Monday, December 19, 2011

Cranberry Liqueur - Just Another Christmas Present or a Cranberry Cordial Extraordinaire

Have you ever wondered what to do with all those fresh cranberries each year at Thanksgiving?  Sure, I'll put some cranberry whatever my mother-in-law makes each year on my plate.  Its even kind of good with the turkey.  But is this something that I go out of my way to eat? . . . No.  Is this something I think of if it weren't part of the Holiday tradition? . . . No.  Then it hit me.

I'm walking past the cranberries in the produce section at the store and think I can drink'em!  Like most folks I like cranberry juice (why else are Cosmos so popular).  I've been experimenting more lately so why not experiment with liquor also . . . cranberry can be a good starting point.

A little research later, a bit of tweaking here and perfecting there (for my tastes anyway!).  Voila!  I'm making liqueur in my kitchen and storing in my basement.  Just in time to have backup Christmas presents for a lucky few as well.

The cool thing is that just like most recipes you can make this fit your own palate if you take the time to do so any way.  Or of course you can follow my recipe and create a great result (that's me being humble, LOL).  So try it out and let me know what you think.

Cranberry Liqueur Recipe

3  Cups Cranberries, fresh (one 12 oz. bag)
2  Cups Sugar
1 3/4  Cups 100 proof vodka
1  Cup Water
1 1/2  tsp Grapefruit zest

Yield:  1 quart plus

Pick through and wash the cranberries.  Chop cranberries in processor until coarsely chopped, then place in large bowl.  To this add the sugar, stir thoroughly and allow to  for an hour or so.  Add the vodka, water and grapefruit zest.  Stir thoroughly again and allow to marinate for another hour or two covered.

Place this into a container or containers that can be sealed tight (if you divide into multiple containers be sure to put equal amounts of solid and liquid into each one).  Set container(s) in a cool dark place for 45 days.  Once or twice per week rotate the containers on end or shake to dislodge the solids.

At this point there are a number of ways to filter the liquid from the solids.  Some of these methods encourage you to press the solids in order to extract all the liquid.  Resist the temptation to get the last drop and you will be rewarded with less tannin influence which can add a little more astringent character to the liqueur.  Nothing more than a large coffee filter is needed.  Pour the liquid and solids into the filter and allow to drip freely.  This may take a little time but your patience will be paid off.

You are ready to pour into a clean bottle befitting your hard work.  Whether its a bottle, canteen, carafe, chalice, crock, cruet, decanter, demijohn, ewer, flagon, flask, glass, goblet, jar, jug, noggin, tumbler, urn or vial - choose a container that will show off the beautiful deep clear red of this liqueur.  Be sure that it can seal tight.

One final piece of advice.  Allow the liqueur to rest from a week to a month before you drink or present it.  This will give it a moment to season and pull itself together a bit to add a little more finesse.

Your new cranberry cordial is ready to go.  Its refreshing spirited flavor will give a little kick and a big smile.

Merry Christmas !


  1. Just found your blog and love the recipe! I have looking for one for a while. Thanks!

  2. Thank you so much! Glad you found it.

    Let me know how you like it.