DAY 7: THE ALMIGHTY CRANBERRY
I’ve had guests often ask what inspires us to create our cocktail recipes. For me, inspiration comes from all reaches of the spectrum. Sometimes I’ll eat something amazing and wonder how I can turn that flavor profile into a cocktail. Sometimes I’ll try a new spirit and my head spins with all sorts of ideas of what kind of cocktail I want to make with it. Our mantra at Sunday School has always been, Cocktails are supposed to be fun! I have created cocktails because they just make me giggle, like the time we made a Dr. Pepper reduction for our Digestif Class at the Sunday School cocktail class series, or when we turned the classic French 75 cocktail into a salad for our Edible Cocktails class. One of the greatest sources of inspiration however, are the seasons. We take our cue from the amazing seasonal food coming out of the Metropole kitchen and really try to create cocktails that have ingredients that are reflective of the time of year we’re serving them. One of my absolute favorite ingredients to use during this time of the year is the cranberry. Cranberries are tart with a hint of sweetness and are so versatile in sweet and savory cocktails. I think cranberries get kind of a bad rap because most people experience the overly sweet cranberry cocktail juice that is used as a common cocktail mixer. Cranberries are kind of like Brussel’s sprouts. We’ve all had really horrible Brussel’s sprouts but I for one, will never forget the first time I had Brussel’s sprouts which weren’t a mushy, bitter mess. My brain almost melted. I felt the same way when I had my first amazing cranberry cocktail. And nowadays you can easily get fresh cranberries at your local super market. Bonus!
Today’s cocktail has a beautiful amount of spice and just enough of those savory flavors to give it depth and character. Imagine this cocktail like a Cosmopolitan dressing up to go the theatre but the show is Book of Mormon. It’s fancy but still fun and just a little bit on the rebellious side. Don’t be intimidated by all the ingredients in this cocktail. This is a great starting point, so edit and adjust based on what’s available to you and what you have time to do. Above all, don’t forget the fun!
Glassware: coupe or martini glass
Garnish: fresh cranberries on a skewer
¾ oz infused Watershed Four Peel Gin
½ oz aquavit
½ oz Lilet Rose
½ oz cranberry juice
Method: In a shaker tin add all ingredients and shake well. Strain into chilled coupe.
1 750ml bottle Watershed Four Peel Gin
1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
4 whole star anise
1 tbsp coriander
Add all ingredients to a container (preferably glass) with a tight fitting lid. Infuse for at least 48 hours. Taste as it infuses and you can continue to infuse to get more flavor.
INGREDIENTS THE BROKE DOWN: Aquavit is a distilled spirit that is infused with a variety of spices but has a predominant flavor of caraway or dill. It is delightfully savory and adds a nice depth to this cocktails. Lilet Rose is an aperitif wine-it is floral and sweet with a hint of dryness. For the cranberry juice in this cocktail it would be best to use unsweetened cranberry juice.
BUT FOR REALS: Now if you’re looking at the ingredients above and smoke is coming of your ears, don’t fret! If you’re weary about buying spirits you’ve never had before, then make this cocktail your own! The infused gin is a great starter for a cocktail that perhaps doesn’t have as many ingredients. Add the gin to ginger beer for a delightful twist on a Moscow Mule. You can add this gin to sparkling wine for a new take on a French 75. You may have to add a little bit of simple syrup or cranberry juice to add some depth to it. You could even just do a seasonal twist on the almighty Gin and Tonic and still present a fun and interesting cocktail at your holiday party.
FOR A CROWD: You can also make this whole cocktail into a punch. I would add some sparkling wine or soda water to give it some body. For the punch freeze fresh cranberries so that it can be your “ice” and not water your punch down. You can also add rosemary sprigs and lime wheels for a little pop of color.
So let’s raise a toast to the delectable cranberry and all the cocktails it inspires.
Your neighborhood bar geek,