A Drink That Sings
The girl who tries to take my cocktail is wearing flat, fringed boots and red pigtails. We meet, briefly, on a balmy afternoon on Frenchmen Street, where I'm sitting on a stoop with Christopher Starnes. He's just crafted Persephone's Downfall, a blushing drink dancing with crunchy pomegranate seeds.
I set it on the sidewalk for a minute. Quick reflexes (honed by years of dodging cyclists in the Marigny) keep my drink safe, though of course the thirsty hipster wanted it - with a fizzy berry nose, this cocktail is full of life. Champagne animates its hand-juiced blood oranges and sultry pomegranate molasses, and makes the pomegranate seeds "jump up and down in the glass," Christopher says.
Vanilla vodka (softer than the extract Christopher experimented with) rounds out the juices and bittersweet Solerno, while bumping up the booze. "It's our most fun drink," says Christopher, referring to a program already filled with whimsical names and clever homegrown ingredients.
This one also has a backstory - it's named for the Greek goddess Persephone, doomed to spend six months every year in the underworld after being tricked into eating pome granate seeds (six of them, for each month in winter and spring; the myth is how ancient Greeks explained the changing seasons). The seeds themselves symbolize fertility.
"Chicks dig it," says Christopher, "but it'll absolutely knock you on your ass."
Written by Christopher Starnes, courtesy of Three Muses—536 Frenchman St.
• 2 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice
• 0.5 ounce PAMA pomegranate liqueur
• 0.5 ounce Solerno blood orange liqueur
• 0.5 ounce Absolut Vanilla
• 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses (available at Mona's Café and Deli)
• 4 ounces chilled champagne
• Pomegranate seeds
Stir together juice, liqueurs, vodka and molasses. Pour into a fluted glass and top with champagne. Garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serves 1.