Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cocktail of the Month: Cranberry-Lime Gin & Tonics

The kids have been out of school for a week. The presents are wrapped, the excitement level is ramping up, and we even survived yesterday's Christmas Pageant dress rehearsal and birthday party for Jesus. Awww yeah, baby. It's definitely cocktail time. 

You may recall that the Gutsy Dad and I are both fans of the good ol' G&T. Along with Pimm's Punch, it's our summertime quaff of choice. So it will come as no surprise that while I was surfing around looking for something to do with leftover cranberries, I became pretty excited when I found this recipe.

Pressing the cranberries through a sieve takes a few minutes, but it is so worth it. Don't let the preparation of the cranberries deter you from trying this recipe. You can do it, and you'll thank me later.

I halved this recipe since there were only two of us to enjoy it, and it made enough for each of us to have 2, almost 3 drinks. They were so yummy that we found this task to be a pleasure. If you are making these for 4 or more peeps, then I would definitely go with the full recipe, as below.

Cranberry-Lime Gin & Tonics
(adapted slightly from the original recipe, found here.)
makes 10 drinks

2 (12 oz) bags of fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 1/3 cups chilled tonic water
1 1/4 cups gin
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh lime juice

Bring cranberries, sugar, and water, to a simmer in a large saucepan. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the berries pop and the syrup begins to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Drain the cranberries through a fine-mesh sieve set over a 1-quart glass measuring cup (or a glass bowl), collecting the syrup in the glass. Working in batches, force the berries through the sieve into the syrup. (I used a full jar of jam to smoosh the berries through the sieve. You'll basically be left with the skins in the sieve, and a thick, gorgeously red, puree-like cranberry goop gathering in your glass below.) Toss the skins.

Transfer the strained cranberry goodness to a pitcher and chill until cold. (I stuck mine in the freezer for 20 minutes or so. The original recipe recommends allowing it to cool in the fridge for 2 hours. I was not willing to wait that long, but you could easily prep the cranberry goop in the morning and then just stick it in the fridge 'til you're ready to use it that evening. Juice your limes while you're at it, then all your "work" is done.) Anyway. 

When it is cocktail time, add the remaining ingredients (lime juice, gin, tonic--I used diet) to the syrup in your pitcher, stirring gently. Rim glasses with sugar (dip first in water, then in sugar to get it to stick), and add a slice of lime for a festive garnish if desired. Pour cocktails in, and enjoy!  

These would also be pretty over ice in a tall Tom Collins glass or such.

I'm also guessing these would be delicious as a non-alcoholic treat. Simply omit the gin and, if you don't care for tonic water, use sprite or ginger ale.
(Can you see who was helping me stage the photo? The girls are obsessed with the bowl of ornaments.)

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