Posts Tagged ‘cranberry’

A Sauced Cranberry gets you ready for the big meal

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

More than any other holiday, Thanksgiving Day is defined by The Meal: The lore of the first Thanksgiving meal between pilgrims and Native Americans (who certainly must regret it now) and the meals we Americans eat every fourth Thursday in November. Since cranberries are such an integral part of the turkey dinner, I was drawn to incorporating them into a pre-dinner cocktail.  An aperitif primes the digestive system for a meal, and this cranberry shrub cocktail will do just that.

Shrubs are fruit preserved with vinegar and were widely consumed in the colonial America that came after the pilgrims. They are an effective way to make seasonal fruits last longer, and, in cocktails, add both sweet and acidic elements.  Having that acidic component is a huge plus for group cocktails as it means no tedious citrus squeezing.   

There are two ways to produce a shrub, either the cold-process method where fruit is macerated with sugar for 24-48 hours before adding vinegar, or by simmering the ingredients together until the fruit is broken down.  For cranberries, using heat is a better option to soften the harder fruit.

Cranberry Shrub

4 c. fresh cranberries
3 c. sugar
1 c. water
2 c. apple cider vinegar (I used unfiltered)

Split open all of the cranberries with a muddler or other hard tool. Combine with sugar and water, and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes as fruit softens and sugar dissolves. Add apple cider vinegar and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Strain out all solids, bottle and keep in the refrigerator. Makes 3+ cups after straining. A shrub can last months because of the preservation nature of vinegar.

For this occasion, I chose apple cider vinegar because I thought it would pair nicely with the cranberries, but any variety – white or red wine vinegars, white vinegar, champagne vinegar – will do. Brandy also seemed suiting, along with a final garnish of cayenne pepper to add a bit of heat. So while the cocktail was coming together with aspects of tart, tangy and heat, it still needed a touch of sweetness to round it out. An amaretto’s almond flavoring provided the missing element.

Sauced Cranberry

1 oz brandy
½ oz cranberry shrub
¼ oz amaretto (I used Di Saronno)
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix brandy, shrub and amaretto in a glass with ice. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to garnish (this is optional, but provides a nice heat and offsets typically non-spicy Thanksgiving dishes to come later).  It will be lacking the full flavor, but if you want to substitute an almond syrup for the amaretto, start with half the amount and add to taste.  To scale into a pitcher drink that serves 12, use 12 oz of brandy, 6 oz of shrub, and 3 oz of amaretto; pour into a glass with ice and garnish.

There is some research showing that consuming vinegar (in salad dressings and such) can help stabilize blood sugar, lower glucose levels in diabetics, and help with general digestive issues.  Like, perhaps, those caused by ingesting mass quantities of turkey, mashed potatoes and pie?  But even if the Sauced Cranberry doesn’t provide health benefits, it is easy to make ahead and the shrub could do double-duty as a mocktail with Sprite or ginger beer.

 Have a Happy Thanksgiving. May you pull the long side of the wishbone!

 Cheers, ICE

 

As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.

 

 

A Green Cocktail for a Festive Season

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

There’s a reason most New Year’s resolutions focus on eating better and drinking less, and it’s called Holiday Hangover. We are thick into the season of treats, heavy buffet tables and boozin’. So if you want a cocktail that is a bit lighter in calories and alcohol, it’s right here for you. And, being green, it’s perfect for those Christmas parties.

Single Ladies (not mine, I didn’t name it)

1 oz Ty Ku sake liqueur
1 oz ginger liqueur (Loft Spicy Ginger; if using Domaine de Canton, add  ¼ to ½ oz)
3-4 oz white cranberry juice
Splash of Green Apple Jone’s Soda (optional and only to bump up the color)

Shake all of the above with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve.

