Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Dirty Shirley (First Try)

So weeks ago I mentioned that I made my own grenadine. It turned out pretty good and I've been toying with it in various concoctions. I've been thinking a lot about cocktails that have grenadine as an ingredient. But it was the Dirty Shirley that I decided to try first.

Don't know what a Dirty Shirley is?  It is simply a Shirley Temple with vodka in it.  Hence, the "dirty" (or at least the potential for being "dirty").  ANYWAY, this is such an unrefined drink with so much room for improvement that I couldn't help but try it.  You'll notice that the homemade grenadine is much darker than the bright, almost radioactive color you see in that high fructose corn syrup that is served in bars. 

This post documents my first Dirty Shirley attempt with homemade grenadine syrup. The recipe is very simple.

The Dirty Shirley (First Try)

- 2 oz of vodka (I used Crystal Head, mostly because I had nothing else)
- ginger ale
- 3/4 oz of homemade grenadine
- maraschino cherries

Glassware: a rocks/highball glass

Pour 2 oz of vodka into a high ball glass.  Pour 3/4 oz of homemade grenadine in.  Fill with ice.  Pour ginger ale in to nearly fill the glass.  Roll the contents between the Boston shaker and the glass to get a good, thorough mix (the carbonation of the ginger ale will do most of the work).  Garnish with 2 maraschino cherries.

Now when I told people that I had made my own homemade grenadine, the first question they asked was:

"Oh wow, did you juice a bunch of cherries?"


"Cool!  How did you get cherries this time of year?"

At which point, I clarified that the base, in fact, is made with pomegranate.  In fact, the word "grenadine" is from the French word "grenade," meaning polmegranate. But then I realized how much commercial grenadine had been bastardized into this maraschino cherry juice. 

So that got me thinking (DANGEROUS, I know).  I'll wait until cherries are in season.  Then, I am going to lightly infused them into vodka to see what other dimension I can add to the mix.  This drink is already a little sweet due to the ginger ale and the grenadine.  But if I can simply get the essence of cherry into the spirit I can have a point of reference with some folks but STILL maintain a somewhat innovative approach to the drink.

Anyway, as soon as cherries show up in Whole Foods or Harris Teeter, I'll be working on my second try.  Stay tuned.

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