Pomegranate Mandarin Basil Champagne Spritzer
Nothing says holiday hospitality like being greeted with a champagne cocktail. Even better for all you discerning hosts and hostesses out there, its easy to put artisanal homemade love into such a concoction *ahead of time* (read: less hassle on the day-of). So you can feel like this is something special you’ve done for your guests (which it is), without having to add it to the juggling act on the day of a get together. This is not a sugary headache in the making. It is naturally mildly sweet with a balance of tartness and herbaceousness. If you try it, please let me know!
- ¼ cup water
- 1 medium pomegranate, yields a cup pomegranate arils, plus extra arils to use as garnish - keep this reserved to the side; keep some membrane, pith and peel reserved,
- 1 seedless mandarin orange, quartered and then each quarter halved
- 1 cup fresh loosely packed basil leaves, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped or torn
- optional: 1 oz orange liqueur (I used Patron Citronge orange liqueur premium reserve 80 proof)
- optional: 1 mandarin for peels of zest as garnish
- optional: basil leaves for garnish
- Heat water over medium heat until simmering.
- Add pomegranate arils, membrane, pith and peel.
- Stir with wide wooden spoon, carefully crushing arils to release juice without splattering, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add mandarin pieces and continue to simmer and crushing with back of wooden spoon to release juices, about 2-3 minutes.
- Continue to stir occasionally, smashing arils and mandarin pieces as needed, until reduced to a syrup consistency, about 3-5 minutes more.
- Add basil and stir for about a minute to infuse flavors.
- Strain to produce about a half-cup of liquid.
- If using, add orange liqueur to strained liquid and stir.
- Cool until use.
- To serve, add a tablespoon of syrup to champagne flute, top with champagne, garnish with fresh pomegranate arils, basil leaf, mandarin zest. Enjoy.