I originally discovered this drink and the Ty Ku liqueur after a friend asked me to suggest a green cocktail for a fraternity alumni banquet last month. The drink was such a hit there was a rush to the bar and they ran out early! The Ty Ku has a light, slightly melon flavor and comes in a groovy illuminating bottle. Being less sticky-sweet, I have found it preferable to Midori in other drinks.  

I suggested to another friend planning a holiday party that she serve red and green drinks – this one and my Bloody Sunday punch (although perhaps it should be renamed for this occasion), and she got great reviews for both.  Serving a fabulous cocktail is expected; having it match the decorations is a bonus.

 

Cheers, ICE

 

Pour This in Your Apple Cup

Monday, November 29th, 2010

This Saturday is the annual Apple Cup, Washington’s intra-state football showdown: WSU Cougars vs. UW Huskies. In our case, it is an intra-house battle, as I’m a Coug and hubby is a Dawg.  Mostly this is a skirmish to determine which of us gets to dress our kids for the day.

In addition to beer, a big game needs a cocktail, right? Lo and behold, I discovered this drink already called the Washington Apple. Perfect! And so easy even a Husky can make one.

Washington Apple

1 oz Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey
1 oz Sour Apple Pucker
½ oz cranberry juice
½ oz simple syrup (omit if not using 100% cranberry juice)
Splash of soda water (optional)

You can combine the liquids and shake with ice, or simply build in an ice-filled glass and stir well.

The lovely, red Washington Apple

Now, the trouble I have with recipes using cranberry juice is that they are usually not very specific. 100% cranberry juice or the actual fruit are not always available, while juice combinations (with added juices, sugar or even the dreaded high fructose corn syrup) are ubiquitous. But I draw most of my recipes from books and sites that preach the gospel of market-fresh ingredients – are they really using regular ol’ Ocean Spray? These are the questions that vex me.

In this case, I used 100% cranberry juice – which is soooo tart – and therefore compensated with the added simple syrup. If you prefer, make yours with a cranberry juice beverage, omit the syrup and fuggedaboutit.

I will say that with the pure cranberry juice, this drink was a lovely deep red…crimson, really (Go Cougs!).

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Oh, fine. Here’s a purple one, too. I fashioned this one for the UW Alpha Delta Phi Centennial banquet because my friend and organizer wanted a purple cocktail. After I got over the swearing and shaky hands, I came up with this:

Woof

1 oz citrus vodka
½ oz Cointreau
2 oz Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Blueberry Juice mix

Combine in a shaker filled with ice, and shake until well chilled. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Oh, sorry. Was that too fast for you? Here it is again:

Woof

1 oz citrus vodka
½ oz Cointreau
2 oz Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Blueberry Juice mix

Combine in a shaker filled with ice, and shake until well chilled. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cheers, ICE

 

Give Thanks — or Gifts — With a Cranberry Cocktail

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

This was a recent conversation with my daughter, “Shirley Temple”:

Shirley: I wonder what present I’m going to get for Thanksgiving?

me: Oh, you don’t get presents on Thanksgiving, you give thanks.

Shirley: Yes, I’ll give thanks for the present I get.

Well.  In that case, I’ll give thanks to those creating delicious cocktails, because I always welcome those gifts.

Here is one that fits the Thanksgiving theme; although I wasn’t planning on posting another “pie” cocktail, it was my favorite among the cranberry recipes. I confess that I was not crazy about the crushed graham cracker rim, but my husband thought it was fine.  Try a half-rim and decide if you like it.

Cranberry Pie

1 ¾ oz rum
1 oz apple cider (I used local Spire Apple Cider)
¾ oz cranberry juice (I used 100% cranberry)
½ oz lime juice
¾ oz simple syrup
3 cranberries and crushed graham crackers to garnish (optional)

Add ice, rum, juices and syrup to a cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with crushed graham crackers. Add apple cider and stir gently. Garnish with three skewered cranberries and serve.

Lift this drink with one hand and pull the wishbone with the other – that’s a happy Thanksgiving.

Cheers, ICE