Fresh Sea Breeze Cocktail with Homemade Cranberry Syrup

It’s a cranberry time of year when the brilliant burgundy globes garnish plates and glasses galore.  This cocktail was inspired by a delicious cranberry syrup made with leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving.

And then the box of citrus came from Florida filled with juicy, plump grapefruits, and well, Capt. “needed” a cocktail after a long day down at the boat and… Now we all have a wonderful recipe to share with friends.

Fresh Sea Breeze cocktail Photo by Rocky Coast Photography

Fresh Sea Breeze
1 1/2 ounces Cold River Vodka
3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
1 1/2 ounces cranberry syrup (see recipe below)
ice for serving
3 cranberries in syrup as garnish
ice for serving
1 candied grapefruit peel as garnish

Add ice to an old-fashioned glass. Pour vodka and grapefruit juice over the ice and stir. Add the cranberry syrup and let it fall to the bottom of the glass. Garnish with cranberries and lime wheel.

Makes 1 cocktail

Cranberry Syrup
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
3 cups water

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the cranberries all “pop” and release their juices. Cool and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Makes 4 cups

Cranberry merriment

Cranberries – The Colorful Family Member

Cranberries are sometimes one of the few things that bring bright color to an otherwise fairly brown meal – Thanksgiving. Think about it – brown turkey, stuffing, potatoes, roasted vegetable (yes a little color but not much) and the gravy.  Maybe green beans, but if you are like most people and do the cream of mushroom soup with the topping – then we are back to brown.

Good thing that making your own sauce is not hard.  My recipe for Cumberland Sauce which ran in the paper today, can actually be served cold as a jelly or warm as a sauce.  I like it either way.  The Cranberry Syrup is one I posted about last year and still love on my french toast.  I’ve also used it as a sauce on pound cake, drizzled on top of yogurt with some walnuts and spread on whole wheat toast for breakfast.  The link expires within 30 days so be sure to click over soon to snag the recipes.

The other recipes in the column are: Turkey Confit, Turkey Galantine, and Turkey Stock

Cranberries go into the pot.

Juice from the oranges – who needs a reamer anyway when you’ve got fingers?

Bring to a boil until the cranberries burst and then to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Smash with a potato masher and serve hot or cold.   Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf and if the whole peppercorns bug you, then put them into a little cheese cloth bag before they go into the pot.

A little color never hurt anyone!

Cranberry Syrup

A friend called yesterday and asked what would be local and suitable to bring to a brunch with pancakes or french toast. Local fruit in Maine? In November? Cranberries of course! And perfect for around Thanksgiving. After giving her the basics over the phone, I got the creative bug and decided to make pancakes for the girls this morning and test the cranberry syrup recipe while I was at it. I then made this quick french toast with some leftover, stale baguette. One egg, a little milk, a sprinkle of sugar, soak the bread, butter into the pan and ta da… pretty picture. And my lunch. Yum.

The interesting bit of discovery that came from making the syrup is that when it cooled, it was more like jam. When I heated it up again, it became more liquidy. The way it set up indicates that cranberries have a lot of pectin in them, the thickening agent often used in jams and jellies. It would probably make a great mate with other berries in a jam project although I’ve never tried it due to the fact that cranberries are not in season when other berries are.

Cranberry Syrup
1 1/2 cup cranberries
1 cup water (or more if you like the syrup a little looser)
1 cup sugar pinch of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Mash the cranberries once they’ve popped with a potato masher. You can strain this sauce, but I preferred it with all the cranberry bits. Serve hot.

Makes about 1 cup


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