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Over the holidays, Jody and I took a three-day trip to Cincinnati to visit my family for Christmas. While there, we stopped by one of my favorite bars in the city I used to frequent when I live there briefly in 2008 called The Famous Neons Unplugged. I hadn’t been in years, and the place truly hadn’t changed as far as I could recall. But one thing that made our most recent trip one to remember was the beautiful cocktail I ordered: a Pomegranate Rosemary Old Fashioned.

There’s just something about Cincinnati that makes me want to drink Bourbon. Maybe it’s because it practically spills into Kentucky. Or more appropriately, because Kentucky seems to spill into Cincinnati.

While this cocktail had been aged in a whiskey barrel for five weeks already, according to our bartender, we decided to give it a go back home in Cleveland with our own interpretation. Lighter in sweetness but stronger in flavor, this Pomegranate Rosemary Old Fashioned is all you need to kick off the New Year.*


For two cocktails, you will need:

Fresh rosemary: Three five-inch sprigs should do.
One pomegranate: Peeled and seeds removed and placed in a bowl, or one cup already seeded. Tip: How to deseed a pomegranate
Bourbon or Rye Whiskey of your choice: You’ll need four ounces. We like Knob Creek and Bulleit.
Vermouth: Two ounces.
Bitters: Four dashes will work.

Get shaking or stirring:

Once you have your ingredients ready to go, cut up one sprig of rosemary and place it in a bowl with 3/4 of your pomegranate seeds. With a muddler, gently mash the pomegranate and rosemary together so it becomes pulp-like. Set aside.

In a regular sized cocktail shaker, fill half-way with ice cubes and add your whiskey, vermouth, and bitters, then add the rosemary and pomegranate last. Shake for about six seconds, then strain into a short cocktail glass. (If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can stir instead of shake.)

Plop a few pomegranate seeds into each drink as well as one rosemary sprig as garnish. Tchin Tchin!

*Unless you’re doing the Whole30 this month, like us. More on that later!