Unexpectedly cool. Pomegranate Cointreau fizz
If we’re thinking about summery citrus things, let’s talk about Cointreau. It’s that forgotten bottle at the back of your drinks cupboard that gets whipped out to make a Margarita. It might get dusted off again at Christmas when it’s an awesome soaking ingredient for mince pie fillings or dashed into cranberry sauce (it’s super delicious with cranberries). But, if you’re like me, it languishes unloved for the rest of the year.
What exactly is Cointreau anyway? It’s a brand of triple sec and distilled from sugar beet, sweet and bitter oranges peels that was first made by the Cointreau brothers in the Loire in 1875; the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret. Why Cointreau over other brands? They claim it has ‘the highest amount of essential oils and the lowest amount of added sugar’. Is it the same as Grand Marnier? Nope – that’s made from aged cognac infused with bitter orange peel and is sweeter, heavier and less cleanly orange in taste.
So stepping out with Hazel at 6am this morning, I felt the full ‘open the oven door’ effect as 36 C enveloped us while we pottered round the streets. Only something cool, long and refreshing will do right now, after 6pm obviously. The classic Cointreau Fizz is a double measure of Cointreau with the juice of half a lime, topped up with about 100 ml of soda or sparkling water. Here’s my Middle Eastern, gin-loving riff on that.
Looking for a summer alternative to cranberries I settled on pomegranates. I’ll admit that I tried using pomegranate molasses but it sinks to the bottom of the cocktail shaker in a sticky blob. I think you’d have to dissolve some in boiling water and let it cool if trying this route. The light brown colour it imparts is not as attractive either. The ice cubes are easy – these are made in an oversized mould I got from Amazon.uk. Put a layer of seeds in (or lime slices) and fill up with water to one-third. Freeze and repeat two more times.
There are two ways you can go with this cocktail: sweet or bitter. We had a cocktail making session on elder teen’s last night before leaving us to return to the UK. She came up with most of this recipe and shares my bitter-loving taste buds. Veggie teen liked the sweeter version using grenadine, “it’s like an alcoholic Shirley Temple, and that’s a good thing.” The rosemary and lime peels add another layer of aromatic bitterness, the gin heady, citrus freshness. The bitters just take it to another level – Angostura is fine but orange is better. We can buy fresh pomegranate juice alongside the freshly squeezed orange juice here in Dubai but you can make your own quite easily if you have a blender and a sieve. The quantity here is for one glassful but you could easily multiply it and make a jugful for a crowd.
Pomegranate Cointreau fizz
- 1/2 fresh lime
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 25ml Cointreau (1 measure)
- 25ml gin (I used Sacred Oris which I think is a limited edition)
- 25ml grenadine or 50ml of fresh pomegranate juice
- A dash of orange bitters.
- Tonic water
Squeeze the lime juice into a cocktail shaker then put in the peel along with the sprig of fresh rosemary. Add the Cointreau and lightly muddle (you can use the end of a rolling pin for this). Measure in the gin and pomegranate (juice or syrup). Shake with ice and strain into a long, tall glass over fresh ice. Add a dash of orange bitters and stir. Top up with tonic water.
Whatever the weather where you are in the world, get your sunglasses out, pour yourself one of these, put on DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, kick back and quote Frank Sinatra… who said (apparently):
“Orange is the happiest colour.”
Thanks to Cointreau for sending me a hamper packed with good things to experiment with.
Creative challenge to design some interesting flavour combinations with @cointreau_officiel Mind whirring right now and keep scribbling down ingredients, mixtures and garnishes. What would you like to pair with Cointreau? Off to Moscow tomorrow so stay tuned for when I'm back to see what's created. 🍸 #cointreau #creativecrew #dreamdarecreate
Check out what other people are doing by following the hashtags (above). I just love what my friend Sarah has created especially this cocktail made with custard.
This is getting me in the mood for another change of scene as I’m off to the UK next week. I’ll be getting reacquainted with my hiking boots, clouds, umbrellas and drinking tap water. Find me on Snapchat and Instagram if you want to join me for country walks, cosy pubs, farmers’ markets and cups of tea.
Are you traveling during July and August? Drop me a line below – I’d love to know.