Though Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, you may have some cranberries sitting in the refrigerator just waiting for a mini-cocktail party. Leftover cranberry sauce can be reconstituted as a cocktail ingredient and added to a frozen margarita, stirred into a warming toddy with bourbon, or a hot pink modifier in a winter mojito. But if we’re talking about cranberries in the year of Ocean Spray (we’ve all seen the Fleetwood Mac soundtrack Tik Tok by now), I’d be remiss not to mention the Cosmopolitan. Another megahit cocktail smash of the 1980s – similar to last week’s Espresso Martini – the Cosmo became so popular it lead to the “pink drink” becoming a sub-genre.
Though many cranberry juice mixers are upwards of 90 percent apple juice, cranberries are a dynamic ingredient for cocktails and cordials due to their cheek-squeezing tartness and bold flavor. Making your cranberry cordial can be a fun way to use real cranberries, introducing a bright, colorful elixir to liven up your holiday drinking game. It’s also perfect for making non-alcoholic drinks (add 1 oz. and a squeeze of lime to any sparkling water for a palate refresher).
Also, consider using sage as a garnish. This aromatic herb tis great to have on hand as it combats the doldrums of winter and pairs beautifully with the cranberry and citrus notes.
Whether you’re out in a socially-distancing or enjoying this cocktail at home, you can help the Independent Restaurant Coalition by tagging #cosmosforacause along with a picture of your drink. For every Cosmopolitan posted, Cointreau will donate a portion of sales up to $100,000 to the IRC in their efforts to assist and advocate for independent restaurants struggling during the pandemic. It may be an 80’s classic, but there’s no better time to get creative with the Cosmo.
Cranberry Sage Cosmo
Prep Time: 10 min
Cranberry Sage Cosmo
- 2 OZ. VODKA
- .75 OZ. FRESH LIME JUICE
- .5 OZ. COINTREAU (OR ANOTHER ORANGE LIQUEUR)
- .5 OZ. CRANBERRY-SAGE CORDIAL (SEE RECIPE BELOW)
- 1 SAGE LEAF (FOR GARNISH)
Cranberry Sage Cordial
- 1 CUP FRESH CRANBERRIES (OR THAWED FROZEN CRANBERRIES)
- 1 CUP SUGAR
- 1.5 CUPS WATER
- ZEST OF ONE ORANGE
- 5 SAGE LEAVES
- If you’re using leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving (highly encouraged because what else are you going to do with it), just add into a pot and slowly bring to a light simmer, along with a water (start with a cup and slowly add more) until you reach the desired consistency. If you end up making it too watery, add some sugar, bring up the heat, and simmer the mixture until more water has evaporated. Add some orange zest to brighten and freshen back up.
About Mike Wolf
Writer and cocktail innovator Mike Wolf rose to fame, building the bar program at Nashville’s award winning Husk alongside venerable chef Sean Brock. He’s authored two books on cocktails — Garden to Glass: Grow Your Drinks from the Ground Up and now a second book, Lost Spring: How We Cocktailed Through Crisis.