RECIPE: Mezcal-Pomegranate Holiday Punch | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures RECIPE: Mezcal-Pomegranate Holiday Punch | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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RECIPE: Mezcal-Pomegranate Holiday Punch

Pomegranate Mezcal Punch
[1] Persephone Punch, made with mulled pomegranate juice (photo © Gem & Bolt).

Star Anise
[2] Star anise pods, available from Silk Road Spices (photo © Silk Road Spices.

[3] Pomegranate and its arils. The juice is squeezed from the arils (photo © Kelly Cline | iStock Photo).

[4] Juniper berries, available from Silk Road Spices (photo © Silk Road Spices.

[5] The 200ml bottle of Bolt Mezcal (photo © Gem & Bolt).


One of the differences between tequila and mezcal is the smoky flavor of mezcal (here are the other differences).

This punch uses mezcal instead of tequila to add something extra.

The recipe, from Gem & Bolt Mezcal, was named for Persephone, the Greek goddess of vegetation and the unwilling wife of Hades, god of the Underworld.

If you recall your Greek mythology, Persephone was abducted by Hades. Zeus demanded her return, but first Hades tricked her.

He encouraged her to eat some pomegranate seeds and then claimed that, because she had tasted food in the Underworld, she was obliged to spend a third of each year there (one month for each seed eaten, as we recall).

These became the winter months, when no crops grew on Earth because of Persephone’s absence from it.

For an alcohol-free version, serve the mulled pomegranate juice with ginger ale.

Ingredients For 20 Servings

  • 1 bottle (750ml) Gem & Bolt Mezcal (or substitute), chilled
  • 1 bottle (750ml) dry sparkling wine (Cava, Prosecco, etc.), chilled
  • 1 quart mulled pomegranate juice (see below)
  • Garnish: blood orange wheels (substitute conventional oranges), pomegranate seeds, star anise pods
    For The Mulled Pomegranate Juice

  • 1 quart pomegranate juice (Pom Wonderful or other no-sugar-added brand)
  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 star anise pods

    1. COMBINE the mulled pomegranate juice ingredients a container and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Strain and discard the spices.

    2. ADD to the punch bowl (or a large pitcher) with the chilled wine and spirits. Stir only slightly to blend: You don’t want to burst the bubbles.

    Gem & Bolt is produced by a fourth-generation master distiller in Oaxaca, Mexico, using espadín agave* (Agave angustifolia) and mountain spring water.

    Espadín agave, a plant pollinated at night by bats, takes up to 10 years to mature in the hot, dry climate.

    The hand-harvested agave is slowly wood-roasted in earth pit ovens, and mashed with a traditional tahona stone, a large wheel chiseled out of volcanic stone, and configured to rotate in a stone pit (here’s a photo).

    The roasted mash is then fermented naturally in wooden vats, and distilled in small copper stills.

    Adding to its distinction, Gem & Bolt mezcal is uniquely distilled with damiana (Turnera diffusa), an herb from a flowering woody bush native to Mexico.

    As far back as the Mayas and Aztecs, the damiana leaf and stem were used to make medicine. The medicine was used for its mood-elevating properties and as an aphrodisiac.

    Aphrodisiac or not, you’ll enjoy this premium mezcal.

    Some English words have more than one spelling: doughnut vs. donut, omelet vs. omelette, and so on.

    Many of these variations are historical or are from different languages. It often doesn’t make a difference which spelllng you choose.

    Except in the case of smoky vs. smokey. Here, there is a clear cut difference.

  • Smoky is an adjective defining something that has the aroma or flavor of smoke, or is smoke-filled, e.g. a smoky room.
  • Smokey refers to only one thing: the character Smokey Bear (erroneously called Smokey the Bear), who is the mascot for the U.S. Forest Service.
    Smokey Bear’s creators spelled his name this way intentionally, to differentiate it from the adjective “smoky” [source].

    Few people realize the difference. Thus, there are many foods called, e.g. Smokey Blue Cheese and Smokey Red Sensation Salsa.


    *By law, Mezcal can be made from some 30 different agave species, varieties and subvarieties. Espadín is the most prominent variety in Oaxaca. By contrast, tequila can be made only with the blue agave plant, Agave tequilana Weber.



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