Among the many things that it’s easy to perceive about Tiki is the use of tons of syrups and juices. Of course, the Tiki masters make or squeeze all of their own. Now, I am the master of the shortcut, so don’t count on me making all my own stuff, but I am going to make a bunch of things, and squeeze where and when I can. I still make no promises about orange juice, Tiare.
What I will do is start with something I know a bit about, and have posted on before, just to get my feet wet: Grenadine.
Grenadine is of course used in all realms of cocktail making, not just Tiki. But what is it?
Well, it is supposed to be sweetened pomegranate syrup. In practice, commercial grenadines are by and large just high-fructose corn syrup with red food coloring and flavoring agents. Now, all good cocktail snobs today are required by CSOWG guidelines to stick our noses up at such red syrups and make crabby noises about the
good old days. But we should probably just shut up, since I’ve been told by none other than Mud Puddle Books, that bars were commonly making grenadine with red food coloring and sugar syrup as early as 1910.
That said, real, homemade grenadine beats up fake grenadine and takes its lunch money every morning before school.
In the past, I always made my grenadines with Lakewood pomegranate juice, which is not from concentrate. The resulting syrup has always tasted great, but lacked in color. I noticed that lots of my more experienced colleagues use Pom brand pomegranate juice. This is juice from concentrate, and I was curious as to the difference it would make. To load up for Tiki month, I made a batch each of Paul’s hot process and cold process grenadines. (Recipes here, at Cocktail Chronicles)
I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that Pom does not reconstitute its juice at natural water levels, but instead leaves the juice highly concentrated. The resulting grenadines were much darker and more
traditionally colored than my previous efforts. But how did they taste?
I went to my grenadine experts, and asked my daughters Katherine and Lexi to belly up to the bar in the Pegu Lounge for Shirley Temples. I told them I was testing two different ways to make grenadine, and asked if they would tell me which was better. I labeled the two drinks C and H, but didn’t tell them why. Before I could go any farther, my elder daughter whipped out her little metal notebook and made two sections for notes! After trying the two drinks and comparing, these are the notes she produced:
If you don’t read seven-year-old, I’ll translate:
Sends a mint taste at the end.
For the record, I don’t take notes myself when tasting things. I discuss and write down my ideas well afterward. (If I can’t remember an impression for at least a half an hour, it ain’t worth recording) Where my daughter got the idea to do tasting notes from is a mystery. I think she invented the concept on her own….
Oh, and as is typical, Lexi likes the cold process stuff, while Katherine insists that the hot made syrup is superior. They are going to have to work it out between them, because I am not making two batches of grenadine all the time!