For a while I’ve been fascinated by the idea of concentrating liquids in the absence of heat. Heat tends to augment/destroy certain delicate flavors. It was explained to me that you can’t make strawberry eau-de-vie you can only make cooked strawberry eau-de-vie. The same is true of the pomegranate and is why I was thwarted in making my pomegranate triple-sec (the fruit expression sucked). Ideas sat in my head for a while and I was further dazzled by a honey called Melata di Bosco made, not from blossoms, but Alpine Spruce trees that get attacked by aphids. The bees collect the excess aphid secretions and you experience the concentrated soul of the tree without heat interfering. (maple syrup is created by reducing maple sap significantly. heats evaporates lots of flavor but also creates new ones) The honey is epic with the ironous, blood and spruce pineyness making you feel the trees’ sorrow.
All this time I’ve been waiting for pomegranate season to see if I could really find their soul. All the pomegranate juice you buy is pasteurized, cooking the flavor into a vegetal stew-y mess that also destroys the seductive fuchsia color. In making grenadine most people also concentrate the extract of their juice by reducing it with heat. Like maple syrup, flavors are lost and flavors are created, but I’d say more is lost.
My plan was to use the Ice Wine Technique to concentrate the flavor. I was going to simply juice fresh pomegranates, freeze concentrate the juice one iteration, hopefully increasing extract potency by at least 50% and finally sugar to approximately 400 g/L. (a 400 g/L syrup is a great contrast for an equal volume of lemon or lime juice)
A friend told me that I could simply quarter the fruit and put it through a lemon juicer. It worked pretty well but I deviated slightly by using the “flat on flat” adapter on my orange x brand juicer instead of the usual cone in a cup mechanism. The fruit I got was smaller than normal and I was still able to extract 2 oz. of juice per pomegranate. I froze the juice in half quart containers then let 50% of the juice thaw (I poked holes in the container) into a one cup sized container (the frozen juice separates from the thawed juice through the holes or by just opening the lid and dumping into the new container what thaws). What was separated was mostly a plug of clear slush from juice that tasted significantly more concentrated. I forgot to test the starting sugar content but my post thaw sugar content was 19.5 brix. (I think pomegranate juice is usually in the low teens) I brought it up slowly to 32 brix (400 g/L) by stirring in white sugar and remeasuring. (It took less than 5 minutes to hit my mark perfectly)
(I tested the end results of my second batch and the 50% I kept had a brix of 22 while the 50% I discarded had a brix of 3.5 which mean I probably started at 12 brix. A killer boost of concentration for one iteration! sugar doesn’t mean much when I’m really looking for extract but I think I can assume it follows suit)
I didn’t have any fresh eggs but wanted to make something pink lady esque for my first drink.
.75 oz. lemon juice
.75 oz. Ice Wine Grenadine
.5 oz. cognac
1.5 oz. tanqueray gin
For starters the color is mind blowing. I’ve never witnessed a drink with a prettier hue. The tonal qualities of the grenadine are amazing. The simple familiar contrast of the gin and cognac really elevate the unique fruit expression. The sugar ethic is perfect as well to maximize flavor enlivenment. Delightful.