Pama is the most popular brand of pomegranate-flavored liqueur. It is made with pomegranate juice, vodka, and tequila and produced by Heaven Hill Brands out of Bardstown, Kentucky. Since its release in 2006, Pama has gained the attention of bartenders worldwide, though it's most often used in the U.S. It's a great addition to any bar and is essential for creating many impressive and fun pomegranate cocktails.
Before Pama, grenadine was the go-to mixer that added the flavor of pomegranates to cocktails. The two can be used interchangeably but you might need to reduce the amount when switching from the liqueur to the syrup. If you don't make it yourself, buy quality grenadine. Many are artificially flavored (sometimes without pomegranate) and can be too sweet.
Pama is not the only liqueur of the flavor, either. For a substitute, look for brands like Bols, Drillaud, Gabriel Boudier, Grenade, Joseph Cartron, and Stirrings. Pomegranate vodkas are another option. They won't be as sweet and are twice the strength of the liqueurs.
- Ingredients: Pomegranate, vodka, tequila
- Proof: 34
- ABV: 17 percent
- Calories in a shot: 85
- Origin: Bardstown, Kentucky
- Taste: Sweet, tart, fruity
- Aged: Unaged
- Serve: On the rocks, cocktails, shots
What Is It Made From?
Pama is a brand name for a particular pomegranate-flavored liqueur. It was marketed as the first premium pomegranate liqueur upon its release in 2006. That is a matter of debate because some impressive pomegranate liqueurs were on the market prior to that, they just weren't as popular or well marketed. The timing was perfect because pomegranate cocktails were just starting to trend, so Pama was an instant hit among bartenders and drinkers. Today, it remains the best-known liqueur of this flavor and its popularity has ensured that it's found in almost every well-stocked bar and liquor store.
Pama is produced by Pama Spirits Co., a subsidiary of Heaven Hill Distilleries in Kentucky. Not much is revealed about how its made. They do say that it uses California pomegranate juice, premium vodka, and "a touch" of tequila. It is bottled at 17 percent alcohol by volume (34 proof). Ruby red in color with a sweet-tart flavor, it is a great representation of the real "forbidden fruit."
Pama is a gently sweetened liqueur with a true taste of pomegranate. It has a subtle tartness that contrasts the sugar and brings balance to the liqueur.
How to Drink It
Pama is a versatile liqueur that shines in cocktails. It pairs especially well with club soda, Champagne, grapefruit juice, and ginger ale: Pour a shot of Pama, fill the glass with ice, and simply top the glass with any of those. The visual appeal of a Pama cocktail is just as universal as the flavor. The ruby red color is romantic enough for Valentine's Day and is an inviting addition to Christmas cocktails. It even has a tropical aspect that is perfect for summer parties.
There are many cocktail recipes that call specifically for this liqueur. It can also be used in a number of well-known cocktails to give them a pomegranate twist. For instance, add it to a cosmopolitan, use it as the sweetener in a margarita, or pour it instead of orange juice for a pomegranate mimosa.
Pama is also an enjoyable sipper when served on the rocks with a lemon twist. You could take a straight shot, though that's best when the liqueur is chilled.
Pama's popularity has led it to be the essential ingredient in a number of cocktail recipes, from fruity martinis to warm drinks. It's even been used as a generic reference to pomegranate liqueurs in the same manner that Baileys is used to indicate Irish cream.
The flavor of the pomegranate is a wonderful addition to many types of food and Pama is an easy way to get it. The liqueur's lower alcohol content means it will cook off easily and it's light enough to be used in food without heat when only serving adults. Drizzle it on top of ice cream and fruit salads or add it to dessert sauces, glazes, or dressings. You can also incorporate it into salsa to add a hint of sweetness and offset the heat.