A touch of bitterness is balanced by a bright cordial that has warm hints of autumnal crispness. Fragrant and complex, the star of this drink is a homemade pomegranate-hibiscus cordial that has a pucker of acidity and an infusion of lipstick red tones. This drink has the charm of a well-made gin & tonic, sans the juniper of the gin.
Pairs well with: BBQ and vinegar flavors; the bitterness will cut through sweetness and play off vinegar.
Make the Cordial. In a medium saucepan, bring one cup water to a gentle boil. Add remaining Cordial ingredients and reduce heat to very low. Cover and let infuse for 15-30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely. Once cool, strain solids and pour into a clean container. Cover and let cool to room temperature before using. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
Make the Cooler. In a highball (tall) glass, combine first three Cooler ingredients. Give a quick stir to combine. Add ice, then top with tonic a little at a time, so as not to overwhelm the flavors.
Prep tip: Keep fresh ice cubes on hand made with high-quality water such as FIJI water.
Alternate Method for Cordial
Try this method when you have the time for a cordial that is slightly less acidic and more cinnamon-forward. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a gentle boil. In a mason jar or plastic bag, combine all Cordial ingredients. Seal and gently cook in a water bath (sous vide) for two hours. Water should be hot and gently boiling; keep the heat at the lowest temperature, and check often that the water covers the mixture at all times. Remove from heat and proceed with remaining steps, as above.
For the Cooler:
For the Cordial (can be made ahead):