Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Toasting to Christmas Cheer? Try Cranberry-tini.

Christmas came and went quickly this year. So, I wasn't quite prepared to make a holiday cocktail. However, my  BFF asked me in the 10th hour to create a masterful cocktail for her 50 plus guest at a Holiday Party this past weekend.

After taking 2 minutes to ask key quesitons, like...what are you serving for dinner? And how many people were invited...a cocktail was invisioned. The results Cranberry-tini.

Now, you might ask...pictues? Nope, didn't have the forsight or insight to take pics before, during or after the event. Bad Lady E...very bad.

Recipe? Yes, as a matter of fact...that I do have....but I must warn you this cocktail is meant to be served to several people and you'll need somone on hand who wants to pour, shake and serve the cocktails. In this case...it was often.

So here we go.....

4 small bags of fresh cranberries.
1 small bag of fresh cranberries (reserved for decoration)
4 cups of water
4 cups of Baker's sugar
One large orange - zested then juiced
One large lemon - zested then juiced.
One bottle of club soda
8 oz of cranberry juice (Oceaspray or your choice)
8 oz cranberry puree (see recipe below)
16 oz vodka*
8 oz simple syrup*
*The measaurements for sugar and vodka depend on your (and your guests) tastes.

Pour water, orange, lemon and sugar in large pot Bring mixture to a bowl to dissolve the sugar. While mixture is on stovetop, rinse the cranberries in cold water. Once, the mixture has come to a boil add the fresh cranberries. Stir to mix well. Allow the berries to come to a boil and to pop open.

Once, the berries have popped separate the fresh cranberry syrup from the popped berries. Store the fresh cranberry syrup and let cool to room temperature. Put the popped berries in a food processor and pulse 4 to 5 times until smooth. The pureed berries will have a tart taste, while the fresh berry syrup will be sweetier.

Once, both mixtures (cranberry syrup and puree) have cooled you can begin making the drink. Start with a large pitcher and pour 8 oz of cranberry puree. Then, pour 8 oz of fresh cranberry juice. Next, pour 8 oz of store bought cranberry juice...this is used to reinforse the cranberry flavor. Then pour in 8 oz of simple syrup to sweeten the mixture. Next one whole bottle of Club Soda ( Try not to use Sparking Soda...it has too much sodium and effects the overall taste). Lastly, pour in 8 oz of vodka. if you like your cocktails stronger...pour in 1 once at a time until desired taste. This mixture does NOT have strong vodka taste...most people were suprised to hear...Yes, it's vodka. But, after 3 you'll know it. So drink wisely and responsibly.

Stir the mixture well...Voila! A cocktail full of RED Christmas cheer. Now, the hard part...LOL...take a martini shaker. Pour a couple of scoops of ice and pour mixture until shaker is 3/4 of the way full. Shake, shake, shake...and pour into a frosted martini glass. Sprinkle a couple of fresh cranberries and a sprig of mint. The colors of the season in a glass.

Seems like a lot of work, huh? At first glance yes, ...but, the cranberry mixture makes well over 50 drinks. Plus if you keep the mixture cold in the fridge and pour, shake and serve when needed...it's a time saver during a hectic party.

Plus, the taste is amazing. The Cranberry-tini worked great with cheese, crackers, and in our case...Dirty Rice, Mac n' Cheese and smoked turkey.

The overall comments were, "This is delicious". "Can I have another one?". The one I loved the most was, "Do you have a book on how to make cocktails?"

From the mind of Lady E to my BFF's home...truly this was made with love and the results made everything taste better.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

*Simple syrup
Seriously...it's not called simple syrup for nothin'.
1 cup sugar (I prefer Baker's sugar)
1 cup water
Into a sauce pan put water then sugar. Stir to combine. Allow mixture to come to a boil. Once, mixture is starting to boil or sugar is dissolved...turn heat off and let cool completely. Don't put your finger into taste..this stuff is HOT and sticky. It will burn your skin.