The Mixology Monday theme for this month comes from Dinah Sanders, author of The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level. The concept of the “Shim”, a term coined by Dinah, is a complex and artful, yet low alcohol, drink. A few years ago, I worked on a number of nonalcoholic, “zero proof” drinks. However, the notion of a low alcohol cocktail was new to me. When I first ran across Dinah’s book, I thought the shim was a cool idea, and made it part of my collection. Now that it is the topic for this month’s MxMo, I have been pushed to explore the concept.
I first tried several fortified wines with various liquors, but nothing was exciting. What I settled on is the Pomegranate Hibiscus Shim, (partly I’m sure because I’m not ready to give up summer). The ingredients: lemon juice, allspice dram and the hibiscus and pomegranate liquors, are brought together by the homemade grenadine. The drink tastes of pomegranate and citrus with floral notes laced with the allspice dram. You can close your eyes and think of the Islands … or Fall, whichever you prefer!
I used homemade grenadine and allspice dram. Both of these can easily be purchased. Grenadine is supposed to be pomegranate syrup as apposed to whatever that bottled red liquid you find in the grocery store. My recipe for grenadine, see below, is basically simple syrup made with pomegranate juice instead of water. There are two additional ingredients: rose water (sub Fees Brothers Orange Flower Water) and pomegranate molasses available at Middle Eastern groceries or Amazon here. You can also find small batch grenadine’s, such as Jack Ruby, at better liquor stores.
The allspice dram is from a recipe by Beachbum Berry. It is also simple but does require 6 – 8 weeks to make. Allspice dram, also known as Pimento Liqueur, is made by St. Elizabeth and Bitter Truth. Both are readily available. If you want to try the DIY version, It was published at amountainofcrushedice for a MxMo in 2008.
This drink does not contain any high proof liquor. It does have the allspice dram which comes in at 35% ABV. The Pomegranate Hibiscus Shim is less than 6% ABV.
Here is the recipe for the Pomegranate Hibiscus Shim:
- 1 1/4 oz. lemon juice
- 3/4 oz. simple syrup
- 1/2 oz. Hibiscus liquor such as Fruit Labs
- 1/2 oz. Allspice Dram – homemade or St Elizabeth’s
- 1/2 oz. Pomegranate Liqueur such as Pama
- 2 oz. club soda
- 1 dash Hella Bitters Citrus Bitters
- Lemon wedge and lemon peel for garnish
- Build drink in a Collin’s glass over ice
- Express the oil from the lemon peel over the drink and discard the peel.
- Serve with the lemon wedge as garnish
Grenadine is made from pomegranates, not cherries. It is supposed to be red. If you boil this, it will be brown. There is no need to reduce the juice on the stove. Heat it just enough to dissolve the sugar, no more. You can use Whey Low, but it will not be as sweet.
- 2 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 4 cups sugar or 2 cups Whey Low
- 1 tsp. rose water sub Fees Brothers Orange Flower Water
- 2 oz. pomegranate molasses
- Handful dried hibiscus flowers (optional)
- In a sauce pan, slowly heat juice and sugar, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved. Do not allow to boil.
- Add hibiscus flowers, if using, and simmer on very low for 10 min.
- Remove from heat, fish out and discard the Hibiscus leaves, and add rose water and molasses.
- Allow to cool and decant into a glass bottle.
- Keep refrigerated.