Cranberries star in aromatic Thanksgiving cocktail – Chicago Tribune

Cranberries star in aromatic Thanksgiving cocktail

By LAUREN VIERA – Chicago Tribune

People who serve cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving fall into two camps: those who make their own and those who go the canned route.

To those of you who relish stirring that wonderfully aromatic, simmering saucepan of cranberries, oranges and spices while your bird browns and your guests mingle, we raise a glass: a perfectly autumnal cocktail that borrows the base of your sauce without creating extra work.

After consulting with a few mixologists (notably Todd Appel at Chicago’s Crimson Lounge, who makes his own spiced-cranberry syrup), we derived this drink following three simple guidelines: a no-frills fruit-and-spice base (no pumpkin-pie schnapps here); inexpensive, essential ingredients (Heering cherry liqueur costs about $25 and will live in your liquor cabinet for years) and low-maintenance prep. On this holiday especially, cocktails should offer a break, not a burden.

Named for Thanksgiving’s inauguration year, the resulting fall-leaf colored cocktail flourishes, thanks to the fruity, spicy flavors in Pimm’s, which, despite what you’ve heard, isn’t strictly a summer spirit. This drink can be served before dinner (it’s deceptively light in body) and pairs well with simple, salty nuts, such as almonds or cashews. It makes an excellent prelude to the meal at hand: As one of our taste testers observed, its scent is reminiscent of her grandmother’s kitchen during the holidays.

The 1621

Makes: 1 cocktail

2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup

1 ounce cranberry syrup (see recipe)

1 ounce Heering cherry liqueur

1 dash Angostura bitters

Orange wedge, cranberry

Pour Pimm’s, cranberry syrup and cherry liqueur into an ice-filled cocktail shaker; shake until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass, straight up. Add bitters to taste, as the tartness of the syrup will vary. Garnish with orange wedge and a cranberry speared on a cocktail stick or toothpick.

Cranberry syrup

Begin as if you were making cranberry sauce, sans the sugar: Pour a 12-ounce bag of cranberries and one-half a fresh orange, peeled and cubed, into a saucepan and cover with 1 cup water. Heat to a boil, stirring occasionally. When cranberries begin to pop, remove from heat and stir (if syrup heats too long, it will become gelatinous; thin with a little water). Strain liquid into a measuring cup (yields about 1 cup of ruby-hued syrup). Chill syrup a few minutes before stirring into cocktails. Excess syrup can be refrigerated for future use – or added back into your cranberry sauce as needed.

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