Cran-mary Citrus Sparkler

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This refreshing cocktail pairs tart and sweet juices with two kinds of alcohol and a simple syrup infused with rosemary and is perfect for parties since it can be served by the glass or in larger batches by the pitcher.  Omit the vodka and replace the sparkling wine with ginger ale or sparkling water for a mocktail alternative. 

In the version pictured above, I used some of the rosemary simple syrup along the rim of the glass before dipping it in the sugar for an added infusion of rosemary, and I sugared the cranberries myself, which is very little work for a whole lot of wow factor.  Served in sugar-rimmed glasses garnished with rosemary sprigs, dried fruit and the sugared cranberries, this cocktail will definitely bring the sparkle to the party.

Ingredients

By the Glass (Yields 1 Serving)

·       2 ounces vanilla vodka

·       1 ounce rosemary simple syrup (see recipe below)

·       1 ounce orange juice

·       3 ounces cranberry juice (100% juice- no sugar added)

·       2 ounces sparkling wine

·       1/4 cup granulated sugar (for sugar rimming the glass)

·       Garnish fresh rosemary sprigs, fresh or preserved oranges, sugared cranberries (see recipe below)

By the Pitcher (Yields 8 Servings)

·       2 cups vanilla vodka

·       1 cup rosemary simple syrup (see recipe below)

·       1 cup orange juice

·       1 ½ cups cranberry juice (100% juice- no sugar added)

·       2 cups sparkling wine

·       2 cups granulated sugar (for sugar rimming the glasses add more as needed)

·       Garnish fresh rosemary sprigs, fresh or preserved oranges, sugared cranberries (see recipe below)

Sugar rim the cocktail glasses by coating the rim of the glass lightly with the rosemary simple syrup.  Dip the syrup rubbed rim in the sugar until the rim is complete coated and set aside.  Repeat this process until all the glasses have been dipped.

Combine vodka, simple syrup, orange juice and cranberry juice in an ice-filled cocktail shaker or pitcher and shake or stir for 10-15 seconds until the liquid is sufficiently chilled.

Pour the juice and vodka mix into the sugar-rimmed glasses, no more than ¾ of the way up, and top off with sparkling wine.

Twist an orange slice on the side of the rim, add a sprig of rosemary and 3-4 sugared cranberries and serve.

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Rosemary Simple Syrup

·       1 cup sugar

·       1 cup water

·       2-3 branches fresh rosemary

Place sugar and water in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has melted.  Bring the syrup to a low boil.  Pour the sugar syrup into a glass mason jar or other glass storage container and add the rosemary branches.  Allow the syrup to cool for at least an hour before using.  Store any unused syrup in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.  The syrup can also be made ahead for this recipe.

 

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Sugared Cranberries

·       ¼ cup water

·       ¼ cup granulated sugar

·       1 cup fresh cranberries

·       1-1 ½ cups granulated sugar for rolling

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved.  Just as the sugar begins to boil, add in the cranberries and stir gently until completely coated.  Remove the cranberries from the heat and using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries from the pot to the parchment-lined baking sheet to cool for 30-45 minutes.  Try to keep the cranberries from touching each other to prevent them from sticking together, which will cause the sugar coating to clump up. 

Once the cranberries are cool, add the sugar to a shallow bowl or dish and working in small batches, roll the cranberries in the sugar, coating them completely.  Transfer the coated berries to a clean container to dry for an hour. 

*TIP the sugar that remains after coating the berries can be used to rim the cocktail glasses.