven't been compensated...unfortunately for me).
I was particularly struck by the spicy and very complex aroma and taste of their Nouaison gin. When paired with pomegranate, citrus notes from fresh lime juice and my homemade orange simple syrup, plus a splash of tonic... Well, this became an especially delicious drink.
Fruity, spicy, and layered, I definitely wanted more than one! What I really appreciate though, is this cocktail can be made in large batches for parties, but not so strong that after enjoying one you'll start to tell your great aunt Gert what you really think of her brightly hued Christmas sweater!
Pomegranate Gin Fizz
Makes (1) 6 ounce drink
1 1/2 ounces G'Vine Nouaison gin (or gin of your choosing, though I recommend this one for the complex 'spicy' taste)
2 ounces Pom pomegranate juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons orange simple syrup*
2 ounces tonic water
Fill a shaker half way full of ice. Add the gin, pomegranate juice, and orange simple syrup. Juice 1 lime and use 1/2 an ounce and add to the shaker.
Close the shaker up and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
Fill a cocktail tumbler with several ice cubes.
Strain the gin mix into the tumbler and stir in 2-3 ounces of tonic soda. Garnish with a twist of orange or lime peel.
* the orange simple syrup is a lovely light citrus in this cocktail (see below). If you prefer your drinks less sweet, stick to adding just 1 tablespoon before shaking.
*Orange Simple Syrup*
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
peeled rind of 1 large navel orange
Combine all the ingredients into a medium saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Stir occasionally, until the mix reaches a boil. Boil for 3 minutes and remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature and discard the rind. Pour into a covered container or jar and refrigerate. Good for a week or so.