To start off the Nobler Guide to Thanksgiving drinking, it’s all about multitasking. Look, we all know the drill when it comes to the Thanksgiving meal. Whoever is in charge of cooking spends hour and hours producing dish after dish that eventually gets consumed within a handful of minutes. That’s assuming there are no disasters on the way. And while I won’t use this opportunity to challenge everyone on their menus (does anyone really need to be eating sweet potatoes with marshmallows?), I will tell you that if you aren’t making your own cranberry sauce, you’re missing out on a major opportunity.
You see, real-deal cranberry “sauce” is one of the easier sides/condiments to make for the holiday. And yes, it may not be as easy as cracking open a can of the gelatinous stuff, but pretty much anyone can boil fresh cranberries in water with spices and sugar. But here’s the real reason you should make your own: That shit tastes amazing in cocktails!
All you have to do is cool the cranberry sauce down (which most people do anyway) and give it a good puree in the food processor. Now you’ve got a smooth and delicious cranberry syrup (you can add a little water if it needs thinning) perfect to be paired with vodka, gin and a whole lot more. My recommendation for a simple drink is a good tablespoon full of the syrup mixed into your classic gin and tonic. Nothing will scream holiday drinking like that sucker, and nothing will get you smiling quite like a delicious gin and tonic.
Cranberry Ginger Sauce/Syrup – Cocktail Version
1 12 oz bag cranberries, washed
1 large knob ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
In a medium size stock pot add all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and then quickly reduce the heat to low. Simmer with the pot covered for 30 minutes. In a food processor (or blender) blend the ingredients together and pass through a strainer. Store in the fridge. For a more traditional “sauce” for the thanksgiving dinner table, no need to use the blender or the strainer. Just serve nice and chunky and delicious!