Monday, December 24, 2007

Recipe: Peach Orange Vodka with Pomegranates

Back when I was in graduate school at Harvard, a combination of loneliness, academic monotony and a spoilt Californian attitude toward winter hit me pretty hard and I decided to take up a mixology class. After the class, we were told that we could hire ourselves out through the student work agency, to bartend and help serve at private house parties and school parties, I guess to earn back the cost of the course.

This proved to be a very interesting way to spend my time in school because, one, you met some really interesting professors that way (since they were usually the ones hiring out these cheap students to help out at their home functions), two, I discovered some beautiful art because the emeriti are allowed to personally borrow works out of Harvard's a hundred and something musuems on campus and three, well, the prices of basic goods in a snobby specialty place like Cambridge is such that living costs really are very high.

This side-line came from and sparked off a long interest in mixing drinks, which is somewhat antithecal given I'm not a big drinker at all. That being said, I'd be the first to admit I have my days when I need-need a drink and I am a huge-huge fan of creative fresh fruit and alcoholic cocktails!

I couldn't get all the ingredients in the photo but you want to get either premiuem peach juice or squeeze a couple of fresh peaches (my dad, not a particularly sympathetic mixologist, looked at me like I was mad).

Mix this with strained orange juice (fresh or yes, ok, you can go Tropicana or Florida Natural) and two ounces (or more but you want it to be refreshing rather then reeking alcoholic) of Absolut Peach Vodka or a cleaner vodka like Grey Goose. Top it up with ice peach tea (I prefer Pokka to the Seasons brand, it's lighter) and seltzer. Then mix in pomegranate seeds (throw in all the juice as well) and sprigs of mint.

To serve, pour over ice chips and top with more pomegranate seeds. This is a brilliant way to get conversation flowing when you're having a dinner party and what I love about mixing cocktails is that the fresh fruit combinations are endless and colourful.

Try tastes like Absolut prickly pear with clear green pear juice and muddled mint, Orange Grey Goose with Cointreau, tangerine pulp and lemon peel (add a drop of lemon essence), pomegranate martinis with chocolate covered mint sprigs. And that's before even getting into the more savory options.

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