21 July 2009
Saké Sunset Cooler
What must have been a long time ago now, the nice folks at POM Wonderful sent me a POM Care Package including a case of their fabulous pomegranate juice. It is always fun to get a package in the mail and the contents were intriguing. I must admit, I don’t know much about pomegranates. I have used the seeds on salads and was impressed by the unusual texture and the exotic jewel-like beauty they lend to the presentation. Still, I knew next to nothing about the juice except that my oldest son had told me he liked it. So when my box arrived I was eager to try this deep red beverage in the interesting shaped bottle. My husband had heard about it’s reputation as an antioxidant superpower and he wanted to try it too.
The juice itself, all natural and containing no added sugars or preservatives, is tart with a deep rich flavor. It is somewhat similar to cranberry juice in look and flavor but tastes richer. It appealed to my affinity for tart flavors and I found the juice interesting but when I tried to think of new ways to use it in recipes I had to admit that I was stumped. It would be great in a vinaigrette on a salad garnished with luscious pomegranate seeds or in a dessert topped with the seeds but since pomegranates have been out of season and hard to come by since then those applications fell short in my mind. Stumped, I stashed my POM Care Package away and waited for inspiration to strike.
Some New Discoveries
Even longer ago I went with some friends to visit Saké One in Forest Grove, OR. Saké One is a “craft saké brewer” and the only American owned sake brewery in the world. While we were there we went on a brewery tour where we learned about the process involved in making this unique beverage. Our guide was knowledgeable and eager to answer questions making the tour fun and informative. In the tasting room we learned even more and were introduced to a variety of different sakés. We were also given a taste of the saketinis that had been served for Saketini Saturday the day before.
I am a fan of saké and was intrigued by the interesting and innovative things that Saké One is doing with this traditional Japanese beverage. I found their Moonstone line of fruit infused Ginjo saké especially interesting. The Coconut Lemongrass Saké, with its creamy texture and bright tropical flavors, was my favorite and I brought home several bottles including some small 200 ml bottles.
One of those small bottles seems to have been pushed to the back of my cabinet and I found it over the weekend. Yum! But as small as it was I needed to think of a way to stretch it if I was going to share it. I seldom mix drinks and have little imagination for cocktails so my solution was simple but satisfying. The refreshing drinks I made used bottled limeade, some of my POM Wonderful pomegranate juice and the little bottle of Moonstone Coconut Lemongrass Saké to create a surprisingly pretty and delicious tropical flavored drink, a sort of light saké cooler.
Saké Sunset Cooler
4 ounces Simply Limeade
2 ounces Moonstone Coconut Lemongrass Saké
A big splash of POM Wonderful pomegranate Juice
Lime slices, for garnish
Fill a tall glass with ice.
Pour limeade over the ice.
Pour the Coconut Lemongrass Saké on top.
Pour the pomegranate juice, gently, over all.
Let the pomegranate juice seep down into the beverage or stir gently, if desired, allowing the pomegranate juice to color the top half of the drink.
Garnish with a slice of lime.
Serve and enjoy!
Note: To make a nonalcoholic version of this beverage I substituted natural coconut juice for the Coconut Lemongrass Saké. The flavor was good, though less complex, but the texture of the coconut juice was lighter so the drink was less creamy and the suspension of the pomegranate juice was less interesting in the nonalcoholic version.