Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Polar Vortex Cranberry Mocktail

In between harvesting wax and cleaning up the bee equipment I am puttering in the kitchen.

Since getting sober some 25 years ago I am still in constant search for the perfect party drink. I love my tonic water but sometimes a girl needs something a little special to flaunt and offer her guests during a dinner party especially when she isn't serving alcohol. We lean towards an alcohol free house, rarely offering our guests alcohol. If we want to entertain with booze we do it outside the house. It just keeps the house safe. On the rare occasion you find yourself sipping wine or enjoying a beer at our house its because you came with a bottle in hand. I am not crazy sober, its just that I don't comprehend marginal interest in alcohol. Excess is the story of my life. So we play it safe around here.

I love to wow my guest with fun non alcoholic drinks. One of my summer favorites is a concoction of passion fruit puree and simple syrup with fresh lime and lemon juice.  In the winter I gravitate toward cranberry.

Last week we had a group of Tina's colleagues over for a special dinner. They are the intellectual power house women of the college but they don't get out out much. Something about needy husbands and helpless children.  Its the second time they have come up from Northfield, MN for an evening of fun. Last May I blew them away with my Passionade and and Indian dinner that they are still talking about. I knew that meal would be hard to beat. I had to start with another signature drink.

I started with two bags of fresh cranberries, some fresh ginger a few whole cloves and a cinnamon stick and the next thing I knew I had a brilliant cranberry syrup that I topped off with a splash of club soda.  Make this, now. Thank me later. The ginger is just enough to give it a fabulous kick.

Polar Vortex Cranberry Mocktail

12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberry
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar plus extra for dusting cranberries
knob of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
a few whole cloves
club soda

Combine water and sugar and simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add cranberries. Peel and grate ginger into cranberries. Transfer to an air tight container and add a cinnamon stick and cloves. Refrigerate for about 24 hours.

 After allowing cranberry, ginger and cinnamon to seep strain and reserve the syrup in a jar. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves from the cranberries. Remove some of the cranberries to use as a garnish.

Process the rest of the cranberries through a juicer or fine mesh strainer to get juice.

Add this juice to the syrup. Cover jar of syrup and store in fridge until ready to use. Take remaining cranberries and toss them in sugar to lightly coat. Allow them to dry

When ready to serve put two or three sugar dusted cranberries on a pick. Fill a lovely glass with ice. Pour two to three ounces cranberry syrup over ice, top with club soda and mix. Serve with pick of sugar dusted cranberries on the side.

Your welcome!

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