Friday, December 14, 2012

Homemade Gifts: Cranberry Liqueur

I have many a cocktail lover in my life.  Relatives, friends, neighbors... we can be a boozy bunch.  This homemade cranberry liqueur is a perfect gift.  Make it look pretty and it can be a cost effective solution for the gift for the bulk of your Christmas List, as well as nice to have on hand for unexpected holiday drop-ins.

Cranberry Liquer
based on a recipe from The NY Times

2-12oz bags cranberries
4 c. sugar
2 c. water
1 handle (1.75L) vodka*

*kitchen notes:  I use 2 half full handles of vodka so I can simply add the cranberry syrup on top to let it sit for a week before gifts go out.  Regarding the type of vodka, I like to use Smirnoff because it's pretty cost effective with minimal flavor.  This time, I used the cheap Costco brand and like the results so far.

Boil the frozen cranberries in a saucepan with sugar and water until the berries POP.  Puree the mixture in a food processor.   Wait for the mixture to cool, then funnel the cranberry syrup equally into each half full handle of vodka.  Adding the zest of a couple of oranges would be great, or you could also add some cinnamon sticks, if that's your thing.

Let the concoction sit in a cool, dark place - fridge space is a hot commodity during the holidays and cool and dark is sufficient - for at least a week or two.  When you are ready to decant into pretty gift bottles, pour through a strainer lined with cheesecloth to get rid of the cloudiness.  Since I did not have forethought to make this ahead of time this year to take pictures, go directly to Pinterest for bottling ideas (or hopefully Natty will show us her stuff next week!).

This liqueur is an awesome addition to a liquor cabinet, but I personally love it over ice with fizzy water and a squeeze of lime.


  1. Man, I miss hard-liquor drinks. This stuff would be great shaken with a little Cointreau, strained in a martini glass.

  2. I recommend in a martini glass with grand marnier and a half of a lime. In fact, I may or may not have one in my hand at this exact moment.