If you’re looking for a holiday drink that will keep your festive spirits up, try this mocktail – Crimson Crush. If you are wanting it to be little more spirited (And you’re 21 or older, of course,) it easily transforms into a cocktail.
This Crimson Crush has a distinctive, yet spicy flavour that is refreshing with a bit of bubble. Plus it has the bonus of something fun — pomegranate arils. Oh, how I love these little beauties. (If you have read previous posts, you know my love affair with them.) Gorgeous. Sweet. Tart. All wrapped up in one little gem. How could one not love them?
In the last few years, so many mocktails/cocktails have been restored, revived, and invented within a burgeoning craft cocktail culture. Sadly, holiday drinks are still viewed as Spiked Eggnog. I find this puzzling. There is a disconnect. It doesn’t help that I’m not a fan of eggnog, just the thought of it makes me queasy. So If felt compelled to create a new type of holiday beverage. Festively red, slightly spiced, and uses an ingredient that is unique.
If you didn’t know, craft cocktails are drinks where every element is handmade or tailored specifically to the drink. They are served in custom glassware, poured over custom ice cubes, mixed with house-made syrups and finished with something inventive. Doesn’t this already sound better than eggnog? Say yes!
Craft cocktails definitely have a formula. The basic ratio for any drink is usually 1.5 to 2 ounces of alcohol, to one ounce of tart, to one ounce of sweet. Easy prep is mandatory. Craft cocktails, but especially ones made during the holiday season, should be special and not too complicated. No one wants to be stuck behind the bar all night long.
The key is to assemble the best ingredients, blend them expertly and finish with a little flair. Which leads me to presentation being important. Invest in some sexy glassware, you don’t need to spend much for it to look great.
Mixologists are constantly quoted as saying ice makes all the difference. Ensure you have enough ice for your holiday festivities. They also recommend chilling glassware. No time to pre-chill? No problem. Simply swirl crushed ice in the glass for a few minutes then dump before adding in your drink.
This mocktail/cocktails relies on a South Asian favourite – Ribena (pronounced Rye-bee-na). It’s really popular in Asian countries. Ribena is a non-carbonated, fruit based juice that originates in the UK. Most commonly it is made with blackcurrants and is sold as a concentrate. It tastes like, it’s a mix between grapes, blueberries, and blackberries. Look for it in your local supermarket, its usually there.
The rich sweetness of Ribena is nicely complemented by the crispness of the Ginger Ale (in my opinion a very under-appreciated soft drink) and the two, together are a delicious and refreshing combination in and of itself. To take this drink to the next level, use my Sugar. Spice. And everything nice: Ginger Syrup, I blogged about it a few weeks ago. Note: Use sparingly, it has the ability to steal the show. Add plenty of ice.
For those wanting to indulge in an alcoholic variation, add some vodka. Don’t forget to add a tablespoon or two of the pomegranate arils.
Variation: Switch out the Ribena for pink grapefruit juice, to keep the sweet and tart combination. Or try using blended frozen or fresh strawberries. You may need to reduce the simple syrup if you do, so that the drink is not too sweet. *Clink* *Clink* Cheers!
½ ounce Ribena
2 ounces Ginger Ale
½ ounce Sugar. Spice. And everything nice: Ginger Syrup
1 ounce vodka (if desired)
Combine all ingredients in a small pitcher. Stir to combine. Pour over a glass of ice. Add Pomegrante arils. Serve immediately.