Thursday, December 3, 2009

cranberry-lime sparkler

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.

Cranberry-lime syrup
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.

Cranberry-lime sparklers
(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.


Nicole @ Sprinkle with Salt said...

can't wait to try these at our holiday brunch! thanks!

The Single Gal said...

I know! You feel like you're closing the barn door after the horses have escaped...

I always love your drink recipes - I'm pulling the bag of cranberries out of the freezer this weekend and making some of that syrup!

Lisa said...

Nicole: Fun! Let me know what you think.

TSG: Ha! Yes, well put. This is a great way to use up cranberries!

Greggor said...
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Daniel said...

Nothing goes over big with the Browne family like a non-alcoholic cocktail! Part-ee!

~Appetite for Conversation~ said...

I just might try this - thanks! I love the pretty color.

Eryn said...

I don't actually know what ginger beer is. Would gingerale work?

Lisa said...

Appetite for Conversation: Thank you! I hope you like it.

Riley: Hi! Ginger beer is a drier, spicier version of ginger ale. You can find it at most grocery stores or Whole Foods(Reed's Ginger Beer comes in a 4-pack). Gingerale could work too, but it would be sweeter and won't pack as much of a spicy punch.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I first saw your recipe of Cranberry-Ginger Sparkler at There, you use ginger. I wonder how to serve either the ginger or the lime sparkler... Do you serve it as an aperitif? Love your site, by the way. You are very creative and your recipes are great!

Lisa said...

Thanks so much! You could serve either as an aperitif or as a nonalcoholic dinner/cocktail hour option if you're serving nondrinkers, as I was here.


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