As I’ve mentioned before, I host a cookie swap every year. This year, I made my candy cane brookies and a chewy lemon cookie that were delicious. My friends all brought some amazing cookies, as well as appetizers to munch on. It’s always a fun evening, and I love having people over to celebrate. Part of what I do to make the night special every year is to create a signature cocktail to serve with the cookies and appetizers. I always have other beverages available, but this refreshing recipe is one I cooked up for this year’s cookie swap, and it was so much fun to look at and to drink.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make at first, but when I went to Walmart to pick up ingredients to make my cookies, I saw this huge display at the front of the store for $1 two liters of 7UP® and Canada Dry Ginger Ale®. That sparked my idea, and I’m so glad I happened to see them (and $1 for two liters makes me feel like I’m in high school again, and that alone makes me happy).
Remember last week when I showed you how to cut a pomegranate and promised a recipe to go with it? My signature cocktail this year was a pomegranate fizz. I love finding ways to incorporate the colors of the holiday into my signature drink, and this does it beautifully. I love the floating pomegranate arils added to the top, as well. They add a fun and unique look to the drink – and they float due to the Canada Dry Ginger Ale® I add as a topper at the end, rather than sinking like they normally do.
This year, I had some kids attending, as well, which meant that I made both an adult version of the pomegranate fizz and a kiddie version without any alcohol. Both turned out great, and Little Miss was so proud that I let her drink out of an adult glass, too. It was a great way to make the kids feel included and special on that night, as well, rather than just feeling like they’re underfoot again.
The recipe was easy to make, mostly because I used pomegranate juice that I bought rather than making my own from pomegranates I had in the house. I prepped a pomegranate the day before and removed all the arils and set them in a dish. The simple syrup I also made the day before, and earlier in the day before the party, I mixed together the vodka, simple syrup, and pomegranate juice in a pitcher – leaving some pomegranate juice aside for the kids! All we had to do to serve ourselves was pour a glass of the pomegranate mix, top it with some of the Canada Dry Ginger Ale® and add a few pomegranate arils. It took seconds, but the visual appeal was exactly what I was looking for.
Because I didn’t want to chance two pitchers getting confused with kids at the party, I left the remaining pomegranate juice in the bottle and switched it up a little for the kids. I used 7UP® to mix with the pomegranate juice, since it’s a little sweeter than Canada Dry Ginger Ale® and I didn’t use the simple syrup in that mixture. I went with a two parts 7UP® to one part pomegranate juice, and that seemed to be the perfect mix for the kids.
Whenever I serve a signature drink, I always make sure we have a way to tell our drinks apart. I love using wine charms, since we otherwise have identical drinks in identical glasses, and no one ever remembers where they set down their drink. I have several sets, but for this party, I wanted to make my own wine charms that I could then use as favors for the friends who attended. They were able to take them home, along with their cookies, as a memento of our fun night together.
How to Make Wine Charms
Making wine charms is easier than you might think. You need only a few tools and materials. I picked up some 20 gauge copper wire, although 26 gauge could work, but the 20 gauge is thinner and easier to bend, so I prefer it. The 16 gauge wire is far too thin for this purpose. I chose a black wire to set off the black accents in the charms I picked up, but you can easily go with a base silver or any of the other fun colors out there. I also found some great charms, and there are more beads and charms available than you can shake a stick out. Just find some that you like that aren’t too long (so they’ll still fit over the wire and slide down the loop without getting stuck) and have a wide enough center hole to fit, and you’re set. The only other tools you’ll need are a needle nose pliers and wire cutters, along with something cylindrical that is the diameter of the charm you want to create. I used a tart molder that I have in my kitchen, but anything will work.
To start, measure out 3 to 4 inches of the copper wire, depending on how large you want to make your charms. I typically make mine just a little over three inches. Cut off as many sections of that length as charms you’re planning to make using your wire cutters.
Pick up your cylindrical mold and hold the middle of the wire against it with one thumb.
With your other thumb, gently slide along the length of the wire on one side to mold it to your cylinder and repeat on the other side so that it has formed a circle with the ends of your wire crossing.
Use your needle nose pliers to grasp the very end of one side of the wire. Twist down and towards the loop you’ve created 180 degrees. This will create the hook that holds your wine charm closed. Once you have made it, release the pliers and remove them from the loop.
Pick up your charms and slide them onto your loop in whatever order you choose. You can use as many or as few as you like, depending on your preference. In the center of your charms and beads is typically where you place the one that differentiates that wine charm from the others. Make sure you have something unique, whether it be a color or a shape, so that they aren’t identical.
Once you have your charms on the loop, pick up your needle nose pliers again and grasp the other end of your loop with the pliers. Gently tip it up until you reach a 90 degree angle and release. This will be the arm that goes into the hook you created on the other side.
Test your wine charm to ensure that it stays closed. If you can’t get it to hook, make sure that the small loop you created with the needle nose pliers is perpendicular to the arm you created. If it isn’t, simply twist it gently until it is. If your arm is too long and sticks up too much, use the wire cutters to trim it. If your charm doesn’t want to stay closed, gently pull the loop a little wider that will provide more tension and help the wine charm stay closed.
Once your wine charms are created, place them on your glasses and let your friends choose their favorites to be their charms for the night – and beyond if you give them as favors.
The other key for me is to ensure that kids also remember their glasses. Since I allowed them to use the same glasses as the adults and a drink that looked awfully similar, I ensured I had child charms, as well. They were entirely different from our charms and I kept those glasses near the kid section of the beverages so that there was no confusion between them. I think they’re adorable, and the kids were happy to have their own version of charms, just like their parents.
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz pomegranate juice
- 1.5 oz ginger ale
- Pomegranate arils
- Create your simple syrup and cool it ahead of time. In a small saucepan, heat one part water to a boil. Add two parts sugar once the water is boiling (if making 1 cup of water, add 2 cups of sugar). Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved, then remove the syrup from the heat and let cool.
- To prep for your cocktail, seed a pomegranate and place the arils in a bowl.
- In a pitcher, add the simple syrup, vodka, and pomegranate juice. You can make as many or as few servings as you like keeping the ratios the same.
- When you are ready to serve your cocktail, pour the prepared mix into a champagne flute about half to two thirds full. Top with the chilled ginger ale and add the pomegranate arils.
- Serve immediately.
Do not add the ginger ale until you are ready to serve, or the drink will go flat. You can also make this a kiddie version by simply mixing one part pomegranate juice with two parts 7UP, which takes the place of the simple syrup.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 381 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 15mg Carbohydrates: 74g Fiber: 11g Sugar: 60g Protein: 5g