Decidedly fresh with notes of rosemary and lime, this Pomegranate Spritzer is one of the easiest winter drinks you can make. You start with an infused white wine, pomegranate juice, and a punch of cherry brandy. Lime muddled with rosemary and honey gives the drink a vibrant flavor touched with botanical notes, and then you finish it all off with sparkling mineral water.
Jump to What is it? | What's in it? | Variations
What is it?
At its most basic, a spritzer is a lightly alcoholic cocktail made by mixing wine, usually white, with sparkling mineral water. To add flavor, you can add citrus and other fruit juices as well as herbs and spices. In addition, many recipes (including this one) call for some form of hard alcohol or bitters.
What's in it?
While there's an immense amount of variation from recipe to recipe, you'll find that most pomegranate spritzers call for three key ingredients: alcohol, pomegranate juice, and sparkling water. For this version, you'll start by muddling lime juice with honey and rosemary before straining it into a pitcher filled with herb-infused wine, pomegranate juice, and cherry brandy.
White wine. The wine forms the base of the spritzer, and the herbs give it a deeper, more resonant flavor.
Cherry brandy gives it a deep fruity note and an extra punch of alcohol, but you can easily swap tart cherry juice if you prefer your pomegranate spritzer a little less boozy.
Pomegranate juice is the heart of the spritzer, giving it a vibrant color and sweet, but astringent flavor. Pomegranate juice is also rich in polyphenols, or phytonutrients, that help combat inflammation (1).
Lime juice brightens the astringent, tannic notes of pomegranate giving the spritzer a pleasant brightness.
Rosemary brings an herbal note to the spritzer, balancing the flavors of both pomegranate and lime. Like pomegranates, rosemary is rich in various polyphenols that help combat inflammation (2) and is traditionally used to support memory and cognitive health. The work of some modern researchers supports this traditional use (3, 4).
Which wine should you use?
I prefer to use a naturally fermented, low-sugar white wine from Dry Farm Wines in this recipe. It's also free from a lot of the additives you'll find in conventional wine.
For an alcohol-free version, swap the herbal wine for a mix made of one-quarter white wine vinegar and three-quarters pomegranate juice. Swap the cherry brandy for unsweetened tart cherry juice.
To make your own herb-infused wine, take a chardonnay or similar white wine and pour 16 ounces into a large jar. Add 1 rosemary branch, 1 tablespoon juniper berries, and 2 tablespoons finely chopped orange peel. Steep for 1 week, and then strain.
For a version using red wine, substitute the herbal aperitif for a fruity red wine.
Want to go lighter on the booze? Skip the cherry brandy and add tart cherry juice instead.
Try these botanically-inspired drinks next
- Danesi, Francesca, and Lynnette R Ferguson. “Could Pomegranate Juice Help in the Control of Inflammatory Diseases?.” Nutrients vol. 9,9 958. 30 Aug. 2017
- Jiang, T Alan. “Health Benefits of Culinary Herbs and Spices.” Journal of AOAC International vol. 102,2 (2019): 395-411.
- Tsui, P. F., Lin, C. S., Ho, L. J., & Lai, J. H. (2018). Spices and Atherosclerosis. Nutrients
- Pengelly A., et al. (2012) Short-term study on the effects of rosemary on cognitive function in an elderly population. J Med Food. 2012
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