Saturday, December 19, 2015

Spiced Pomegranate Liqueur

While I live in an apartment building and have something of a black thumb, I'm lucky enough to have friends who bring me fruit from their backyard trees every now and then. 

This fall, I was treated to a bag of pomegranates and a bag of persimmons. The pomegranates quickly began their transformation into a lovely liqueur that I'm just now enjoying. 

To get started, you'll need: 

1 750ml bottle nice but not too expensive vodka
4-6 pomegranates
2-3 one-inch pieces of lemon peel, white pith removed from the back
1/2 stick cinnamon (or 2-3 whole cloves)
1 large jar (3 quarts-ish)

To start with, remove the seeds from the pomegranates. This is the most difficult part of the whole process. There are lots of videos about how easy it is to do in a bowl of water or by simply whacking the back of a half pomegranate with a wooden spoon, but really, it's either a messy procedure or one that takes lots of patience to pick out the white pith. Luckily, either way, you get lots of delicious, nutritious pomegranate seeds. 

Mash the seeds a bit to expose the white parts inside. Place the seeds (red and white parts) in the large jar with the lemon peel, vodka and cinnamon once you're done with the removal. 
Cover the jar, give it a good swirl, and place in a cool, dark spot in the kitchen. Pick it up and swirl it around again every couple of days. 

Let sit for two weeks before straining. 

After the two weeks of straining, pour the mix through a strainer lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth or a big coffee filter. Mash the seeds a bit more and squeeze the cloth to get all the liquid you can out. 

I tasted it at this point and found the cinnamon way too much, but it has mellowed a lot since the second resting phase. It's just right now! 

Now you need: 
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

Return the liquid to the large jar. Add pomegranate juice and stir. 

Make a simple syrup: to a medium saucepan, add sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve the sugar. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature. 

Once the syrup is at room temperature, add to the jar. Stir well and return to its cool, dark hiding place. Let sit for another 4 weeks. 

Strain through a damp coffee filter, funnel into swing-top or other lidded bottles, and enjoy! 

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