I always find it a little weird to write about holiday food once a holiday is over. Who needs a recipe for stuffing now, right? But the cranberry-lime cocktails I made for Thanksgiving will serve you well through December right into the New Year.
This nonalcoholic drink is made with spicy ginger beer (I like Reed's) and a homemade cranberry-lime syrup. The syrup is on the tart side because of the fruit, but also to balance the sweetness of the ginger beer. To make it, you bring a mixture of cranberries, limes, sugar, and water to a boil and strain it, producing a ruby red syrup.
"But Lisa," you say. "I want booze!" It is the holiday season, so if you're looking for something to dull the pain of yakking family members, expensive gift lists, or general seasonal fatigue, there are many ways to serve this drink with alcohol. You can replace the ginger beer with champagne or prosecco, or add a shot of something stronger, like vodka, gin, or light rum.
If you really want to be a hero at holiday parties, you could mix up this syrup, put it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, grab a bottle of ginger beer or bubbly and mix cocktails right on site. Which would be much cooler than the token bottle of wine. But bring extra--these drinks go down fast.
If you decide to omit the ginger beer, bump up the sugar to 1 cup and add 2 teaspoons powdered ginger to the mixture.
(Makes about 2 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 limes, washed and quartered, seeds removed
1 cup cranberries
In a small pot, combine the sugar and water. Stir until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the limes and cranberries. Simmer until the mixture reaches a boil, stirring occasionally. When the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let the syrup stand for 30 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the berries and limes. The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
(Makes 4 drinks)
Fill four Champagne flutes with cold ginger beer, about three-quarters of the way full. Top each glass off with two teaspoons of cranberry-lime syrup. Stir and serve.
To make the drink alcoholic: fill the glass halfway with ginger beer, and add one-half of a shot of vodka, gin, or light rum. Top each glass off with two teaspoons of cranberry-lime syrup. Stir and serve. You can also replace the ginger beer with prosecco or champagne and omit the spirits.