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Tomate Cocktail Recipe for a Taste of France at Home

This easy Tomate cocktail recipe has just has four ingredients including water and ice. Though you’ll be tempted to drink this refreshing drink on a hot summer day, it’s also the perfect color to serve at a Christmas party or other festive event.

Tomate Cocktail by Wall

Despite having a name that literally translates to tomato, the Tomate cocktail’s only relationship to the juicy red fruit is its vibrant red color.

It’s true. The Tomate has absolutely no ties to tomato juice-based cocktails like America’s Bloody Mary or Canada’s Caesar. Instead, the France’s Tomate is a popular pastis cocktail typically imbibed in the French Riviera and throughout the country.

What is a Tomate Cocktail?

Tomate Cocktail from Above
Don’t confuse the Tomate cocktail with fruit punch. The drink’s flavor profile is more complex due to the inclusion of pastis in the recipe.

If you see somebody drinking a bright red cocktail in Marseille or along France’s southern coast, it’s probably a Tomate cocktail made with Pastis de Marseille and Grenadine. Local bars serve the quirky drink all day long and into the night.

Don’t underestimate the Tomate cocktail. It’s a drink to sip and not gulp despite its fun color and fruity flavor. This potent potable packs a punch thank to its main ingredient – pastis, a liquor with a minimum 45% ABV.

Fun Fact
French mixologists started using pastis instead of absinthe in the early 20th century due to fears that thujone in absinthe caused drinkers to experience bouts of madness. Although absinthe producers have since reduced the use of the chemical thujone found in wormwood, pastis remains popular in France and beyond.

Tomate Cocktail Ingredients

Tomate Cocktail Ingredients
These are the only ingredients required for our Tomate recipe.

If you count the Tomate cocktail’s ingredient list on one hand, you’ll have too many fingers. The compact list has just the following four items:

  • Pastis
  • Grenadine
  • Cold water
  • Ice

Even if you add garnish like a rosemary sprig or fennel fronds, the ingredient list stays succinct. Unlike the above ingredients, garnish is completely optional.

With so few ingredients, it’s important to use high-quality products. In our Tomate recipe, we use Ricard Pastis de Marseille and Monin Grenadine that we buy at local liquor stores in Lisbon. Accordingly, our drink is technically a Ricard Tomate.

Pastis and Grenadine Bottles
Pastis and grenadine are the main ingredients in our Tomate cocktail recipe. The other two ingredients are water and ice.

Now produced by Pernod-Ricard, Ricard Pastis de Marseille has been a popular alternative to absinthe since 1932. Ingredients like star anise, licorice and Provençal herbs give this French liqueur its distinctively herbaceous flavor.

We like to use Monin Grenadine in our Tomate recipe since Monin uses natural ingredients like pomegranate, cane sugar and orange flower water while eschewing corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. If you can’t find Monin Grenadine at your local liquor shop, you can easily buy a bottle on Amazon.

Fun Fact
Although the French word grenade translates to pomegranate, many commercial grenadine producers don’t include pomegranate juice in their syrups. As an example, Rose’s Grenadine includes high fructose corn syrup and red dye instead of pomegranates to create its popular grenadine syrup.

Making Tomate Cocktails at Home

Pouring Grenadine into Tomate Cocktail
Pouring grenadine without spilling the red syrup is the most challenging part of crafting a Tomate cocktail.

You don’t need fancy equipment to craft a Tomate cocktail at home. In fact, the list of necessary bar equipment is even shorter than the drink’s ingredient list. Our Tomate cocktail recipe just requires a glass, a jigger and a bar spoon.

We recommend that you follow our recipe closely your first time. We came up with the 2 to 1 ratio of pastis to grenadine after following a few disappointing Tomate recipes that were either too sweet or not sweet enough.

Tomate Cocktail with Bottles
We like adding a spring of rosemary to our Tomate cocktail. You can alternatively add herbs you have on hand like mint, basil or fennel fronds.

You’ll then be ready to modify our Tomate cocktail recipe to your personal taste. Experiment by adjusting the ratio of grenadine to pastis as well as the amount of water you add. You can also get creative with garnishes like mint, rosemary and fennel fronds depending on what you have in your pantry.

If you run out of grenadine and use orgeat (almond syrup) instead, you’ll be making a Mauresque, another popular French pastis cocktail. However, your cocktail won’t be red.

Tomate Cocktail with Tomatoes
Named for its ruby red color, a Tomate cocktail contains zero tomatoes. We photographed our cocktail next to tomatoes out of whimsy and for illustrative purposes.

Budget two minutes to make each Tomate cocktail. We recommend drinking this pastis drink with nuts, olives or other tasty tidbits you have in your pantry.

We also recommend watching the sun set between sips. This approach is the next best thing to drinking a Tomate in Marseille but without the need to get on a plane or translate a menu.

Tomate Cocktail with Rosemary

Tomate Cocktail

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Ideal to drink on a hot summer day or serve at a holiday party, the Tomate Cocktail is ridiculously easy to prepare at home with just four ingredients including water and ice.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. pastis (2 small jiggers)
  • 1 oz. grenadine (1 small jigger)
  • ice, one large cube or several small cubes
  • cold water
  • rosemary spring, optional

Instructions

  1. Pour pastis and grenadine in a lowball glass.
  2. Gently stir.
  3. Add ice.
  4. Top off with cold water.
  5. Optional: Garnish with a rosemary sprig or other green herb.

Notes

  • We recommend using a lowball glass. You can tweak the ingredient sizes if you prefer to serve this drink in a larger glass.
  • You can adjust the drink's sweetness by adding more or less Grenadine.
  • You can adjust the drink's potency by adding more or less water.
  • Pair with olives or nuts.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 18mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 0g

Nutrition Disclosure: We used an online calculator to calculate this information. Though 2foodtrippers.com has attempted to secure accurate data, these nutritional figures are estimates.

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Thirsty for More Cocktails?

Drink around the world with our recipes for the Bee’s Knees, Caipirinha, Clover Club, Daiquiri, Eggnog, French 75, G+T, Gibson, Mauresque, Mojito, Negroni, Porto Tonico and Spicy Margarita cocktails.

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About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Alison Hale

Thursday 19th of November 2020

Wow! It's a really amazing cocktail, I will try it once at home. Thank you for sharing with us.