Happy Cinco De Mayo! That means "fifth of May" in Spanish (I can teach you much much more than just food stuffs. I'm a true Renaissance man). It's the day when Mexico celebrates their independence from the tyranny of France or something (ok...so not a TRUE Renaissance man), but more importantly it's the day when Americans celebrate tacos, Tecates and tequila. There are many ways for one to enjoy tequila. I will usually just buy a good brand (Corazon is my personal favorite), pour a shot, cut a lime, lick some salt, take the shot and suck the lime (wow! Look at all those commas). My second favorite way to enjoy tequila is in the Tequila Sunrise cocktail. For those of you that are on the outside of the world of alcoholism and all of its intricate facets, the Tequila Sunrise is concocted using tequila (duh), orange juice and grenadine. Grenadine is flavored syrup made from the juices of either pomegranates or cherries. Store bought grenadine makes the process of preparing the aforementioned cocktail much quicker and simpler, but who remembers what I said about the importance of good ingredients? “It’s all about the ingredients”. Very good, class!! Store bought grenadine contains high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, food coloring and a few more ingredients that sound like they belong on a Chem Lab final. Why not prepare your own grenadine for less money and have an easier time pronouncing the ingredients?
1 LARGE POMEGRANATE
1 LARGE GLASS OF WATER
The process of making your own grenadine can be a bit arduous (and yes, this time I DID mean arduous, but I do love that word), but it’s completely worth it because there are only three ingredients, and none of them are on the periodic table. You start with cutting open your pomegranate. Cut the top of the pomegranate off. The top is the side that looks like a crown. Take your knife and cut the fruit into sections. Pull those sections apart. Hold each section in your hand, fruit side down, and bang on the skin with the back of a spoon. The seeds should pop right out. Continue this process until you’ve collected all of the seeds. Transfer those seeds into a sauce pan. Pour the water over the seeds until they are covered. Any bad bits that you may have knocked loose with the spoon will float to the surface. Skim those off and throw them out because…well because they are bad bits. Heat the water to a simmer. The little seeds should begin to release their juice after about 5-10 minutes. Pour the juice through a strainer to catch all of the seeds. Use the workhorse spoon to press any remaining juice out of the seeds. Measure the amount of juice you have extracted from the pomegranate. For me, it was one cup. Then, do exactly what you did with the simple syrup. Equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar. Dump both back into the sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, drop the temperature down to a simmer and cover the pot. Allow that to simmer for another 10-15 minutes so that it will thicken up into a syrup. Pull it off the stove and toss it into the fridge. Well, don’t toss it because it will spill all over your fridge. PLACE it in your fridge to cool. Of course, if you can't find ACTUAL pomegranates, feel free to use POM. It's 100% pomegranate juice, and it will work just the same. You wouldn't have learned that super helpful bit about how to extract the juice from a pomegranate though, and that is what's important. Right? Right, ya'll? I'm helpful. Right?......
I know that seems like a lot of steps, but it really isn’t. Once you’ve completed all of those steps, you’ll be ready to have fresh, unprocessed grenadine for your drink making needs. It can be put into Coke to make a Roy Rogers, Sprite to make a Shirley Temple (I have a story about the Shirley Temple) or use it to FINALLY make the Tequila Sunrise.
1 ½ OUNCES TEQUILA
Place a good amount of ice into a highball glass. Pour the tequila in first. Fill with the orange juice. Once again, grab your trusty multipurpose spoon. Place the spoon against the inside edge of the glass and slowly pour the grenadine down the back of the spoon. This will cause the syrup to sink to the bottom of the glass creating the eponymous sunrise effect. Toss in a straw and drink away. The peppery flavor of the tequila is mellowed by the sour of the orange juice and the sweet tartness of the grenadine. All in all, it’s a gorgeous and delicious drinks for your summer, especially for Cinco De Mayo.
OH YEAH! My Shirley Temple story. The drink is named after her because, when she was famous, she would go out to bars with all of her cast mates. Seeing as she was like two years old, she wasn’t allowed to drink alcoholic beverages, so one bartender decided to make a cocktail using bar supplies that she could drink and still get the “bar experience”. So there’s that. You’ll never know when you might need that on an episode of Jeopardy or something. Right? Right, ya'll? I'm helpful. RIght?.....WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE MAN…..AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!