Pink Penguin

As the summer continues its course through the calendar year, cocktails hit the peak of their demand. Cocktails are one of the best beverages to cool off with under the hot summer sun. It is not just that they are over ice. It is the combination of all the ingredients working together to wake you up and tease the senses during the hot day or night. It is not a coincidence that most well-known cocktails were invented in hot and tropical places: Mojito in Cuba, Daiquiri in Miami, Caipirinia in Brazil Piña Colada in Puerto Rico… the list goes on!

Cocktails are not only fun to drink but also fun to make! You can make your own cocktails by combining what you like at the rations that you like. Although the most popular mixers are vodka and rum, any liquor or liqueur can become a cocktail if you know how to combine it. In the previous posts, we explained the simple rules that David A. Embury laid down in his now iconic book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Your personal taste is what will dictate the proportion of the ingredients and the ingredients themselves. Today, I am making a cocktail that is based on a Greek liqueur flavored with the essence of masticha, a Greek flavoring ingredient that is as ancient as Greece! The spirit is complimented with another resin flavored spirit, Gin, and the sweet and astringent flavor of pomegranate that gives the cocktail its pink color and half of the name.  You will also have to add a small amount of lime juice in the mix to brighten up the flavors.

You always start with the main ingredient you want to showcase. In this case, we have selected a liqueur that is sweet and has the strong flavor of the masticha, a tree resin. As it is very sweet, we cannot have it as the sole alcohol in the cocktail. That would result in the cocktail becoming too thick and too sweet. We need to complement it with something else to dilute the sweetness and the viscosity. Although Vodka does work, I find that Gin, flavored by juniper berries, a resin reach berry,  compliment the masticha quite well. Furthermore, you will need something that will give the cocktail flavor and color. Although many fruits could work, the stringency of the pomegranate suits the gin and  masticha.

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The ingredient list is short:

  • 1 oz Masticha liqueur
  • 2 oz Gin
  • 2 oz of pomegranate juice (or if available 1/4 of pomegranate seeds muddled)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Simple syrup
  • Ice

In addition you need to bring out your specialized hardware.

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Other than the shaker, you will need a strainer, a lime rimer (a muddler) a chopstick.

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Measure 2 oz of the pomegranate juice.

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Pour it over the ice.

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Measure the 2 oz of gin.

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Pour the gin in the shaker!

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Finally measure the 1 oz of the masticha liqueur.

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Pour the masticha in there too!

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Now cut the lime in half.

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And cut a slice about 1/4″ (0.5 cm).

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You can use the smaller part to add the juice in the cocktail. If it is a stubborn lime you can use a rimer.

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Take the wheel and remove the peel.

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Wrap it around the chopstick and hold it there for 1-2 minutes.

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Back to the cocktail now. Cover the shaker.

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And stir. Don’t jerk up and down. Just shake it lengthwise.

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Taste it and add syrup to bring the flavor to your liking.

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Take a frosty glass and add the decoration on the rim.

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Pour in the cocktail and…

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… enjoy it!

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It is a gorgeous cocktail if I do say so myself. Happy summer cocktailing!

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