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fruitdrink.jpgPomegranate Liqueur

Pomegranates should be as ripe and red as you can get them. Too young, and the flavor may be weak. Too old, and they will, of course, already be rotten. Larger pomegranates are preferred, if only for yield. I generally get 12 ounces of juice (separate from the pulp) for each pair of pomegranates. If your fruit yields much less than that, toss in another one or so, so you get about 12 ounces of juice total. If unsure, err on the side of plenty. I've run with as much as 16 ounces.

Ingredients:
2 large pomegranates, pods only
1 1/2 cups vodka
3/4 cups sugar
3/8 cups water
1/2 peel, lemon, scraped

Remove pods from pomegranates. Throw away rind and pith. Press out all the juice with a good, sturdy press. Put the resulting juice and pulp in a 1-liter mason jar (any glass jar you can effectively seal works; I use Arc jars from France, and Fidenza jars from Italy).

Prepare lemon peel, toss in jar. Add vodka. Seal jar. Steep two weeks (though I have left it as much as four with no ill effects), turning it over once a day. Strain and filter. Squeeze the pulp moderately hard, but realize that the harder you squeeze, the harder will be the job of filtering later on. It's a tough balance to make. Now, boil the sugar and water together. Let stand a moment to cool. Add syrup to mixture, and seal quickly. Age another month.

Remove, filter again, bottle. You should note that there's a thick haze or sludge on the bottom of your jar, and you will find it incredibly difficult to filter out with anything but a serious wine filter. Instead, you might consider racking the liqueur (siphoning the good liqueur off the top, and discarding the sludge on the bottom). You lose a little bit of liquid along with the sludge, but you sure save yourself a lot of work filtering.
Yield: Total liquid (1.5 cups vodka, .75 cups syrup, 1.5 cups pomegranate juice) 3.75 cups. Proof: about 35.

 
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