Pink grapefruit and pomegranate comprise the main ingredients in this gorgeously hued soda, and yet you might have a hard time picking out either flavor. What it does taste like is the holidays: merry, bright, a little spiced and very festive.
To make the syrup for this seasonal fruit soda, you simply simmer grapefruit and pomegranate juices with sugar and star anise. Mixed with carbonated water, it's a vivid drink with just the right balance of sweet and tart and a licorice-y warmth from the star anise. Some tasters have compared the flavor to elderberries, lingonberries, or "something European ... unusual and sophisticated." Although some kids might enjoy this, it's more of a grown-up soda and perfect, I think, for any non-alcohol drinkers at holiday gatherings.
Note: There are many different ways to juice a pomegranate. I generally seed it first and then run the arils through my Hurom Slow Juicer or a blender (and then straining). Some people cut the fruit in half and use a hand citrus juicer, while others roll the pomegranate on the counter to loosen the juice, poke a hole in it, and squeeze out the juice. Use whatever method works for you – or get store-bought pomegranate juice if you prefer.
Makes about 6 drinks
1/2 cup pink or red grapefruit juice (from about 1 small grapefruit)
1/2 cup pomegranate juice (from about 1 medium pomegranate)
1 cup sugar
2 star anise pods
Pomegranate arils for garnish (optional)
Combine grapefruit juice, pomegranate juice, sugar, and star anise in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugars.
Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain and discard solids. Let syrup cool completely.
To serve, fill an 8-ounce glass halfway with ice cubes, add 3 tablespoons of syrup, fill with soda water, and stir. Add more syrup for a sweeter or stronger flavor. Garnish with pomegranate arils.
Related: Cocktail Basics: DIY Grenadine Syrup
(Images: Emily Ho)