PAMA is the category leader in pomegranate liqueurs for a reason — it is by far the best one on the market. There are only a few of them out there, and none captures the pure flavor of pomegranate as well as PAMA does. In an area where the competitors taste, at best, merely like sweet, generic fruit, PAMA stands out for its authenticity and balanced flavor.
Its aroma and flavor resemble good quality pomegranate juice (like POM), with just the slightest hint of an alcoholic kick. (It's slight for a reason: PAMA is only 17% alcohol.)
I tried it straight first, chilled from the fridge, and was impressed. It's sweet, but not too sweet, with a satisfying, fruit flavor. It gives a mild warming feeling in the chest that one associates with drinking alcohol, but you probably wouldn't even notice if you weren't paying attention.
Although PAMA can be drunk neat, this liqueur is really designed to be mixed in cocktails, and its possibilities are almost endless. Its deep crimson color and balanced flavor (without a high sugar content) mean it makes a very nice addition to a wide range of cocktails. True grenadine — not the syrupy cherry-flavored stuff — is a pomegranate syrup, so the use of this fruit in cocktails is well established. (You could even substitute PAMA for grenadine in recipes.)
The PAMA website contains several recipes for using the liqueur in both cocktails and food. I actually whipped up something of my own, and then later discovered that they have a similar version already on their site. (I'll grant you — it's not the most original idea for a drink you'll ever come across.)
1.5 oz Vodka
1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
Shake with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
I find this variation on the Cosmopolitan to be a tastier drink. It's simple enough that the home bartender can easily whip one up, and it's especially appealing for female drinkers. Give it a try the next time you have friends over. (If the guys are being fussy, give 'em a Pabst Blue Ribbon or something.)
Quality Grade: A-
Value Grade: A-
Final Grade: A-
A while back the Portland Craft Cocktails blog and Northwest Food and Wine Festival sponsored a contest for "casual mixologists" to create a new cocktail. I submitted a drink I created recently, with a little inspiration from my sister, Deborah Graff.
I selected ingredients that were rich in antioxidants — that way, you can fight cancer while enjoying a tasty cocktail.
Much to my surprise, I won! Here's the recipe:
The Antioxidant Cocktail
1 1/2 oz White Rum
8-10 Fresh blueberries
1 oz Pomegranate Juice
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
In a mixing glass, muddle the blueberries with the rum. Next add the remaining ingredients. Shake with ice, then double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
When I started making this back in the summer I used fresh blueberries, but since then I've also made it with the frozen kind and it still came out good. Please note that Maraschino Liqueur is not the red syrup that Maraschino Cherries come bottled in. It's this stuff.