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Harry’s pick me up cocktail: homemade grenadine

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  • Harry’s pick me up cocktail with pomegranate and lemons in background
  • Harry’s pick me up cocktail isolated on blue background
  • making a Harry’s pick me up cocktail with bottles in background
  • Harry’s pick me up cocktail from 45 degrees with bar spoon
  • Harry’s pick me up cocktail with champagne, lemons and pomegranates in background
  • making a Harry’s pick me up cocktail from 45 degrees
harry's pick me up cocktail with pomegranates and lemons in the background

Harry’s pick me up cocktail with homemade grenadine is a seasonal variation on Harry’s pick me up cocktail appearing in Harry Craddock’s 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book using a homemade from scratch grenadine flavoured with fresh in season pomegranate juice, homemade pomegranate molasses and rose water. This is a delicious sour style cocktail which has a lot in common with a Daisy – brandy, lemon juice, grenadine – but with the bubbly water replaced with champagne, and a lemon twist garnish rather than a more elaborate fruit garnish. This is one of Harry Craddock’s pick me up cocktails like his Corpse Reviver No. 2 cocktail and his Hoop la’scocktail both of which are delicious and work along similar lines as a spirit forward cocktail with a sour element. The Harry’s pick me up is a little obscure and I could not find many online recipes or photography for this cocktail. In my seasonal twist on Harry’s pick me up cocktail, I have used homemade grenadine flavoured with homemade pomegranate molasses and rose water – this adds a delicate floral and exotic pomegranate flavour to the cocktail along with complex sugars from the homemade pomegranate molasses. I have added a lemon twist garnish for fresh lemon oil aroma and flavour and a pop of contrasting yellow against the pinky-red of the grenadine.

History of related recipes: Brandy Sour, Daisy, Corpse Reviver
The Harry’s pick me up cocktail recipe is related to a much older style of drink recipes with their roots in the Brandy sour – a drink that called for brandy, sugar dissolved in water and lemon juice. David Wondrich (2015: 115-119, 126-132) in Imbibe provides a history of the sour recipe and details how the drink evolved from a simple sugar, water, lemon, brandy combination to include more complex ingredients such as seltzer water, orange cordial and later grenadine, along with increasingly elaborate fruit garnishes such as berries in season, pineapple, mint, ice and use of straws. Wondrich (2015: 130-132) explains how the more complex versions of the sour came to be called a Daisy and were served in a large cocktail glass in the 1870’s having less seltzer water and then with more seltzer water, ice and straws in a ‘silver mug’ by 1910. Simon Difford (2019) writing for Difford’s Guide explains that the first Corpse Reviver recipe appeared in print in 1871 and interestingly one version of a Corpse Reviver recipe that Simon Difford cites published in 1937 calls for brandy, orange juice, lemon juice, grenadine and champagne – being very close to the Harry’s pick me up cocktail, except for the addition of orange juice.

Harry Craddock’s pick me up cocktail recipes in The Savoy Cocktail Book 1930
Harry Craddock (1930) in The Savoy Cocktail Book has a number of pick me up cocktails that were designed as a cure all, in part for hangovers – these pick me ups included the Corpse Reviver Cocktails, including the Corpse Reviver No. 2, along with the less well known Hoop la! cocktail and this Harry’s pick me up cocktail. These cocktails have in common a strong spirit forward character, being a short drink with cocktail strength, soured with lemon juice and sweetened with orange liqueur and Lillet blanc in the case of the Corpse Reviver No. 2 and the Hoop la! These two cocktails are also interestingly equal parts cocktails. Harry Craddock’s pick me up cocktails offer a transformation with a boozy undertone of gin or brandy flavoured with sweet orange cordial and Lillet blanc held in balance by the sourness of fresh lemon juice – a sweet-sour pick me up – that closely resembles the ‘Old School Daisy’ formula with slightly less sugar but the addition of the very flavoursome Lillet blanc with it’s lovely orange notes.

Harry’s pick me up cocktail recipe in The Savoy Cocktail Book 1930
Harry Craddock’s (1930: 1096) Harry’s pick me up cocktail recipe in The Savoy Cocktail Book calls for ‘1 Teaspoonful Grenadine’, ‘1 glass Brandy’ and ‘The juice of ½ Lemon’. The method for making this drink is shaking all the ingredients with ice, straining into a prepared ‘wine glass’ and topping with champagne, Craddock (1930: 1096) writes:

“Shake well and strain into medium sized wine glass, and fill balance with champagne.”

