Everyone should have a friend who is a mixologist. Someone that has, for a seemingly simple happy hour at home, things such as ginger syrup for a refreshing afternoon lemonade cocktail or jalapeno infused tequila for a salty margarita before dinner. Someone that can make an nonalcoholic drink just as delicious and special as the loaded version. Someone that has the foresight and patience to make Cherry Bounce to have on hand as a sweet treat of a night cap. Fortunately, we have such a friend. Unfortunately, she lives in Palm Springs (I would prefer to enjoy her company and her cocktails on a more regular basis). On a recent trip to visit her, I asked for her favorite holiday cocktail and this recipe popped up on my phone within minutes. (She is also very efficient.) I’ve included the recipe with some of my suggestions below, and the link to the original source is here. She’s right, it’s a light and lovely holiday cocktail – especially if wine and other drinks will be enjoyed throughout the evening. I served it on Christmas Eve and it will again be on the menu for this evening as the drink served with appetizers. Cheers!
Pottery Barn glasses (love these for a cool holiday look)
Reality Check. Determine your audience before going with the pure punch version of this cocktail (all mixed prior to serving, as the recipe indicates). I served this to one particular fella (cough, my dad, cough) who is used to a straight up gin martini as his starter cocktail and you could tell he was a little confused by the whole concept. Perhaps he is best left to have the mix separate and top with bubbly as he sees fit. Or Boodles.
Cranberry Ginger Sparkler
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 limes, washed and quartered (I prefer to use organic limes, since you are cooking them with the rinds)
1 cup cranberries, washed and picked over (for the same reason noted above, I recommend organic)
In a small pot, combine the sugar and water. Stir until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the limes and cranberries. Simmer until the mixture reaches a boil, stirring occasionally. When the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid.
Let the syrup stand for 30 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the berries and limes (you can discard them). The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
I always seem to end up with less liquid than what the recipe calls for – perhaps I don’t watch the boil time carefully or maybe I need to strain the mixture more aggressively. For the second time making this, I will increase the batch of syrup. The organic limes and cranberries both come in packages where I had ingredients remaining after the last time, so that should not be an issue.
750 milliliters bottle Reed’s ginger beer, chilled (or, 4 12 oz. bottles of your favorite ginger beer)
1 bottle prosecco or sparkling wine, chilled
2 cups cranberry-lime syrup (recipe above)
Pour the ginger beer into a large punchbowl.
Stir in the cranberry-lime syrup.
Add the sparkling wine, stir to combine all of the ingredients. Serve immediately.
The recipe above is to serve in traditional punch style, with all ingredients combined at once. I like to add the ginger beer a few moments before guests arrive, and then top off the individual drinks with the sparkling wine. I like to maximize the bubbles in the bubbly. Of course, the number of guests and other demands on your time will factor into the approach.