Last night’s Cranberry Vodka drinks were so good, we decided to pass out some as gifts this Christmas. A quick shopping list was assembled and then trips to Greenlife Grocery for more organic cranberries and oranges and the ABC store for vodka. I’ve been using Smirnoff 80 proof for most of my infusions. It’s not the cheapest stuff, but also not the most expensive. I had always bought this in 75 cl bottles ($14 in NC). It never dawned on me to price it in the bigger bottles. Surprise, surprise – about $8.15 for 75 cl if you buy the 1.75 liter bottle. Two of those came home with me. As I mentioned in the last post, the similarity of Sloe Gin to Cranberry infused vodka struck me. A Cranberry infused gin seemed worth trying. For this I splurged a bit. Plymouth is on sale for $20 a bottle so I brought one home. I’m sure Gordon’s or Booker’s would have done well ($8 and $13 respectively), but for test purposes a comparison of Plymouth Sloe to Plymouth Cranberry seemed better. Cranberry Gin

The berries were rinsed and picked over several times to remove bruised or spoiled fruit. As I mentioned in the first Cranberry post, un-popped berries seemed to add nothing to the vodka, so this go round all the berries were popped. I did this in 12 oz  lots, simmering over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Each batch was allowed to a cool a few minutes before going into the infusion jar. Next, I added the zest from three oranges to each 12 oz cranberry batch. My Microplane grater was indispensable for this step.

The first picture is a single batch (gin) just after the spirit was added.

Our plan was for three bottles worth of vodka. Fortunately, I have a very large jar salvaged during a previous recycling run that will hold a gallon. It was pressed into service again (it was the home for the spiced rum infusion). Perfect size for three bottles worth of vodka and fruit.

You can see that the gin has already taken on some of the red color. The bottles in the back are from the first batch. I’m trying to filter out some of the sediment. With the current batch, I’m going to try for a three week infusion before straining.

Cranberry / Orange Infused Vodka

  • 75 cl 80 proof vodka
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • zest of 3 oranges

Wash and pick over cranberries discarding any damaged fruit. Simmer cranberries with a little water over medium heat until most of the berries have popped, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pop any remaining whole berries. Let cool, then add to infusion vessel. Add orange zest and then vodka. Let stand 2 to 4 weeks, stirring daily. Pop any berries that float up. Strain and bottle when flavor reaches your preference, around 2 to 4 weeks.

That is the final recipe.

The gin is a one-off test. Another thought would be to use silver rum. Then you could give Daiquiris and any other rum drinks a festive, bright red cranberry tinge.

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