Cranberry Liquor and Cranberry Bitters
Alright friends, you have just enough time to make your own cranberry liquor and cranberry bitters for thanksgiving and plenty of time to make some for Christmas. And can I just say... this is YUMMY! Maybe I’m a little partial because I love cranberries, but I think this turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.
Best part is it’s EASY.
Fill a canning jar with fresh washed cranberries. Now add whatever add-in you think would taste good. I did one batch with just some orange peel and cloves and it was very yummy. I did another batch with some cloves and cinnamon, which I haven’t tasted yet, but I’m sure it’ll be delicious. You can add a vanilla bean or two, cardamon, nutmeg, ginger, lemon peel, or whatever other warm spice you want (think chia tea type spices).
Once your jar is full of your cranberries and your add-in pour in some vodka until everything is covered. If you want a little warmer, richer flavor you could do half vodka and half whiskey. I haven’t personally tried that yet, but I think it would be nice.
Then let your jar sit somewhere for about two weeks (a little less or a little more will be fine - it’ll have a stronger flavor the longer you leave it). Shaking it daily is ideal, but it’s not that big of a deal if you miss a day or two or three. You get the idea.
After it has sat for awhile strain it. I like to strain it through a coffee filter so that I end up with a really clear liquor afterwards and avoid any little pieces of spice or cranberry floating around in my drinks.
That’s it! See, super simple.
Ok this recipe is a little less of a recipe and a little more of an experiment.
Basically you start out the same as you did with the cranberry liquor. Fill a jar almost all the way full with cranberries. Then you add in bitter herbs, roots, and spices of your choosing.
Traditionally bitters are made with Gentian Root. You can buy it on-line. It’s the flavor that makes bitters bitter. It doesn’t really taste good, but I LOVE it, so I use a lot in my bitters. How much you use will depend on how bitter you want your bitters. So, add some gentian root to your cranberries and then add some other spices. I added juniper berries, cloves, hibiscus, star anise, and some orange peel. Other ideas would be cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, vanilla bean, black pepper, lemon peel, grapefruit peel, etc. Use whole spices instead of ground spices and get creative.
Once you have everything you want in your jar cover it with vodka and again let it sit for about two weeks. The longer it sits the stronger the flavor will be (the alcohol content won’t change at all). And again it's best if you shake it once a day, but don't stress about it.
All that’s left is to strain the bitters. Strain it through a coffee filter so you don’t have any of the sentiment from the spices in the finished product.
Add to your favorite cocktail for a more rounded layered flavor and enjoy!
Ok, tomorrow I’m going to share with you one of the cocktails I’m planning to make for our family gathering on Thanksgiving. It’s gonna go wonderfully with my dad’s turkey and stuffing. I can’t wait!
Rejoicing in the journey, Bethany