Cranberries are in season and the days are getting colder rather quickly. A prefect time to work with these tasty red fruits and make some cocktails.
Because using cranberry juice would be cheating and I like to make my own ingredients, I immediately thought about making a nice cranberry syrup. Just some cranberries, sugar and water and off we go.
Making Cranberries Sweet
Making cranberry syrup is actually quite easy. As already mentioned you just need cranberries, sugar and water. Google offers lots of different recipes, each with a different amount of ingredients and time for cooking the berries.
I wanted to keep it really simple so I can remember my recipe more easily and adjusted the ingredients accordingly.
- 2 Cups Cranberries
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Water
Put the cranberries, sugar and water into a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes and remove from the heat just as the cranberries are falling apart. Strain into a clean bottle and seal. Let it cool and store in the fridge.
You get a syrup that is deep red in color and thick in consistency. It really captures the essence of cranberry and colors every cocktail a beautiful red when added.
Before I went on to create a cocktail using this delicious syrup, I thought about a garnish. A simple garnish often makes a cocktail much more appealing. But always using lemon or lime slices can get old very fast.
Therefore I wanted to decorate my cocktail with cranberries. I suppose only few people enjoy eating raw cranberries as they can be a bit sour and so I knew what I had to make: candied cranberries. The recipe is rather simple as well.
- 1 Cup Cranberries
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Cup Water
Use the water and one cup of sugar to prepare a simple syrup. Pour the hot syrup over the cranberries and cover immediately. Let the cranberries rest in the syrup for at least 24 hours. Strain well. Fill a tray with about one cup of sugar, add the cranberries and roll them around until they are fully covered in sugar.
One good thing about making candied cranberries is that you are left with some cranberry simple syrup. The bad thing is that this syrup is no match for the cranberry syrup I made earlier.
You can immediately see the difference in color, but the difference in taste is even bigger. The left over syrup (pictured left) tastes rather thin and more like simple syrup than cranberry. Of course you can use it, but if you need cranberry syrup for cocktails I suggest sticking to the recipe provided at the beginning.
Making Cranberries Intoxicating
Once I gathered my ingredients I had to decide what ingredients go well together with cranberry syrup. Definitely something earthy, with a full body and some character. My choice was a nice aged rum.
What else goes well with cranberries? Apples! And so I grabbed a nice calvados to add additional flavor and make everything a bit more interesting. Lemons and cranberries are also friends, so in they go.
Pour the rum, calvados, cranberry syrup and lemon juice into an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Fine strain into a pre-chilled Martini glass and garnish with some candied cranberries.
Beautiful red and fruity. This cocktail is refreshingly tart and tastes of apples at first. Soon after, you notice a wonderful balance of rum and cranberry along with some acidity. Since cranberries aren't sweet this cocktail isn't either, which is something I appreciate because it means you can drink more than one without problems.
The candied cranberries make a great garnish and if you want to indulge even more, I suggest dipping the berries into the cocktail before eating them. It makes them even more delicious.
In Short: Cranberries Are Great
I love sweet things made from fresh cranberries so this week's cocktail was just right for me. So good in fact, that I will make me another one after finishing this post. If you can find some fresh cranberries, prepare yourself some quick syrup and try a Dominican Thanksgiving. You won't regret it.
Seasonal ingredients are always a good thing and I will continue to whip up some cocktails with fitting ingredients. Maybe there are even more ways to use fresh cranberries. I shall see... Nevertheless I still plan to feature more cocktails using my previously prepared syrups. So stay tuned.
Title image via pixabay.