In the mix

Dec 13, 2008

Somewhere, I remembered, I’d read about a simple formula for making cocktail drinks, but it took me much of the day to find the reference — I have so many food magazines stacked around the house that I had to page through them, twice, to find the right page. It’s in the January 2009 Bon Appetit, online here

The best cocktails are the simplest—two or three ingredients mixed in the proper quantities, with passion. Many follow an easy formula: spirit + citrus juice + sweetener = cocktail. Remember it (2 ounces spirit, 1 ounce citrus juice, 1/2 to 3/4 ounce sweetener), and you’ll be able to invent your own concoctions.

The Bon Appetit recipe for the Isle of Pines cocktail is very similar to the sun-burned rum runner recipe in The Great Exotic Fruit Book, from which I make homemade grenadine (the sweetener in the rum runner) each winter.

It’s a simple enough task: remove the seeds from four large pomegranates, put two cups of seeds in a bowl with two cups of sugar, mash and mix and cover and let stand overnight. Put the remaining seeds in the fridge. Next day, stir the sugar and seeds again (sugar has usually fallen to the bottom of the bowl), then transfer to a pot and bring to boil while stirring, stirring, stirring, and simmer for a couple of minutes. Strain and press the seeds to get every last bit of the sweet syrup into a glass bowl or jar. Those seeds in the fridge — press them through a colander to get fresh pom juice, and then reduce the juice over heat until there’s just two tablespoons of dark but concentrated flavor. Add that to the syrup, mix gently, and bottle. Store in the fridge. (And don’t forget to clean the kitchen — there will be juice everywhere, and the counters will be sticky!)

I’ve made rum runners for me and Erin, and we’re sipping them as we wind down from an evening at Disney on Ice at the RBC Center — I twittered from there, remarking on the imposter that should have been a Zamboni.

Tomorrow, I’m to tackle other recipes, including chapatis using flour I bought at an Indian market I discovered near my home (and next to a Filipino market, where I bought a bottle of pungent patis, a fish sauce).

Anton Zuiker

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