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Craig Schechter's Cranberry Cocktail

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The only splash of color broadly visible in nature this time of year is imparted by those tiny little red berries sustaining the birds squatting in evergreens through the otherwise barren winter. Though a little smaller and more vermillion than crimson, they’re a visceral reminder of the cranberry—one of the only berries harvested in the fall and winter in North America.

Though cranberries make their debut around Thanksgiving and fade out just after Christmas, they freeze well and can be enjoyed past their season with relative consistency in flavor and quality. Any recipe they grace turns a bright red color, rendering them ideal for wintery-feeling cocktails.

This drink comes to us from craft cocktail expert Craig Schechter, who pairs gin and Curaçao with a subtly herbaceous rosemary-infused cranberry syrup and a hint of cinnamon. This unique, seasonally apropos cocktail offers a perfect balance of sweet, tart, savory, and spice. Best of all, it provides an airtight argument for drinking after New Year’s.

INGREDIENTS (for one cocktail)

2 ounces dry gin

½ ounce cinnamon simple syrup, homemade (see recipe below) or B.G. Reynolds brand

½ ounce dry orange-colored Curaçao (preferably Pierre Ferrand brand)

½ ounce rosemary-infused cranberry syrup (see recipe below)

dash of cranberry bitters (such as Dillon’s) or orange bitters

DIRECTIONS

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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For homemade cinnamon simple syrup

INGREDIENTS

1 cup sugar

1 cup filtered water

1 cinnamon stick

DIRECTIONS

Add 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of filtered water to a medium saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon stick, move off heat, and let cool.

For rosemary-infused cranberry syrup

INGREDIENTS

12 ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries

2 cups filtered water

3 fresh rosemary sprigs, rinsed clean

1-2 cups sugar

DIRECTIONS

Combine the cranberries with 1 cup of water in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When the cranberries are soft, add an additional 1 cup of water and the rosemary sprigs. Bring mixture to a boil, then take off heat for 15 minutes to allow the liquid to infuse. Strain and discard solids. Add equal parts rosemary-infused cranberry juice and sugar and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

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