kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


Featured Cocktail: Pomegranate Margarita

Pomegranate Margarita, Photo courtesy Rosa Mexicano

Pomegranate Margarita, Photo courtesy Rosa Mexicano

Though there is still snow on the ground here in the D.C. area, tomorrow (February 22) is National Margarita Day. While I'm always partial to the classic recipe made from scratch, with a Reposado Tequila, Combier and fresh lime juice, flavored versions made with high quality ingredients can whet my whistle, too. And nothing can bring a little bit of sunshine to a dreary winter day like the tart and tangy flavor (and vibrant hue) of pomegranate.

Rosa Mexicano's signature Frozen Pomegranate Margarita has been on the menu since 1984 (!). To mix it at home, look for POM Pomegranate juice in the produce department of your supermarket. Its easily batched for a party, too.

Pomegranate Margarita
Courtesy of Rosa Mexicano

2 ounces Silver or Blanco Tequila
1/2 ounce Triple Sec (or Cointreau or Combier)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate juice
Lime wheel or wedge, for garnish

Add all except garnish into a blender, and add 6-8 ounces of ice. Blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into a chilled rocks glass rimmed with coarse salt, and garnish with the lime wheel or wedge.

For a pitcher:
12 ounces Silver or Blanco Tequila
3 ounces Triple Sec (or Combier or Cointreau)
6 ounces fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons fresh pomegranate juice
Lime wheels or wedges, for garnish

Add all except garnish to a blender. Add 36-40 ice cubes, and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into chilled rocks glasses garnished with coarse salt, and garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.



Featured Cocktail: Apple Manhattan

The Applejack Manhattan (minis the cool apple garnish). I love a good Manhattan--especially at this time of the year. My basic recipe is 2 ounces Bourbon, 1 ounce Dolin Red Vermouth, and a few dashes of Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters, stirred and served over one large cube. But sometimes, I like to mix it up a little. Nothing too crazy, but just a tweak here, or a riff there.

Recently, while chatting with John Wabeck, General Manager and beverage director at Spoon, and beverage consultant at the recently opened Grit + Grace (both in Pittsburgh), he told me about an Applejack version he was putting on the menu at Spoon. (DC folks will remember Wabeck as a fixture on the D.C. wine and dining scene, until he moved to the 'Burgh a year ago...)

Wabeck uses a melon baller on apples, stains them with grenadine, compresses them, and poaches them in a Cryovac. The end result looks like a cherry, (and has some of the flavor of Maraschino cherries, thanks to the grenadine), but with a decidedly different texture. He uses one to garnish his Apple Manhattan, pictured above (I cheated and used Luxardo Maraschino cherries, though.) Here's his recipe for the cocktail--the Applejack adds a very subtle apple flavor, and substituting Peychauds' for cherry or Angostura bitters ramps up the spice.

If you want to make the apple balls, but (like me) don't have a Cryovac setting around, you can get a similar result from scooping out apple pieces with the melon baller, and soaking them in high quality grenadine (or pomegranate juice mixed with sugar.)

Apple Manhattan Courtesy of John Wabeck, Spoon / Grit + Grace, Pittsburgh, PA

1 1/4 oz. Laird's Applejack Brandy 1 oz. Crown Royal 3/4 oz. red Vermouth 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters Cryovac apple ball (or cherry), for garnish

Add all except garnish to a cocktail shaker. Add cracked ice, and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled rocks glass that has 1 large ice cube (or serve up in a chilled rocks glass.) Garnish with the apple ball or cherry.