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.
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.
(Images: Emily Ho)