Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar – Day 6 is this ruby red Cranberry Gin Fizz. Put a little elbow grease to muddle 10 fresh cranberries to get this rich crimson hue.
At first blush, it might seem like this tipple could be too tart or acidic given the combination of cranberries, lemon and sour mix, but these components are well-balanced by the juniper notes in the gin and the neutral effervescence of the soda.
Gin is one of my favourite spirits, I mean, as you know, I don’t discriminate, but gin is definitely up there. I find the spirit is all too often relegated to warmer seasons but is great for cooler climes as well. The French 75 is another example of a gin-based cocktail that is ideally suited to festive occasions.
So while gin might be an unorthodox holiday tradition for you and yours, I strongly suggest you try something new this season.
Speaking of holiday traditions, what are yours? My family has a few that we do our best to celebrate each year. We always open our stockings on Christmas Eve, just after my Dad reads through The Polar Express, complete with the ringing of the bell. It’s a tradition we’ve honoured since I was a little kid and there’s something comforting about routine and rekindling that magic of Christmas that you felt as a child.
Christmas is still my favourite holiday but for different reasons that when I was kid. When I was little, I loved all the presents and the cookies and hot cocoa.
I still love those things (especially if the hot cocoa has mezcal in it) but now, I just enjoy the opportunity to spend some time with my family and have long days to prepare elaborate feasts. Whether it’s Christmas dinner, brunch, or finding new uses for all those leftovers, I like to show my love for family and friends by feeding them something delicious.
Sipping egg nog with freshly grated nutmeg and a dram of spiced rum, a solid Christmas playlist of the classics, like Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” and some Louis Armstrong, make the day in the kitchen go by quickly.
That being said, if I have time and no strict deadlines and especially if I don’t have to do all the dishes, all my days in the kitchen go by quickly. I am content to spend the entire day in prepping, creating and experimenting when time is on my side and I don’t have anyone hovering over me. As you may have deduced, I wouldn’t have a food blog if I didn’t love to cook. It’s more than just a passion though, it’s the place where I feel most comfortable, where hours pass like minutes and I find it restorative.
There is something so life-giving about being able to do something well, with ease, and be confident in the result. It is a both an outlet and a reprieve. I hope whatever it is that makes you feel most happy, that you do a lot of it this holiday season.
Put the cranberries in a cocktail shaker. With a muddler, mash them. Fill the shaker with ice and add the gin, lemon juice and sour mix. Shake mixture and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Add cranberry juice and club soda. Garnish with fresh cranberries and a lemon wedge.
Recipe adapted from: Speers, Dana. "Cranberry Gin Fizz." Food & Drink. Holiday 2004.