Ok so….casual poll. What do you prefer: A casual drink on a patio on a warm summer day? Or a spicy, festive cocktail at a Holiday Party? Initially, I immediately thought—well obviously outside. I have a whole section of this blog dedicated to drinking outside on a driveway—and not in the winter time– but then I thought again. I LOVE Christmas parties. I love the music in the background, the red and green festive sweaters, the tiny meatballs on toothpics and the Christmas cookies on a plate. I love the friends and the cheer and dammit, I love the twinkly lights. If there’s snow falling outside? Well I’m kind of a goner. I think the only way to find out is to conduct a very scientific, VERY measured study in which I drink festive drinks from now until New Years—and report back. Sound good?
I wanted to kick off the Holiday cocktail season with a little something different. Yes—there will be eggnog, and yes—there will be old fashioneds. But what about Cachaça? After buying a bottle this summer to make a Caipirinha, it has been virtually untouched. I opened my liquor cabinet and saw it sitting there in the back all lonely with the ancient bottle of Bacardi O and figured it was high time we got this into the Christmas spirit. So I made a Christmas Caipirinha.
This drink required a few attempts before it was deemed Driveway Drink worthy. A traditional Caipirinha is simply limes and sugar, muddled in the bottom of a class and served with Cachaça and ice. It’s super strong, but as the ice melts with the sugar and lime juice—it dilutes and becomes a really tasty, refreshing cocktail. I figured—hey—Cranberries are tart! Just like limes! I’ll just crush those with some sugar and add ice and booze and VOILA! A cocktail is born. …except it wasn’t
I busted out some ingredients and made one following a similar method to the original (fruit+sugar+smash+ice+booze), and handed it to my neighbor to try. It was basically like I just passed her a shot in a large glass with some floating pieces of flavorless cranberry. It burned all the way down and even after sitting and letting the ice melt for…a LONG time—it was still way too strong.
The next day, I tried again. This time, I added lime (conveniently delicious with cranberries) and instead of crushing the fruit in the serving glass itself, which earlier had resulted in weird white floaty pieces of cranberry in the drink, I opted to forgo Caipirinha tradition and muddled the cranberries, lime and sugar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. MUCH better idea. This time, the addition of the lime juice blended together in a much more appealing manner, however it was still a touch too tart. I added a splash of cranberry juice and that sealed the deal. In went the booze and shake shake shake. Poured out over clear ice and garnished with sliced cranberries—this drink was Holiday worthy, and won’t put hair on your chest with one sip. This month is just getting started after all.
¼ C fresh cranberries
Quarter of a lime, cut into two pieces
2 Tbsp superfine sugar
3 oz cranberry juice
2 oz Cachaça
In the bottom of the cocktail shaker, muddle fresh cranberries, lime pieces and sugar until nicely pulverized. Add ice, cranberry juice and Cachaça. Shake it like you mean it. Strain into glass filled with clear ice and garnish with fresh cranberries, if desired. Cheers!
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