Monday, November 14, 2011

Booze of the Week: Holiday Cranberry Liqueur

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. – Charles Dickens

Christmas in a glass! Photo: Urban Mixer, Flickr ccl
Nothing says the Holiday season more than cranberries, except possibly turkey. But it’s very difficult to drink turkey…

The inside of a cranberry is NOT red! Photo: Sirelroka, Flickr ccl
Why not introduce the tartness of cranberries into a liqueur that's sure to be a hit at your next festive gathering. This recipe takes one month but if you start this weekend you’ll have it ready in time for the holidays.

The infused liquor is a very beautiful cranberry red. It tastes of spice and cranberries, just like what you would expect. The finished liqueurs will definitely be in my gifts that I distribute this year.

Drink it chilled “straight up” or use as a mixer in any number of vodka, rum or even whiskey-based cocktails this Christmas.

Holiday Cranberry Liqueur
Time: 4 weeks
Strain each jar into the same container. After adding the brandy
you should have about 1L of infused liquid.
2 1L Mason jars
4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped
1 medium orange, quartered
2 x 2” cinnamon stick
12 whole cloves
750 ml Demerara rum (or Amber)
3/4 cup brandy
2-1/2 cups white sugar
2 cup water

Divide the chopped cranberries, orange, cinnamon, cloves and rum between two Mason jars. Seal well and let steep for 4 weeks shaking periodically. 

After the month, strain through a fine sieve or cloth to remove all the solids. Press to extract as much the juice you can. Stir in the brandy. You should have about 1L of liquid.

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes. The syrup will make a little less than 1L. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add the syrup to infused liquor. Bottle in four 375 ml.

This will improve if left to sit for two further weeks, but can be used right away (if you can’t wait). After all, you’ve already waited a month…

I made mine ahead so it could sit and mellow until the Holidays.

Makes four 375 ml bottles!
Here’s a drink recipe using this liqueur for a festive gathering:
This version of the classic Crantini is a blend of sweet, sour, spice and tart. Be careful. They’re deceptive!

1 oz Holiday Cranberry Liqueur
2 oz vodka
1 oz cranberry juice
cinnamon sticks (optional)
Coarse sugar for rimming the glass
lemon wedges

Rim the edge of each glass lightly with lemon juice. Dip into coarse sugar to coat.

Pour the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the garnish martini glass.

Serve with a cinnamon stick as a swizzle for more spiciness.

A beautiful Christmas-y colour if there ever was one.

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