Spiced Cranberries for Holiday Cocktails

With two days to go until Christmas, I imagine most of us fall into one of two camps: half have already spent the weekend wrapping, packing, hustling, and traveling and are now comfortably snuggled on the couch, having already polished off half a cookie platter and nodding into the first catnap of the day. The rest of us are still in a state of muddled frantic anticipation, slogging through that antsy zone where you can almost taste the thrill of doing nothing for a few days… if you could just. cross. off. those last few errands, deadlines, piles of laundry, and nagging details on your list.

(Guess which of those scenarios applies to me, by the way?)

spiced cranberry and bourbon cocktail, via goodfoodstories.com
Regardless of which camp you’re in, my guess is that you wouldn’t refuse a cocktail right now. Yes, even at 10:30 am. I’m looking at you, person who just ate half the cookie platter. Who are you to judge?

The spiced cranberries that are the star of this drink are festive enough not only to bridge the holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but could stretch back to Thanksgiving and be featured in a pre-dinner cocktail before the big meal as well. They’ll certainly keep for a month in the refrigerator, so if you’re a careful planner, you can make a batch in November to last you until the ball drops in Times Square.

The cocktail itself is based on a drink called the Manitoba created by Master of Whiskey Gina Unverferth. Muddling the lemon and cranberries together might be more labor-intensive than you’re used to, but the whole lemon rind and flesh brings a sweet hit of citrus that juice alone just can’t compete with, in my opinion. If you’re more in a mojito mood, substitute lime and rum for the lemon and bourbon, and make it a tropical holiday on Christmas Island. Either way, it’s a great excuse to use your bar tools.

spiced cranberries, via goodfoodstories.com
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat a heaping helping of kielbasa and sauerkraut and dig into my mom-in-law’s cookie platter. Happy holidays from Good. Food. Stories.!

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