Mixology Monday: Pomegranate Star Sour


mxmologoWhat better way to start the week than with a twist on a classic. This month’s Mixology Monday theme (hosted by Andrea of Ginhound) is Sours, that class of drinks that is simply a spirit, a sour, and sugar. Usually the sour is citrus–it’s quite effective as far as sours go–but I had the better part of a bottle of pomegranate juice cooling its heels in my fridge and while some might describe pomegranate as tart, I’d say it does a good job of sour on its own.

So what to pair with it? Since the unsweetened pomegranate juice packs some serious pucker-power, I wanted to offset it with sweet without being too obvious about it. Enter Honey Bourbon, which does a wonderful job of being sweet and smokey all at once, without overpowering anything. Plus it’s a nod to the most celebrated version of this drink: the whiskey sour; there’s something to be said for keeping tradition alive and all that.

Now, you could say the bourbon would take care of the sugar aspect as well, but a 2-ingredient cocktail isn’t my preferred method. For the sugar element I pulled another staple in our fridge: the star anise sugar syrup that does so very well in my non-alcoholic punches.

Pomegranate Star Sour

Pomegranate Star Sour

Pomegranate Star Sour

1 1/2 oz Honey Bourbon
1 oz Pomegranate Juice
3/4 oz Star Anise Simple Syrup*

Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into a chilled low ball glass (or, if you really want to step it up, an actual sour glass) and garnish with a twist of lemon and a spare anise star.

I admit, I prefer my drinks sweet, but mixing up a sour reminds me of the night I drove down to the coast to here a local band play. It was a questionable decision, at best, to go to an unknown bar alone, a good hour’s drive from home. A barefoot local sent me a drink, the bartender who delivered it cautioned me that while he was harmless that maybe it was better to sit at the bar rather than the corner of the room I’d chosen for the best view of the band. Some guys on a bachelor party outing also invited me out to their condo for an after party, and while they also seemed harmless enough, I stayed through the band’s final set, nursed my amaretto sour, and made it home without any additional adventures.

*For the Star Anise Simple Syrup, make a 1:1 simple syrup and simmer a couple of star anise pods in it for at least 5 minutes. I like to leave the pods in the mixture while storing it in the fridge to make sure the flavor doesn’t dull. Goes especially well with a glass of ginger beer.

Cosmic Cocktails | Sagittarius | The Great Hunt


The Great Hunt, Sagittarian cocktail

Starting off the final four in our zodiacal bacchanal is Sagittarius, the Archer.

It’s no great stretch of the imagination to believe that the Sagittarian is always on the hunt for one thing or another, that it truly is the chase that drives them. Consequently, once one trial is done, the next one must come quick on it’s heals or our Sagittarian may become morose and unruly.

Because of their must-keep-hunting nature, sales is a fantastic job with someone in the sun sign of Sagittarius. Sales, consulting, and other jet-setting fields also give them a great sense of freedom–the other watch-word for this sign. The only thing they could use, though, in a job like sales is a little more tact, decorum, or some sort of filter but, then, everone has their flaws. Lucky for Saggos, though, they’re usually just ribald and rowdy enough to stay charming; for the most part.

Sagittarius is a mutable sign, which means it falls on the change from one season to another (in this case, fall to winter) and suggests a character that is spontaneous, if sometimes neglectful of duty. Routine is not a friend to this sign, with boredom and restlessness setting in quickly if they feel confined to the same-old, same-old.

On the hunt for this week’s cocktail, I was continually drawn to the flavor of darker spirits–whiskey–but also a bright, exuberant flavor.

The Great Hunt

2 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
1 1/2 oz Honey Bourbon
1/2 oz Raspberry Liqueur
1 splash Angostura Bitters

Combine everything in a mixing glass over ice and shake like the hounds are nipping at your heels. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy.

Raspberry liqueur is one of those spirits that can easily overpower a drink with its sweet, syrupy, cloying-ness–just like the sometimes-soporific Sagg–but the bourbon and grapefruit are able to keep it on an even keel. This is the first drink using raspberry that I’ve actually had to add MORE to it to balance out the stronger ingredients.