Okay people, time to stop stressing and start feeling festive. I have two great holiday cocktails to help get you in the mood. Both start with a “cranmary” simple syrup to give a local, Northwest flavor. Here’s the recipe for that so you can start chillin’:
Cranmary Simple Syrup
1 12 oz bag cranberries (about 3 cups )
3/4 cup sugar
1 T chopped rosemary
2 1/2 cups water
Put everything in a saucepan, simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you want to save some whole berries for garnish, remove them just after the berries begin to pop. This will happen after a few minutes. Once you have very soft berries, ladle them into a fine sieve set over a pitcher and let the juice run out. You can gently push the berries with the ladle to get the juice to release. Discard the berries, let the syrup cool, then chill until you’re ready to use.
The Cranmary Tonic, pictured above, is a gin and tonic with 1 ounce cranmary simple syrup added for each drink and garnished with a sprig or two of fresh rosemary. Use your favorite G & T proportions or follow ours — 2 oz gin, we prefer Aviation Gin , distilled in Portland, 1 oz cranmary simple syrup, plenty of ice and top off the glass with tonic. Icy, woodsy and slightly sweet makes this a perfect drink for a cocktail party.
Our other favorite, the Christmas Cosmo, is ideal for making a toast by the Christmas tree with your special someone.
Christmas Cosmo (for 2)
4 oz vodka, we recommend Monopolowa — made from potatoes
1 oz meyer lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 oz orange liqueur, we recommend Harlequin
2 oz cranmary simple syrup
Put all of the above in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice, Shake and strain into chilled glasses. Garnish with whole cranberries (see simple syrup recipe ) and / or a twist of meyer lemon.
Once you’ve made the cranmary simple syrup, you can experiment. I think it would work in lots of cocktails and would make an excellent mocktail mixer too.