The holidays are upon us, which means it’s officially time to get festive with the cocktails. I decided that I wanted to make something that looked fancy, but was actually fairly simple. I made a homemade grenadine by combining freshly juiced pomegranate seeds with equal parts sugar. And to really make the cocktail pop, I wedged a lemon shell smack in the middle of the glass, creating a layered effect that truly makes this cocktail a work of art!

HonestlyYUM Holiday Pop Cocktail

Seasonal ingredients are not only more flavorful, but make for pretty cocktail decorations as well!

HonestlyYUM Holiday Pop Cocktail

I had a blast pairing these festive ingredients with the Absolut Vodka’s special Warhol Edition. I’ve always been such a fan of Andy Warhol, and it just so happens that he was the first person to create original artwork for Absolut (so cool!). This limited edition bottle brings Andy’s original painting into bottle form.

Absolut Warhol via HonestlyYUM

The first step in making the cocktail is to make the grenadine. Store bought grenadine really just isn’t the same. I highly recommend using fresh pomegranate, but if you choose not to, a bottle of fresh pomegranate juice works great as well. Start by halving the pomegranate, and manually juice using an ordinary citrus juicer. The goal is to apply enough pressure to burst the seeds, but not so hard that you breakdown too much of the white flesh which is astringent and bitter. Once you have extracted most of the seeds, pour the contents of the juicer (seeds and all) through a fine mesh strainer. Use a spoon to crush any seeds that did not already burst, extracting their juice. What you’re left with is the freshest pomegranate juice you’ll ever have! Add equal parts fine granulated sugar (different than confectioner’s sugar) to the juice, and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Store in the refrigerator.

Homemade Grenadine by HonestlyYUM

For the cocktail, start by adding the grenadine. Next, fill the glass about half-full of ice.

HonestlyYUM Holiday Pop Cocktail

Carefully pour the vodka on top of the ice so that it slowly layers on top of the grenadine. If you pour it too fast or directly into the grenadine it will fully mix and you won’t get two distinct layers.

HonestlyYUM Holiday Pop Cocktail

Now for the fun part! Juice the lemon that you’ll need for the cocktail and set aside. Take the discarded lemon shell that you juiced and squeeze it face down into your glass, so that it rests just above the vodka. Whether or not this will work depends on the size of your glass. You’re looking for a snug fit so that the lemon creates a seal. I measured my glassware before I went to the market and bought lemons that were roughly the same size, if not slightly larger. If your glasses are too thin, or your lemons are too big, do not force it or you will shatter the glass. Your cocktail will still be the same in the end . . . it’s just a cool party trick.

HonestlyYUM Holiday Pop Cocktail

Now that your lemon is in place, add the lemon juice and the sparkling apple cider. Garnish with a twist of lemon and/or some pomegranate seeds and voilà!

HonestlyYUM Holiday Pop Cocktail

Once you and your guests have finished admiring your work of art, carefully use a straw or spoon to push on the lemon to break the seal and enjoy.

HonestlyYUM Holiday Pop Cocktail

HOLIDAY POP COCKTAIL

Ingredients:

For the cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz Absolut Vodka
  • 1/4 oz homemade grenadine
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz sparkling apple cider
  • twist of lemon or pomegranate seeds for garnish

Ingredients:

For the grenadine

  • 4 oz pomegranate juice
  • 4 oz fine baker’s sugar (granulated)

Directions:

For the grenadine

  • Cut the pomegranate in half and manually juice using a citrus juicer. Disturb as little of the white flesh as possible.
  • Pour the contents of the juicer (seeds and all) through a fine mesh strainer, and use a spoon to crush any seeds that did not already burst, extracting their juice.
  • Add fine granulated sugar to the juice, and stir until the sugar completely dissolves.
  • Store in the refrigerator.

Directions:

For the cocktail

  • Fill a highball glass with ice.
  • Add the vodka, grenadine, lemon juice and sparkling cider to a highball glass.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Garnish with a twist of lemon and/or pomegranate seeds.

(images by HonestlyYUM)