Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cranberry Rum Liqueur

Let's be naughty and save Santa the trip. – Gary Allan 

Christmas, in liquid form.

We’re not exchanging Christmas presents this year. With the expenses we’ve occurred in moving, etc., and my business just starting to build, it doesn’t make sense. Especially when most people don't need what you give.

The leftovers from the infusion.
Think about your gift shopping... Do you have trouble buying for some people? That’s a good indication that there’s not really anything they actually require. You may very well just be contributing to the clutter they have in their house.

So, if you feel you must give something, why not something that can be used up? Try gifting baked goods, or other homemade items. How about a liqueur? That’s almost always appreciated, unless the recipients don’t drink.

There are some signature tastes of the holidays – and I don’t mean fruitcake. Face it, very few people like fruitcake. So don’t do it. Another signature taste is turkey, and another is cranberry. 

Since turkey is notoriously difficult to drink, why not introduce the tartness of cranberries and cinnamon into a liqueur? That's sure to be a hit. It was one of the favourites I made two years ago. 

You have to infuse the cranberries and spices into the rum. It takes one month but if you start now 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. (Most homemade liqueurs will last unrefrigerated for 3-4 months.)

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

The 375 ml bottles and corks are easy to get. Look in any wine kit store. Tie a bow around the top, attach a gift card and you’re good to go.

Cranberry Rum Liqueur
Time: 4 weeks  |  Yield: 4 x 375 ml
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 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 cook for 7 minutes. The syrup will make a little less than 1L. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add the syrup to infused liquor. Cool slightly and then fill four sterilized 375 ml bottles.

This liqueur 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…

Photo: Urban Mixer, Flickr ccl
Here’s a drink recipe using this liqueur for a festive gathering. Attach a hand written card with the recipe to each bottle. This version of the classic Crantini is a blend of sweet, sour, spice and tart. Be careful. They’re deceptive!

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

Rim each glass 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.


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