Cocktail Weekends : Pomegranate Manhattan

You know that feeling when it’s Saturday but it’s so hot, you’d rather sit at home in a vest, inside your freezer and hang with the peas?

And when some cheeky food blogger puts the word ‘whiskey’ in this week’s cocktail post, you’re probably tempted to close this browser and go back to harvesting beer from Antarctica.

But what if I told you that the Pomegranate Manhattan has serious potential to become your go-to summer libation? And not cause it’s on ice, but because its fruity and herbaceous without butchering that bold flavour of bourbon you’ve come to love.


While this drink is loosely inspired by the Manhattan, it’s taken a few liberties enroute to my palate.

The original recipe uses rye whiskey, vermouth and a dash of bitter, built up on cracked ice. When was it invented? Who was the first to make it? Is it shaken or stirred? History is debatable on all these counts.

But here’s what is most important – a good Manhattan should be a balanced and fortifying. Like a deep tissue massage at the end of a laborious day. You gotta make it count.


Let’s talk about the Pomegranate Manhattan. I used Bourbon in place of Rye Whiskey. I find it spicier than Rye and a better fit for this recipe. I also swapped the bitters for fresh pomegranate juice, which adds a great freshness to the drink. And a distinct bitter-sour note towards the end of your tongue.

But here’s the clincher. Technically, there’s no added sugar in a Manhattan, since those notes exist in both the rye and vermouth. So I’ve used a hint of rosemary infused simple syrup to add balance and a wonderful aroma. The best part, is you can make tweak the bitter to sweet ratio of this drink to your liking. Or just add a few dashes of bitters, if you so crave.


Pomegranate Manhattan

For the Simple Syrup


  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Water
  • 2 big sprigs of fresh Rosemary


  • Bring together sugar and water over low heat and stir till all the sugar crystals dissolve.
  • There are two methods to infuse the rosemary. You could add it to the syrup while on the heat and take it off as soon as you’ve stirred it around. Steep it for atleast an hour.
  • Optionally, you could do a cold infusion by adding rosemary after it’s cooled down. This will require steeping for upto 12 hours, but the flavour will be bolder and more aromatic.
  • You can also bottle this mix and store it for later use.


For the Cocktail (Makes 1)


  • 60 ml Bourbon
  • 45 ml fresh Pomegarnate Juice
  • 5 ml Rosemary Simple Syrup


  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all the ingredients. Shake it like you own it!
  • Strain into a chilled Martini or Coupe glass and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Happy Drinking!







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