Pomegranate may be enjoyed for the religious symbolism linking it to fertility and eternal life or, more prosaically, for its cheerful color, which mimics that of Santa’s costume. In any case, the seedy crimson fruit easily represents Christmas. With a dash of vodka, seasonal flavorings and festive mixers, pomegranate drinks get the merry mood going during the holidays.
Nothing says “party time” like an elegant sparkling drink. Sparkling water, club soda, lemon-flavored soft drinks, ginger ale and sparkling apple cider can all be used to add some fizz to a vodka and pomegranate cocktail, but Champagne or semi-dry sparkling wine brings added sophistication to the holiday season. Sweeten to taste with simple syrup -- made of water and granulated sugar boiled together and cooled down so that no sugar remains in your drink. Combine all the ingredients except the sparkling mixer and pour them into stemmed champagne flutes, and then top up with the sparkling beverage to avoid venting the bubbles during the mixing process.
One of the joys of visiting a traditional Christmas market in Alsace is wrapping your cold hands around a comforting mug of glühwein, or mulled wine. Further north, many Scandinavian glogg recipes involve vodka. Pomegranate mulled wine brings together the best of both worlds with spiced red wine and vodka, along with zingy pomegranate juice as an alternative to orange juice, simmered and then steeped for a couple of hours to allow the aromas to mingle. Mix and match traditional glühwein flavorings such as honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger and star anise to create your own family favorite.
Invite your guests to congregate around a chilled bowl of punch to create a convivial and informal atmosphere. Tart pomegranate juice is best balanced by rich mango nectar, sweet cherry juice or exotic lychee juice. In addition to vodka, add a dash of orange-flavored liqueur for a warm, sweet citrus note. Decorate with fruits traditionally associated with Christmastime such as orange, kumquat, pomegranate seeds, or even candied cherries as a nod to age-old Christmas fruitcake.
Let seasonal treats inspire you to flavor your Christmas cocktails. Give a candy cane twist to your cosmopolitan by enhancing pomegranate juice, vodka and lime juice with peppermint liqueur or peppermint extract and chopped fresh mint. Serve with red-and-white striped straws for a playful touch. North of the border, Quebeckers with a sweet tooth indulge in maple syrup, sugar and candy during the holidays. In homage to the Canadian snowy winter wonderland, use maple syrup to sweeten a generous pitcher of vodka and pomegranate juice and seeds.
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