PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
Final Grade: A-
Price: $24 (750ml)
PAMA is the category leader in pomegranate liqueurs for a reason -- it is by far the best one on the market. There are only a few of them out there, and none captures the pure flavor of pomegranate as well as PAMA does. In an area where the competitors taste, at best, merely like sweet, generic fruit, PAMA stands out for its authenticity and balanced flavor.
Its aroma and flavor resemble good quality pomegranate juice (like POM), with just the slightest hint of an alcoholic kick. (It's slight for a reason: PAMA is only 17% alcohol.)
I tried it straight first, chilled from the fridge, and was impressed. It's sweet, but not too sweet, with a satisfying, fruit flavor. It gives a mild warming feeling in the chest that one associates with drinking alcohol, but you probably wouldn't even notice if you weren't paying attention.
Although PAMA can be drunk neat, this liqueur is really designed to be mixed in cocktails, and its possibilities are almost endless. Its deep crimson color and balanced flavor (without a high sugar content) mean it makes a very nice addition to a wide range of cocktails. True grenadine -- not the syrupy cherry-flavored stuff -- is a pomegranate syrup, so the use of this fruit in cocktails is well established. (You could even substitute PAMA for grenadine in recipes.)
The PAMA website contains several recipes for using the liqueur in both cocktails and food. I actually whipped up something of my own, and then later discovered that they have a similar version already on their site. (I'll grant you -- it's not the most original idea for a drink you'll ever come across.)
I find this variation on the Cosmopolitan to be a tastier drink. It's simple enough that the home bartender can easily whip one up, and it's especially appealing for female drinkers. Give it a try the next time you have friends over. (If the guys are being fussy, give 'em a Pabst Blue Ribbon or something.)
Quality Grade: A-
Value Grade: A-
Final Grade: A-