Mixing Up Cheer for the Holidays - Cranberry Gin Smash Cocktail
Smooth, tart and a bit of sweet, this cranberry holiday cocktail is muddled with fresh cranberries for the brightest flavors. A hint of rosemary gives Cranberry-Orange Gin Smash just a bit of intrigue and makes this a favorite for the holidays.
For One Cocktail:
- 5 Whole Fresh Cranberries
- 1/4-1/2 oz (7-14g) Simple Syrup*adjust to taste - see note
- 4-6 Fresh Rosemary Leaves
- 1 oz (28g) Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
- 1/2 oz (14g) Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
- 1/2 oz (14g) Grand Marnier
- 1 1/2 oz (42g) Gin I like The Botanist
- for garnish
For Four Cocktails:
- 1/3 C (50g) Whole Fresh Cranberries
- 1-2 oz (28-56g) Simple Syrup
- Fresh Rosemary Leaves
- 1/2 C (112g) Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
- 1/4 C (56g) Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice I like cara cara, clementines or mandarins
- 1/4 C (56g) Grand Marnier
- 3/4 C (168g) Gin (we love a classic Hendricks)
- for garnish
How to Make Sugared Cranberries
Super simple to whip up, but plan ahead because the candied cranberries need to set undisturbed at room temperature for about an hour. In summary, here’s how to make em’ (see recipe card below for details):
- First, make a simple syrup ( sugar water ) by mixing one cup sugar and one cup water in a sauce pot over medium heat.
- Second, place the fresh cranberries in the simple syrup and steep for 10 minutes.
- Next, drain the cranberries and allow to dry for an hour.
- Last, toss the candied cranberries in sugar.
Be sure to hold on to that simple syrup. It’s perfect for cocktails!
Simple Syrup Ingredients
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) Water
- 3/4 cup (175 grams) Cane Sugar
- 1 cup (115 grams) Fresh Cranberries
In a small sauce-pot, whisk water and 1/2 cup (135 grams) of sugar to combine. Bring just to a simmer and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add a scraped vanilla bean pod if desired. Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries so that they are coated evenly with the sugar syrup. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
Strain, reserving the syrup*. Separate the cranberries and place on a piece of parchment paper on a wire cooling rack. Allow to dry out at room temperature for one hour.
Place the remaining sugar on a plate and transfer the cranberries to the plate, rolling the cranberries in the sugar to coat. This is sticky, but as the cranberries get coated, they wont stick to your hands as much.
Place the cranberries in a lidded container with a little pinch bowl of rice ( a couple of teaspoons ). The rice helps keep the cranberries fresh by absorbing any moisture in the air. Sugar loves water and will pull it right out of the air making your cranberries soggy quicker than if not using the rice. The cranberries will stay fresh for two days or up to four depending on how fresh the cranberries are. After two-three days, you may notice the cranberries "weeping." To freshen them up again, simply toss them with more sugar.
Candied Cranberries Variations
Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary: Simply place a sprig of fresh rosemary in with the simple syrup as you’re making the simple syrup and steeping the cranberries.
With Vanilla: Place a scraped vanilla bean in with the simple syrup and while steeping the cranberries.
With Orange: Add orange peel to the simple syrup with a squeeze of orange juice and steep the cranberries with the orange peel.