There is so much citrus in my life that my dentist once looked at me quizzically and wondered aloud whether I’d been acid-washing my teeth on purpose. It’s a hazard that comes with the job: I spent the last few years writing two cocktail books (in other words, making drinks with lime and lemon all day long). And that’s not even counting the fresh citrus I use for cooking: the nightly salads or the lemon curd I’d make from the freaky, misshapen fruits of our old backyard’s monstrous lemon tree.
But even with all that citrus-guzzling, my favorite fruit to crush in my handy citrus juicer isn’t orange, or lemon, or even lime. It’s fresh pomegranate.
To be clear, I’m not fully convinced that eating pomegranate is worth the work. Harvesting the little jewel-like arils, even if you’re into tricks like submerging the fruit in a bowl of water or smacking it with a spoon, takes time. And then you’ve got, at best, juicy seeds. Maybe you love them. I’d rather just have the juice.
Bartender Gabriella Mlynarczyk taught me a trick to get at it: put quarters of the fruit straight into a citrus squeezer, with the cut side facing out. As long as you’ve got a hinged manual citrus press with really good leverage, an easy squeeze harvests the bright, fragrant juice efficiently. (Pro tip: hold the juicer over a bowl or large glass measuring cup to avoid splatter.)
$25.00, Williams Sonoma
Once you’ve tasted how tangy and bright fresh pomegranate juice is, watch out—there’s no going back to the bottled stuff. “Fresh pom juice is so much more complex” in flavor, Mlynarczyk explains. “Bottled juice, once pasteurized, tastes a bit flat in comparison.” Fresh pomegranate juice also has a wine-like tannic quality that makes it especially great in cocktails. Add a little to your Paloma, mix it with Champagne, or try the drink that kicked off my obsession: Mlynarczyk’s delicious pomegranate, mezcal, and harissa cocktail from The One-Bottle Cocktail, the Marrakesh Express.Maggie Hoffman
Originally Appeared on Epicurious