Since I was in the mood to made liqueur and pomegranates were available it only made sense to create some pomegranate liqueur as well. An often overlooked fruit because of the apparent time commitment in retrieving the seeds, known as arils. A little time spent with pomegranates though can bring a whole new appreciation for this wonderful fruit. The first trick is getting the arils out without wasting an entire afternoon.
Open the fruit by using a knife to score it and break it open. The arils are divided by white pulp membrane that floats in water while the arils sink. Using a bowl of water can aid in separating the two. One method to retrieve the arils is to freeze the entire fruit enabling you to separate the arils and the membranes. For use of the fruit fresh though, slice the whole fruit in half, score the outer rind several times, hold the fruit half firmly and swat the rind with a spatula or large spoon. This should discharge most of the arils into the bowl you have waiting with few to remove from the pith.
If you don't take the time to taste a few at this point, you'll miss out. Kids will love to taste them also - they seem a bit fascinated by them actually. Now its time to create your liqueur.
Pomegranate Liqueur Recipe
4 Pomegranates, large
4 Cups 100 proof vodka
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Water
1 1/2 tsp Orange zest
1 TBL Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Yield: about 5 cups
Separate the arils and place into a large bowl removing all the white membrane/pith which is too astringent. To this add the sugar, while crushing the fruit mix the two ingredients and allow to stand for an hour. Add the vodka, water, orange zest and lemon juice, mix thoroughly and allow to stand covered for another hour.
Place this into a container or containers that can be sealed tight (if you divide into multiple containers be sure to put equal amounts of solid and liquid into each one). Set container(s) in a cool dark place for 45 days. Once or twice per week rotate the containers on end or shake to dislodge the solids.
Using a large coffee filter to strain, pour the liquid and solids into the filter allowing the juice to drip freely through it. Because of fine sediment you may wish to repeat this process again. Allow it time to drip without pressing and you will be rewarded by not forcing the harsher tannin and astringency from the aril solids into your liqueur. Discard the solids.
Into a bottle that can be sealed, pour your liqueur. Have fun with your choice of bottle whether you keep this for yourself or use it as gifts. You want to showcase your effort in a beautiful bottle to feature your new pomegranate liqueur.
Once in the bottle it is ready to serve. This is one that I prefer young and fresh. Chill it, blend it to make your favorite cocktail or martini or sip straight. Any way you choose to be delighted you will love your new cordial.