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12 Days of Cocktails: Day 8

Posted on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015


We all have that one friend who just really has it together during the holidays. You know the one who has their Christmas cards out first and has a Barbie dream home style mansion of a ginger bread house on their Pinterest board. Why friend, why? One day I will use this friend as an inspiration to help uplift my holiday game up, but today I curse that friend. I kid, kind of, I think perhaps I’m just slightly bruised because of all the baking I’ve been doing lately. I love to cook, but baking is my nemesis. It isn’t that I can’t bake, I mean I can physically do a half marathon but it doesn’t mean there won’t be tears and blood along the way, maybe even a painful scream to the heavens. My kitchen always looks like someone tried to rob me and I’m always left wondering, was that worth it? But to stay positive, I’m the kind of person that when life hands me lemons, I make a cocktail. So new rule in my house, no baking without booze. I recently made some spiked ginger cookies and I added all sorts of fun things to my pantry, so I figured I should just go ahead and make a cocktail. I like to call it being efficient and not that I’m being too lazy to go to the store and buy more ingredients for cocktails. Today’s cocktail is inspired by the humble and classic ginger bread cookie. In my mind, I feel like cranberries add just the perfect amount of tartness to the sweetness and spice of ginger bread. This syrup alone made the 4 ½ hours of baking totally worth it!

GARNISH: fresh cranberries
1 ½ oz Rye
½ Cardamaro
1 oz cranberry syrup

METHOD: Add all ingredients to a shaker tin. Shake well and strain into a coupe. Imbibe

3 cups sugar
3 cups water
12 oz fresh cranberries
¾ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground clove
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
Peel of half an orange

METHOD: In a large pot over medium-high heat, add sugar and water. Once sugar has dissolved, whisk in all the spices until fully incorporated into the syrup. Then add cranberries and orange peel. Bring mixture up to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 35 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer making sure to press firmly down on the cranberries to get all the juice out. Store in an airtight container in your fridge.

WITH A TWIST: This cocktail would be delicious with tequila or bourbon. If you don’t have Cardamaro, the cocktail is fine with just the rye. This syrup is pretty versatile so you could even use it to make a festive take on a Cosmo for all you vodka drinkers out there!

DOUBLE DUTY: Planning a big brunch Christmas morning? This syrup is awesome on French Toast, no need to thank me just make sure to leave me some!

So cheers friends and here is to being a beautiful mess during the holidays!

Your neighborhood bartender,
Catherine Manabat