1 an orange-sized fruit with a tough reddish outer skin and sweet red gelatinous flesh containing many seeds.
2 the tree that bears this fruit, which is native to North Africa and western Asia and has long been cultivated. • Punica granatum, family Punicaceae.
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French pome grenate, from pome ‘apple’ + grenate ‘pomegranate’ (from Latin (malum) granatum ‘(apple) having many seeds,’ from granum ‘seed’ ).
Translation: Costly to obtain in the Middle Ages.
Anyone in possession of these seed-filled fruits, not to mention the many spices (also quite expensive) would have also been in possession of a lot of money.
Or powerful friends.
So this Spicy Pomegranate Drink was most likely only drunk by very wealthy nobles at very posh feasts, who would then go home and brag to their very jealous friends for weeks.
I, on the other hand, took an hour out of my day, popped over to my local grocery store, and bought the necessary luxuries.
The modern world has its advantages.
Pretty tasty looking, right? It reminded me of a non-alcoholic version of mulled wine. With its deep burgundy color, multitude of spices, and toasty temperature, it warmed my heart.
And my hands.
Glass goblets turned out to be a less than stellar idea.
Next time, I have resolved to serve it in a mug.
Here are our tasty comrades: the ingredients!
Pomegranate juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and a whole lemon.
(The recipe called for sugar but since the juice I was using already included sugar, I left it out. However, if you use real pomegranates, add the sugar. Or if you are one of those people who drink their Kool-Aid with 3x the amount of sugar, you can too. I won't judge.)
In a large pot, combine the water and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer at medium heat for seven minutes. (If you are using whole cloves, remove them now.)
Finely grate the lemon peel and put it in a dish for later. A zester is particularly helpful for this step. However, if you are cheap or just strapped for cool kitchen gadgets, cheese graters also work just fine.
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out one half's juices.
Add the quart of pomegranate juice and the lemon juice to the pot of boiling spice water.
(Be careful of splattering. Boiling hot liquid is a dangerous thing.)
Bring to a slow boil, and then simmer for two minutes.
Serve warm and garnish with the lemon peel you zested (or grated) earlier.
Dazzle all your friends with your ancient alternative to spiced apple cider.
Spicy Pomegranate Drink
from: Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony (New York: George Braziller, Inc., 1976), 153.
1 1/2 cups Water
4 Whole Cloves (or an 1/8 teaspoon of ground)
1 cup sugar
1/2 unblemished lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1 quart fresh pomegranate juice or 6 to 8 medium-sized pomegranates, skinned, the pith removed, seeds squeezed, pulverized and strained.
In a large enameled pot combine water, sugar, and all spices. Bring to boil and gently simmer for 7 minutes. Remove the whole cloves.
Finely grate the lemon peel and reserve it. Squeeze the juice from the lemon.
Add the pomegranate juice and lemon juice to the spiced hot fluid. Bring to slow boil, then simmer 2 minutes.
Serve warm with garnish of grated lemon peel for each glass. Or serve cool, garnishing each glass with peel and a small wedge of fresh lemon.