Martini & Rossi 'honors' Spirits Notebook

Really? Well, let's make that assumption. Otherwise, I'd have to say Martini & Rossi pilfered an original drink -- or at least its name.

M&R has sent out CDs to news media everywhere boosting a drink it calls the "Pom-Pom." It's part of a Winter Olympic Games-related push to remind consumers of M&R's Italian heritage. However, back on Nov. 26, 2003, I unveiled the "Pom Pomme," a drink I created for the holiday food section of the Albany (NY) Times Union. Here's the story, verbatim:

By William M. Dowd

Traditions have to begin somewhere. It's often difficult to trace them to their origins, but this one is a snap. It's The Pom Pomme, and it's brand new.

Challenged to come up with a new cocktail for the holidays, I hit on the idea of combining the fruit of the moment -- the pomegranate -- with the alcohol of the moment -- vodka; in this case, Chopin, a quadruple-distilled Polish vodka made from Podlaise region potatoes.

Pom from pomegranate, pomme de terre from the French for potato. Thus, The Pom Pomme.

One could, of course, really get into the holiday spirit by adding a touch of apple juice and a touch of apple liqueur to create a Pom Pomme Pomme Pomme, pomme by itself being French for apple. Or, a drop of rum and it's Rum Pom Pomme Pomme Pomme for Christmas parties. But that would be silly.

The new cocktail has many elements of the holiday feasting table -- the bittersweet tang of the pomegranate juice reminiscent of cranberry flavor, the rosy pink of the mixed ingredients, a touch of orange from the fruit often found on Thanksgiving tables or in a Christmas stocking.

Putting together a Pom Pomme is easy. Just have a tall cocktail shaker on hand, with plenty of crushed ice.

Pom Pomme
( Makes 2 drinks)

1 ounce pomegranate juice
1 medium orange
6 ounces Chopin or other potato vodka (Blue Ice, Luksusowa, Teton Glacier)
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
2 ounces Triple Sec

Directions: Cut orange in half. Use fruit reamer to squeeze juice of half the orange into the cocktail shaker half-filled with crushed ice. Add 1 ounce of pomegranate juice and stir slightly. Add vodka, superfine sugar and Triple Sec. Shake briskly, then strain into a chilled, stemmed cocktail glass. Drop a couple of seeds into the glass and garnish with an orange slice. Note: Pomegranate juice is available in the produce section of most supermarkets.

Here's the M&R recipe for its version:

3 parts M&R Extra Dry Vermouth
1 part pomegranate super juice (sweetened, otherwise you will need to add sugar)
1 part POM Wonderful or fresh pomegranate juice.
Orange twist
Directions: Build ingredients over ice, garnish with orange twist.

Your choice on which version you prefer. But, for the benefit of cocktail historians, remember where you read it first.

By the way, I'm not the only "victim" here. When I whined about this travesty via e-mail to Doug Blackburn, a newspaper colleague who writes on beer (among many other things), he responded:

" ... and today the august paper of record, the nyt, introduces its readers to barley wine. maybe they're simply following up on ... (this).

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