Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Cocktail - Cranberry Margaritas

Wine flows pretty liberally during our Thanksgiving dinners, but I thought it would be fun to sip on a signature cocktail and offer one to our guests while the food is being prepped this year. I wanted to serve Spiced Dark & Stormys (Spiced Stormies?) but Flavio reminded me not everyone loves the ginger/rum concoction like I do, so we decided to go with a safer choice - cranberry margs. I like that we're serving a classic cocktail, but also making use of festive cranberries, which I'm a sucker for this time of year. The prep is a little more daunting than a regular old 'rita, as you have to make and chill the cranberry jam component beforehand, but then you can just leave it in the fridge to have ready for any holiday guests that pop by.

I modified the original recipe from Bon Appetit as I like my drinks less sweet - i.e., I think cranberry should be tart and the original BA recipe is cloying. Also, the original recipe makes enough cranberry jam for 4 - so I tripled it. We mixed up a test batch tonight - um, strictly for quality control purposes - and really enjoyed our version. Here's how we did it.

Adapted from this recipe

Make enough cranberry jam for 12 servings (keeps up to 5 days in the fridge).

12 oz. fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar, to taste
6 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 cup water
3 teaspoons orange zest

Bring cranberries, sugar, orange juice and water to boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat and simmer until thick and jammy, stirring occasionally, 30 - 40 minutes. Mix in orange zest and let cool.

Cranarita - for 1

1 1/2 oz. tequila blanco*
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz. orange juice
2 Tbsp. cranberry jam

For each marg, combine above ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake until the outside is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into glasses rimmed with lime and Tajin (or other spicy chile-lime powder) and filled with ice. Enjoy!

*We like the Zapopan Tequila Blanco from Trader Joe's. It's not for sipping, but is perfect for cocktails, and it's cheap!

*Cranaritas - for 12

3 3/4 cups tequila blanco
1 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 1/4 cup cranberry jam

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Our shaker lets us serve about 2 drinks at a time. Shake 2 and serve, then shake and serve 2 more...

FYI: The jam tends to get stuck in the shaker, so you may have to spoon some of it out between pours.

*NOTE on my fuzzy math: Math was never my strong point, so Flavio helped me work out these party-sized calculations.We'll be making these Thursday, and I may need to make some adjustments to the for-12 measurements. Stay tuned...

*UPDATE Dec. 2 - I have no idea what measurements we used. We just tasted as we went along - which is dangerous. To make things easier, we squeezed a bunch of lime juice and chilled it before guests came over, and then just put drinks together in our shaker 2 x 2. Use the above fuzzy math calculations at your own risk. :)

{Top photo via, other photos mine}

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