POM Wonderful Dinner Party – Part Five: The POM Gin Fizz
Shake all ingredients vigorously WITHOUT ice to emulsify them.
Fill shaker with large ice. Shake the drink until your arm tires.
Strain into a collins glass.
Top with a splash of Club Soda, chopping a bar spoon up and down in the glass as you fill to create a thick head.
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As the cocktail portion of our POM Wonderful Dinner Party traced the evolution of the mixed drink – from Punch to the Cocktail to the Classic Age of imbibing – while our food presented the fruit in more and more transformed ways, it was only fitting that our final drink of the evening be a riff on the unimpeachable Ramos Gin Fizz, which calls for 12 minutes of shaking.
While we appreciate all things “12”, truth be told, no one we can name shakes a Ramos for a full 12 minutes – maybe a minute max – but it doesn’t change the Ramos’ importance as what Charles H. Baker called, “synonymous with the finest in all the New Orleans art”. Since we’ve already done a full overview of the proper Ramos Gin Fizz, we’ll avoid mining the same content here. Instead, we’re going to talk a bit about why we chose to offer a traditional “morning after” drink as the capper to the night before.
For those of you wondering what dinner parties and flower arrangements have to do with our usual programming, here’s the long and short of why we decided to enter into the POM Dinner Party contest and blog so heavily about it this week. For us here at 12 Bottle Bar, food and drink go hand-in-hand; when we posted our tips for throwing a cocktail party, chief among them was “have food available”. Simply put, drink is better with food and vice versa. We also wanted to take up the challenges of working within the confines of a theme while delivering a multi-course cocktail menu across the duration of a meal. Could we make people rethink – even slightly – how and when they paired mixed drinks with food? Hopefully – although in this regard, we only consider ourselves kindling on a long-burning fire.
Sure, the main focus of 12 Bottle Bar is mixing classic drinks, but with the holidays already upon us, we felt it high time to start giving you some examples of how to present and pair them. The POM Dinner not only gave us an opportunity to put our mixers where our mouths are, it provided us with a remarkably flexible ingredient that came with mixed drink credentials in-hand (grenadine). In our POM-Pomme Punch, Monticello Cocktail, and now our POM Gin Fizz, it added sweet, tang, and color – and even some bitter. It paired well with Irish Whiskey, Rye, and Gin. It smoked our food and decorated our house. And, for you foodies out there, it’s even seasonal and, for us, local. All in all, the little “seedy apple” really grabbed the brass ring.
Now, to the Fizz. Despite being a brunch drink in nature – or, exactly because of it – the Ramos Gin Fizz pairs particularly well with pastry and sweets. For the POM Party, we wanted a final, farewell cocktail which was light and airy and which wouldn’t weigh everyone down or get them too loopy. In many ways, the end of the meal was the perfect time for a “pick me up”. Using the classic Ramos recipe, we tweaked it by adding grenadine and POM Wonderful juice and serving it in a “mini” tall glass allowing it to be drunk in a few, quick, invigorating shots (we yielded five “mini” Fizzes from the above recipe). The smoothness and gentle sweetness were a perfect counterpoint to the evening’s final course of mignardises (Pomegranate Marshmallows, Pomegranate Pates de Fruits, a Lemon Lollipop with Arils, Aril Seed Brittle, and Pomegranate-Raspberry-Chocolate Truffles). The Fizz also served for us as the cocktail in its most transformed state, which paralleled the sweets accompanying it.
As with many of our treatments of pomegranate, the Gin Fizz was a first for most of our guests, which was simultaneously rewarding and a shame. Rewarding because, for us as hosts, it’s always a pleasure to provide someone their first experience with an unknown food or drink. A shame because a drink as wonderful as the Ramos should be more common. Sure, it’s complicated but that’s half of what makes it so delicious.
Now, to conclude our week covering our POM Wonderful Dinner Party. We had started the evening in the recesses of history – before the Tree of Knowledge, in Ancient Persia, and gathered around the punch bowl – and with only a rudimentary sense of the pomegranate. Over the course of several hours, dishes, drinks, and experiences, the pomegranate presented itself as a conduit for new flavors, new thinking, and new possibilities. It had become, as our opinions of it had become, transformed.
What did our guests have to say:
“I don’t think I realized how versatile the humble pomegranate can be.”
“… after an evening of eating or drinking pomegranate in course after course, I never tired of the taste. I never thought ‘oh no, another pomegranate’. I simply looked forward to what was coming out next, and it always turned out to be something different, unique, and delicious!”
“Who knew opening a pomegranate could be so tidy?”
“While I have occasionally enjoyed pomegranates in food and drink, I never realized their full potential until the amazing dinner we had last night. From savory to sweet and everything in between, the creativity and downright deliciousness of each and every dish served was a revelation. “
“It may be time for someone to open a pomegranate-themed lunch truck.”
“I have never purchased a pomegranate in my life because I always thought of them as cumbersome. Inconvenient and limited. But one bite of “pomegranate caviar” had me singing a different tune.”
“Laissez les POM temps roulez!”
“Pomegranates are the new black.”