This simple pomegranate cocktail with rosemary is totally gluten free and uses just 5 real food ingredients. Add this to your holiday must-make list!
I'm mostly a wine drinker but I admit that a fancy cocktail can add a certain festive flair to a gathering, especially around the holidays.
One thing that's not so festive though? The post sugary-cocktail hangover that leaves you super sluggish the next day. Enter the 5 ingredient real food cocktail you've been looking for!
This one has a beautiful deep red color from the pomegranate juice and the rosemary gives it a uniqueness worthy of a holiday party.
As with all of my recipes, it's also totally prep-able so you just have to put the finishing touches on the day-of. This one is actually straight from my Holiday e-Cookbook, which is full of prep-ahead recipes perfect for this season. Make sure to check it out if you haven't yet – it has a mocktail recipe just as delicious as this pomegranate cocktail for any non-drinkers out there!
Pomegranate Cocktail with Rosemary
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs (optional, more for garnish)
- 2 cups pomegranate juice*
- 1/2 cup gluten-free vodka
- 4 cups soda water (or champagne)
- Place 1⁄2 c honey + 1⁄2 c water + 3 whole sprigs of fresh rosemary in a small saucepan on stove top over medium heat.
- Allow mixture to just begin to bubble, turn to low and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
- In a large pitcher, place: 2 c ice cubes + 2 c pomegranate juice + 1⁄2 c vodka + 4 c soda water.
- Remove rosemary sprigs from simple syrup and add simple syrup to the pitcher. Stir to combine. Option to serve with a rosemary garnish.
Is all vodka gluten free?
In general, vodka is gluten free due to the distillation process – even if it's made with gluten-containing grains!
However, some manufacturers add in gluten-containing flavorings or other ingredients after distillation, so you can't be too careful if you have a gluten intolerance.
Some brands, like Austin-based Tito's Vodka, are certified gluten free so choose one of these if you're concerned.
Is this pomegranate cocktail Paleo?
The strictest interpretation of the Paleo diet does not include alcohol but many followers of the Paleo lifestyle do choose to drink alcohol in moderation, paying particular attention to the type and quality of the alcohol.
Red wine is considered one of the most Paleo-friendly drinks, as it contains valuable antioxidants. In particular, low sugar organic wines are a good fit for many Paleo eaters.
In addition to wine, many consider hard ciders and some liquors to be Paleo-friendly.
Tequila made using 100% agave is a good example of a Paleo-friendly liquor and some vodkas make the cut as well. If you want to stay as close as possible to the Paleo guidelines while drinking the occasional vodka cocktail, look for vodka that's made from potatoes (or even coconuts!) instead of grains.
If you choose a potato-based vodka, this is a relatively Paleo-friendly cocktail, but there are so many interpretations of Paleo, it really comes down to what you feel good about in the end.
What is the nutrition like for this holiday drink recipe?
Let's be real, a cocktail is not a superfood, BUT this one does include a few pretty awesome nutrients. Let's take a look!
- Pomegranate Juice: In addition to vitamin C and vitamin K, pomegranates are rich in a powerful antioxidant called punicalagins and another highly beneficial plant compound known as punicic acid. Pomegranates are highly anti-inflammatory and may help fight cancer, lower blood pressure and even improve athletic performance. As always, make sure to check the ingredients to make sure you're getting 100% pomegranate juice!
- Rosemary: Did you know that even just smelling rosemary can give you a brain boost? Inhaling the scent can improve memory, focus and mood. Rosemary is also full of antioxidants! Many studies on rosemary focus on the extract or essential oils so more research is needed to understand the positive impact of adding rosemary to your diet.
- Honey: Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which are strongest in darker honey. Buy raw local honey when possible as filtering the honey can diminish its nutrients.
Can I make this holiday cocktail recipe non-alcoholic?
Yes! If you'd like to make a non-alcoholic version, simply use club soda instead of champagne and omit the vodka.
I recommend adding the simple syrup a little at a time since you may not need as much without the vodka in the mix.
This would be a fun mocktail for kids or any non-drinkers at a holiday gathering!
Can I prep this winter cocktail ahead of time?
You can totally prep this drink ahead of time. Being prep-ahead friendly is one my my key criteria for holiday menus, even more so than with my regular menus. No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen instead of spending time with family and it makes the whole thing SO much less stressful!
To prep this winter cocktail ahead of time, make the simple syrup and store in the fridge. Also prep the rosemary sprigs, washing and trimming as needed. (Make sure to check out my video on the easiest way to chop rosemary here!)
Once you have the simple syrup prepped, you literally just pour everything into a pitcher and mix, it couldn't be easier!
What are some variations on this pomegranate cocktail recipe?
You can experiment with all sorts of simple variations on this pomegranate vodka drink! Here are a few that I think sound delicious:
- Use a different herb: I love using herbs in my cooking (and cocktails!) and this one would be just as delicious with mint as it is with rosemary.
- Mix up the fruit juice: While I would keep the pomegranate juice in the mix, you could easily make your own blend, using half pomegranate and half orange juice or tart cherry juice. Play around with it until you find your favorite combination!
- Try gin: If you want to play up the herbaceous notes in this pomegranate cocktail, try subbing your favorite gin for the vodka.
What are some other festive holiday recipes?
If you're looking for more healthy holiday recipes, check out my Thanksgiving roundup (these work well for Christmas too!), my 3 Festive Holiday Salads and my Prep Ahead Holiday Appetizers. I think Keto Cheesecake Bites would also be delicious to add to a dessert spread and if you have overnight guests, try making a batch of Chai Spiced Muffins!
Also, don't forget to check out my Holiday e-Cookbook for more prep-ahead recipes perfect for the holidays! It's worth it for the coconut chocolate truffles recipe alone 🙂
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