Friday, November 16, 2012

Cranberry-Lime Vodka

I spent tonight stabbing cranberries.  I can't tell you what they did, but they definitely had it coming!  I love cranberries, both fresh and dried, and I love finding new ways to use them.  This year for Thanksgiving I'll be making orange-cranberry sauce, possibly a spicy cranberry sauce, and a cranberry-almond tart, but today I mixed up some cranberry-lime vodka.  Just the colors alone are so pretty--but it's also very tasty, either alone or mixed with juice, club soda, or ginger ale. 

For three bottles, you'll need two 12 oz bags of cranberries that should be washed and then pricked with a pin.  As you're pricking them, toss out any berries that aren't quite ripe or that have become mushy.  It's not their fault, but you don't want them becoming mushier in your vodka.  This goes by pretty quickly if you're watching tv.

Then with a vegetable peeler (or a wide zester if you have one), peel off the skin of a couple of limes, trying to get as little of the pith (the white part, which is bitter) as possible.  I trimmed the zest after that with a paring knife to get more of the pith off--I don't know how it would affect the vodka, as cranberries are already bitter, but aesthetically I liked seeing more of the green with the bright red cranberries.  You can leave the lime zest in larger pieces, but I made mine into little strips that were narrow and about an inch long.

Start filling the bottles with cranberries, stopping every half inch or so to add in some lime zest slivers.  It doesn't really matter where they fall, as you'll be shaking things around later anyhow--not that you can tell them where to go anyhow.  When the bottles are full, add in 1-2 tablespoons of sugar to balance out the acidity of the cranberries and then fill to the top with vodka.  Good cranberries float, but try to have them all submerged.  Seal the bottles well and shake them to mix up the sugar, which will have all magically congregated at the bottom.  Shake every day or so when you walk by and enjoy--or share with good friends, if you're feeling generous.  This would also be good with fresh ginger (which is good in everything, IMO).

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