cranberry cocktail for Thanksgiving

cranberries

You probably have cranberries in your home right now, don’t you? Lots of them, if you are anything like us. Danny made the cranberry relish this morning, a casserole dish piled high with bright red puree, with bits of white apple stained pink from standing in the same pot as those berries. Tart and mouth-puckering, with a hit of sweetness at the end to save it from being sour, cranberry relish is one of the best parts of the meal.

Our relish this year, if you’re still not sure what to do with yours:

2 apples, juiced (or 2 cups fresh apple juice)
1/2 cup sugar
24 ounces cranberries (the Ocean Spray ones come in 12-ounce packages)
2 slightly sweet apples, peeled and diced
1/2 vanilla bean, slit open
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 small pinch clove
1 small nub of ginger
1/4 cup golden raisins

Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, on medium-high heat until the cranberries have popped and everything has begun to gel. Spoon into a casserole dish. Let cool.

See how easy it is? You don’t have the buy the stuff in the can after all.

So, if you have whole cranberries in the house, how about a cranberry citrus cocktail for the big day tomorrow?

Cranberry Cocktail

1 quart cranberry cocktail
2 cups apple cider
1 quart sparkling soda water
1/4 cup simple syrup (or agave nectar)
2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 navel oranges, zested and juiced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch cinnamon
1 lime, cut into small wedges

Infusing the liquids.
Combine the cranberry cocktail, apple cider, sparkling water, and simple syrup (see note below). Pour 2 cups of the combination into a blender, along with the grated ginger, orange juice and zest, lemon juice and zest, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes. Strain the grated ginger out of the liquids.

Finishing the cocktail. Mix the gingered liquids with the other liquids. Pour them into a punch bowl. Serve with ice.

We will be serving this without alcohol tomorrow. However, if you wanted to make this with more punch, I’d try vodka.

To make simple syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil on medium heat. Keep a pastry brush with a bit of water next to the pot and wet down the sides of the saucepan if the sugar creeps up. When the sugar has completely dissolved, the syrup will be clear. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover the pan, and allow the syrup to simmer for 5 minutes. Set it aside to cool.

This will give you a little over a cup of simple syrup. You can use this to flavor coffee or teas easily, as well making candied nuts or desserts that call for liquid sweetener. We have also made agave nectar-simple syrup before, successfully.