Related drinks – Daisy – The structure of the Harry’s pick me up cocktail is very much like what David Wondrich (2015: 126-132) identifies as a ‘New School Daisy’ from the 1910 era calling for brandy, grenadine and lemon, although it differs from this class of recipes because it is a shorter style cocktail strength drink that is topped with champagne, rather than a longer style drink charged with seltzer water and served in a ‘silver mug’ with ice, straws and an elaborate fruit garnish. In this way the Harry’s pick me up cocktail recipe calls back to what David Wondrich (2015: 126-132) identifies as ‘Old School Daisy’ recipes that were a shorter drink with less seltzer water although the ingredients and especially the use of grenadine is closer to the later ‘New School Daisy’.

Champagne to top a short cocktail strength drink – Craddock uses some of the key components of older Brandy Sour and Daisy recipes, such as brandy, lemon, grenadine, but keeping the drink spirit forward and short cocktail style with a top up of champagne rather than seltzer water, served without a garnish. Charging the drink with champagne bubbles adds to it’s already sweet-sour pick me up character from the lemon and grenadine on a base of boozy brandy adding a lovely tart effervescence that complements the other elements.

A note on measures – I have taken the wine glass referred to here to be a small wine glass, measuring 1 ½ oz, 1 ½ shots or 90mls – see David Wondrich (2015: 79) for more information on cocktail measures. I am also grateful to Frederic from Cocktail Virgin Slut who has provided a very clear online recipe for the Harry’s pick me up cocktail using these same equivalent measures.

How is Harrys’ pick me up cocktail with homemade grenadine different?
Bespoke fresh in season grenadine –
My seasonal twist on Harry’s pick me up cocktail uses homemade grenadine made using homemade pomegranate juice and molasses flavoured with rose water. The pomegranate molasses adds complex sugars while the rose water provides a delicate floral note that enhances the fresh pomegranate juice syrup. There is some preparation involved in making your own grenadine but it is well worth the effort involved as you will have a bespoke seasonal cocktail syrup to use in many different cocktails including this Harry’s pick me up cocktail. In a previous post I have provided a homemade grenadine recipe and detailed tips on how to easily juice pomegranates at home and make your own pomegranate molasses and syrup.

Tips for how to use homemade grenadine in cocktailsIn this recipe I have  increased the amount of grenadine to 2 bar spoons rather than 1 teaspoonful as the homemade grenadine is a lower sugar syrup that allows the true pomegranate flavour to shine through – because it is a little less sweet but a bit more flavoursome you can use a little more in your cocktail recipes.

Lemon twist garnish – Because I was juicing fresh lemons it seemed a shame to waste the zest and the lemon works so nicely with the homemade grenadine as a foil to it’s sweetness I added a lemon twist garnish that really works to add an uplifting lemon oil aroma and flavour to the finished drink along with a pop of contrasting yellow to the pink of the grenadine flavoured cocktail. The original recipe does not call for a garnish.

Use of the Harry’s pick me up cocktail: pick me up, aperitif – The name of this cocktail suggests it is a pick me up to be used as a cure all including for hang overs and it certainly does have pick me up qualities with it’s sweet-sour flavour, strong brandy base and fizz of champagne. However, Harrys’ pick me up cocktail with homemade grenadine makes a delicious before dinner drink or aperitif being sweet-sour and flavoured with exotic fresh pomegranate, pomegranate molasses and rose water along with tart lemon juice and a lemon twist on a boozy brandy base, charged with champagne bubbles. It’s an uplifting and fresh cocktail that is fun to make and serve and the colour is a gorgeous pink-red from the grenadine with the contrasting yellow of the lemon twist.

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ shots brandy, Courvoisier Cognac used here
  • Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 bar spoons of Homemade grenadine syrup
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist to garnish
  • Chilled champagne to top

Instructions

1

Place brandy, freshly squeezed lemon juice, grenadine and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10-15 seconds, until very cold and well combined

2

Strain into a prepared cocktail glass and carefully top with chilled champagne, do this slowly or the drink will overflow

3

Garnish with a lemon twist – gently bend the twist of lemon over the finished drink and run around the rim of the glass before twisting and placing on the rim as a garnish

Notes

Recommended books

Harry Craddock (1930). The Savoy Cocktail Book. Dover: New York.

David Wondrich (2015). Imbibe. Perigree: New York.

Online Harry’s pick me up and Corpse Reviver cocktail recipes

Frederic (2017). Harry’s pick-me-up. In Cocktail Virgin Slut.

Harry’s pick me up. In Epicurious.

Simon Difford (2019). Corpse reviver cocktails: recipes & history. In Difford's Guide.

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