July 09 • pomegranate wine
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey. (Deuteronomy 8:7-8)
It’s interesting that pomegranates are mentioned in the bible here, in the same breath as “of vines”, yet pomegranate wine has always taken a back seat to traditional wine made from grapes. I didn’t know pomegranates held the monikers of “divine” and “the most mentioned fruit” in theological books, which shouldn’t be too surprising with their abundance in middle eastern countries where wine is produced – Israel, Armenia, Georgia, Iran.
Who knows if pomegranate wine ever made an appearance during The Last Supper, or if the apple ‘bombshell’ the serpent dropped on Eve in the Garden of Eden was really a pomegranate… which, funnily enough, the French call grenades(!) What we do know is that there’s ancient wisdom embedded in those messy, bittersweet rubies that the American market is finally coming around to.
My association with pomegranates and beverage options started and stopped at grenadine, that devilish and delicious bar syrup that always made its way into my Shirley Temples… and to the many accompanying jokes surrounding a grown man ordering a Shirley Temple. Now, I’d love to tell you that my choice of cocktail was born out of knowing that authentic grenadine was made from pomegranate concentrate, and then rhyme off the many health benefits of “ellagic acid, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and flavones”, but I’d be lying. It was more about feeding a life-long sugar addiction, knowing full well that the “fruit component” of that sticky red elixir of life had long been replaced by the fructose factory.
But back to the ancient wisdom of the desert, where those tiny umbrellas found on your Pink Lady or Tequila Sunrise really won’t do you any good. Back to the ancient books, where lo and behold, pomegranates have been eaten throughout history for their health and medicinal benefits! This is where our scientists kindly step in with their placards that read “more than 100 phytochemicals”, “vitamins A, C, and E”, and “three times more antioxidants than red wine and green tea.” With anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-tumor properties, the pomegranate is finally being awknowledged for being one of the healthiest fruits on earth. So, it’s not that mommy needs her alone time with a glass of wine, away from the kids — mommy’s just getting her vitamins.
So, what is that 4 o’clock experience like for the matron of the house? For the most part, pomegranate wines are dry and acidic, with less alcohol content than grape wine. Like it’s grape counterpart, they vary in color, taste and quality. Made sweeter by adding sugar (or mixing grape wine), pure pomegranate wines can be 100 to 200 percent more expensive than similar grape wine varieties. You can find it in pure, semi-sweet, fruity, or sparkling in the US market (California) or imported wines from Armenia or Israel.
Is the pomegranate simple, or complicated? Maybe it depends on the person sampling it. Its flavor can be simple, direct, tart. Or loaded with as many stories as its history and folklore. In your glass, they’ve saved you from the work and messiness of breaking one open and getting at its many seeds. Getting at what it really has to offer, what it has always had to offer. Quiet and unassuming, like a king in the desert, the round red fruit with “the crown on its head”. Or a queen. Let’s not forget about mom. And maybe close the door behind us.
July 25 • Music
Jim Morrison and The Doors remain one of the most enduring enigmas of American Rock N’ Roll. The band that met in film school and called the streets of Venice their home, opened “the doors” to a psychedelic Rock N’ Roll discography that has planted and blossomed millions of fans around the world. And yet, there is still so much that has been overlooked, especially for what the city of Los Angeles meant for Jim Morrison.
July 15 • shots
It’s always a race against the heat in the West. Hell, there’s a score of difference races around here. There’s a race to the riches and a race to the hills where the riches lay. There’s a race to food and shelter and the means in which a man might make to get them. There’s a race to the women and to the brothels and saloons where you can find them at. I don’t look for my women in those places but I often find myself in them for other races. Mine is a race to whiskey. It’s only a matter of time before I find myself in one today.
March 01 • Distillers
France’s contributions to the world involve gourmet food, beverages, wine, the revolution, and the Eiffel Tower, to name some. Beverages like Cognac, Armagnac, and Champagne are famous the world over.
August 12 • Coffee Producers
The Stumptown coffee buyers are called the Green Team members. These people sit down around a
campfire or in the home of a producer and talk about the year’s crop. They have met with these
producers many times because they have slowly been working on building long-lasting relationships.